Reading Player Of The Season: By The Numbers

Ben Hoskins

Jordan Obita was named Reading's player of the season on both this website and the official fan poll - but did recency bias take effect during those votes? I've collated the polls we conducted over the season to identify who performed most consistently over the 46 matches.

Man Of The Match Awards

As voted for by you, the great Tilehurst End public! Polls conducted after each and every match, to decide who gets the all important MOTM award. Here are the results from all 46 matches.

Williams 8
Pogrebnyak 7
Drenthe 7
McCarthy 5
McCleary 4
McAnuff 3
Obita 3
Karacan 2
Guthrie 2
Morrison 1
Blackman 1
Gunter 1
Pearce 1
Leigertwood 1

First off, some interesting takeaways from those MOTM awards...

- Jordan Obita only got three MOTM wins across the whole season, and the first of those came in February - though admittedly, it was only later in the season when he really started to find his form. Jobi McAnuff got as many as Obita over the season, despite being a generally polarizing player for Royals fans.

- Danny Williams grabbed the most awards with 8, despite only making 24 starts in the Championship (and a further six off the bench). As I argued in my piece on the midfielder for our Player Of The Season vote, had he and Jem Karacan stayed fit all season (Karacan, by the way, got 2 MOTM wins from 7 appearances), this season could have been very different.

- Recently departed Adam Le Fondre is missing from the list - he didn't get a single MOTM win over the season. Garath McCleary beat him out when he scored a hat-trick against Blackpool, and Williams did the same when he performed similar feats against Bolton Wanderers. Still, he did pick up January's Player Of The Month award, so perhaps he lost those battles but won the war.

- Love him or hate him, Royston Drenthe picked up seven MOTM gongs. I felt he was harshly dealt in March, only coming second in our monthly poll despite winning three awards in a row against Brighton, Leeds and Yeovil. But consistency is the key with Player Of The Season, and the enigmatic Dutchman went missing in far too many other games to have the bigger award bestowed upon him.

Player Of The Month appearances

A barometer of consistency (hopefully), these polls were compiled by combining both our own player ratings and who had accrued the most top three finishes in our Man Of The Match awards. Then, as ever, you voted for the player most deserving of the monthly award. Here are the results, by player, of who came in the top three most throughout the campaign.

McCarthy 4 (3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd)
Pogrebnyak 4 (3rd, 1st, 1st, 1st)
Guthrie 3 (1st, 1st, 2nd)
Obita 3 (joint-3rd, joint-2nd, 1st)
McCleary 3 (joint-3rd, 3rd, 1st)
Gunter 3 (2nd, joint-2nd, 3rd)
Williams 3 (2nd, 1st, 3rd)
Karacan 1 (2nd)
Le Fondre 1 (1st)
Drenthe 1 (2nd)
Pearce 1 (2nd)

- Good to see this analysis shows McCarthy finally getting recognition of his efforts this season. He did grab five MOTM wins, but no POTM victories; however, he made the top three on four occasions. It's always difficult to gauge exactly how much a certain goalkeeper kept us in matches (would Federici have made the saves etc), but whoever was in goal did a grand job in keeping the scores down behind what was, for much of the season, a porous defence.

- That early season form shows itself to be worth little come the end of the campaign! Pogrebnyak and Guthrie shared the POTM wins in 2013, yet neither came in the top three for the seasonal vote in May. In fact, in our own seasonal poll, Pogrebnyak came bottom out of the five options - when you combine his Monthly record with his Match record, that does seem rather harsh.

- And the late-season form does seem to have an effect, with Obita, Gunter and Williams rounding out the top three in both Player Of The Season polls despite just two of those nine votes coming in 2014. Obita was joint-third with McCleary in November, whilst Gunter notched second in December - both behind The Pog. Williams got POTM for February, with Obita grabbing the award in March.

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Simply collating Man Of The Match and Player Of The Month awards isn't the perfect way to categorically show who should or shouldn't be named Player Of The Season, but taking the raw data over the whole campaign can throw up some interesting points. After all, you have the perfect example in Drenthe - seven top class performances, and a whole load of awful ones. Between him, and the consistent 7/10 performer, most Reading fans would have an easy decision to make.

But it does seem to show that perhaps one of our own has been harshly dealt. He may have wanted to leave last summer, and he may want to again this, but Pavel Pogrebnyak was the most lauded player on this website by the fans - at least, in 2013. His form may have tailed off towards the back-end of the season, and that's the problem with recency bias, as others come forward and shine their lights late on.

It does also show consistency, and that's exactly what Alex McCarthy demonstrated. Ever dependable, and out of the limelight for most of the season, he was the unsung hero of the last campaign. Perhaps the Reading support just expected him to perform heroics in every match after that scintillating performance against Liverpool in 2012/13.

As ever, feel free to leave your own thoughts here. After seeing this, have you changed your mind about your Player Of The Season vote? Nearly a month on from the season closing, who would you give it to now? Are these stats just meaningless?! Hope you've enjoyed reading anyway.

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