By Matthew Jacob
It's that time of year when Swansea City fans can start mulling over their nominations for the club's player of the season - a time to celebrate individual brilliance, and reﬂect on what has been a pretty tiring campaign for fans and players alike.
This season the Swans have journeyed all over the continent, from Newcastle to Naples, via Malmo and Manchester. I believe we as fans generally accepted that it was going to be a long hard year, arguably the hardest since we were promoted to the Premier League.
Nevertheless I felt conﬁdent. The squad had quality and Michael Laudrup had worked hard to bring players in to improve us. But it has been a tough year for Swansea and our battle against relegation hasn't been a welcome one.
I've been witness to some truly woeful performances by the boys this year, but there have been some real memorable moments as well - beating Valencia 3-0 on their own pitch, taking Napoli right to the wire over two legs, knocking Manchester United out of the FA Cup, getting South Wales derby revenge in style and picking up a few decent league results along the way. See, it hasn't been all doom and gloom!
After all has been said and done, plenty of players stood out and rose to the occassion when we needed them to. But who has really shone? Who should be our player of the season?
Here are the Forza Swansea contenders:
Not at his best all season but where would we be without the captain of Wales? With Jordi Amat showing promise and Chico Flores putting his budding career as a Wham tribute act before his football this season, it's fallen to Williams yet again to lead the boys through some particularly difficult moments this year. He was superb against Napoli in particular.
I think many of the Jack Army were starting to lose patience with the Spaniard before Monk employed him behind Bony as a more central attacking force. Clever in possession and excellent on the ball (if lightweight off it) he started to show this season why we splashed over £5million on him. Could be a big player for us next season.
Mr Consistency according to Monk. When Rodgers signed the former Palace, QPR, Newcastle (I could go on) star I was dubious, but the Irishman said then that Routledge had the ability to get the crowd on their feet and he's done so again this year. Great performances against Cardiff and Norwich stand out and he has chipped in with six goals this term.
The young Welsh talent has show signs of fatigue in recent weeks as a long season draws to a close, but he has continued to build his burgeoning reputation as one of the best young defenders in the league, even showing real promise in attack as well as composed in defence. There'll be summer interest for sure.
What more can we say about Daddy Cool. Huw Jenkins admitted to feeling a little wary about splashing £13million on a single player, but every single penny of that cash has proved to be money well spent. Bony has scored over 20 goals for the club this season in all competitions, 13 in the league. His attacking quality really came to the fore in the second half of the season, but he has also proved himself an important asset at defensive set pieces and, for me, we must hold onto him for at least another year at all costs.
Bony is priced at 100/1 to be the top goal scorer at the 2014 World Cup and his performance in Brazil is likely to influence his future at the Liberty Stadium - www.tipsontits.co.uk are tipping Ivory Coast to qualify from Group C and, with a fairly easy looking group, Bony and his team could do well!
Honourable mentions go to: Leon Britton, who again has proven himself a key man for us and will be nigh on impossible to replace in the next few years. Nathan Dyer, who's been very unlucky with injuries and Jonjo Shelvey, a real character who works tirelessly - a key asset for us going forward.
I know who gets my vote, but who gets yours? Comment below or tweet me on @OriginalMattyJ to let me know whether you agree or disagree with the selections.
Let's back the boys in these last few games, cross the line together, and focus on next year.