Stephane Sessegnon: Our first ever Player Of The Season.
After a long season, in which we've been rating the players on a match-by-match basis, and dishing out Player Of The Month awards, and now the culmination of all that, we crown our Player Of The Season.
The way the monthly ratings work is we score each player in each game, then at the end of the month divide them up by the amount of games in which that player played. For this, we've taken the averages of every month, added them up, and and divided that by how many months for which they played games.
It might not be the most scientific, but it's what we've done, and on the plus side it seems better than just randomly picking someone, or being influenced by recent form.
Anyway, we've totaled it all up and the result is that our Player Of The Season, perhaps predictably, is Stephane Sessegnon. Join us as we give our thoughts on our star man, and of course you can see how everyone else compared over the season...
What is there left to say about Sessegnon that hasn't been done already a hundred times over? He's far, far, far and away our best and most talented player, and I'm glad that it's been proven and reflected with this award.
Whether playing as an out-and-out striker, or playing anywhere across the midfield, the Beninese striker has never failed to impress, bagging himself seven goals and nine assists this season to make him our most dangerous weapon, and biggest contributor across the 41 games in which he featured.
It's little wonder that with a player so scarily talented we're left wondering about whether or not he'll even remain on Wearside, but the signs are good with him talking of some unfinished business at the club and wanting to do more with us. I'm right with him on that front, I think despite the incredible form he's shown, there's still much more to come from him. Next season could be very. very special for Sess.
Now, let's see what the rest of the Roker Report team made of Sess' impact this season...
Karl Jones: Well, Sessegnon is our best player, and thanks to Simon's stats-based method of determining who picks up these awards, there's no hiding place. The pocket-sized playmaker has thrived this season having finally found a role in the Sunderland team. Although Steve Bruce's idea to revolve the team around him was hastily scrapped after a frustrating defeat at Norwich, Sess was excellent away to Bolton as he found himself back on the left - where he had initially struggled in his first season. Martin O'Neill's arrival proved to be a catalyst in Sessegnon's consistency levels improving, with the former PSG man returning to the front line; dropping off into space behind Sunderland's main attacking focal point. With said focal point - a high-quality one at that - priority number 1 this summer, there is every chance that Sessegnon's improvement will continue (providing he's still on Wearside).
Michael Graham: Lets be honest - the chances of ever seeing Sunderland dominate, excel, or even win something of true value are slim. That isn't a slight on the club in any way, but the modern game itself. Manchester City's recent success has cost them £1bn. Portsmouth near enough put themselves out of business for their one moment in the sun. It is just the way things are now. So the significance of having in your side a player who is a genuine pleasure to watch every week can not possibly be overstated. Every single week is made that little bit more pleasant by being able to look forward to seeing Stephane Sessegnon play football for Sunderland at the weekend. There is no exaggeration there. His poise, touch, adventure, and sheer artistry he can produce in for OUR team should fill every one of us with pride.
He doesn't do it every week. If he did he would be at one of the top clubs on the planet. Nevertheless, when he hasn't been producing it, he has always inspired us to believe that he could produce some magic and get us off our seats. I don't know where his future lies. I hope it is at the Stadum of Light, at least for another season, anyway. But whatever happens, I will always consider watching Stephane Sessegnon in a Sunderland shirt this season to have ben a genuine privilege.
Chris Weatherspoon: Well this was about as predictable as a Joey Barton meltdown wasn't it? Of course it was going to be Sess - truth be told, anyone else getting the RR player of the season gong would be stealing it. Stephane Sessegnon is simply the most technically gifted footballer I've ever witnessed in a red and white shirt. That only encompasses the past two decades or so, but I'd hazard a guess that he'd compare favourably with anyone in the club's long history.
It has been symptomatic of his importance to the side that generally, if he hasn't turned up, nor have we. The one blot of his season has been *that* elbow on Tiote at the Sports Direct. I feel that if someone else had done it they'd have faced much greater wrath - but perhaps that's testament to just how good this guy is. His performance against Manchester City at the Etihad - especially in the first half - was one of the most exciting, vibrant, attacking displays I can remember from a Sunderland player. Added to the fact he's not afraid to muck in when needs be, the man from Benin has really come of age this season. We all like to lament Steve Bruce, and often with good reason, but credit must go to him for bringing Sess to the club - even if Bruce himself wasn't the man to get the best out of him. Martin O'Neill, thankfully, does seem to possess that skill. Should Sessegnon stay with us - please, Lord, please - you can bet your house the manager will look to find the perfect foil for him.
David Boyle: Stephane Sessegnon eh? Whats left to say about the man who is most likely the most skillful footballer that has graced the red and white stripes since Sir Jeff of Whitley? I love this little fella, his positivity, lightning quick feet and willingness to run at defenders have been an absolute revelation and he has quite rightly grabbed the majority of the headlines this year, just about beating off McClean for the lion share of the presses' column inches this term. His goals against Swansea, Norwich and QPR this season showcase exactly what our little man is all about; teamwork, individual genius and an abundance of skill, he has it all. Talk has understandably turned to whether or not Sunderland can hold on to their undoubted prized asset as the media begin to fire up the transfer merry-go-round once again. Will Sess stay? Not only do I bloody well hope so, I actually believe he will. It is no surprise that O'Neill has managed to get more consistency from the Benin wizard than his predecessor ever could and whilst Martin will no doubt have to generate his own funds to go towards his summer shopping list, Sessegnon must surely be the last name he would consider cashing in on such is his obvious importance to the side.
Dan Williams: Roker Report player of the season awards, an exercise in stating the bleedin' obvious. Well, that is harsh of me, but we all knew, didn't we, that Sess was going to take this one. The little Benin star has been our most important player this season, flourishing under Martin O'Neill after often looking a bit lost in Steve Bruce's strange and tacticless set up. Having been made the focal point of our team, all of our best performances have revolved around him, and he has been integral in any success that we've had. Apart from the stupid sending off against Newcastle that probably cost us a famous victory, he's been excellent, and we should be pulling out every stop available to us in order to keep him at the club. I'd be willing to say now that, if we manage to hang on to him, we'll all be writing about the same player at this stage of the season next year too.
As for everyone else, let's run down the full table of how everyone else in the squad did this season...
Over Eight Months
Not a whole host of surprises among the rest of the squad, perhaps only Matt Kilgallon being unusually high, but barring the final few games of the season he was a solid performer. Titus Bramble finds himself in a lowly and precarious situation, while Lee Cattermole, despite improvements for a short period, needs to sustain it over the course of a season. Interestingly, Simon Mignolet only just edges it from Kieren Westwood to be the top keeper this season.
But to give the final word to Sess, and we'll put it simply, this is the guy we should be building our team around. A worthy winner of Roker Report's inaugural player of the season award.