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The Tilehurst End Podcast 2021 Awards: The Winners

The full rundown of our Christmas awards

PGA Golf at TPC Harding Park
The Most Improved Player trophy at Bearwood Training Ground (picture taken 2012)
Jose Carlos Fajardo/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

It is that time of year again, when The Tilehurst End Podcast sits down to hand out some notable - and not so notable - Reading FC awards. Drumroll please...

Player of the Year

Previous winners: Alex McCarthy (2013), Jordan Obita (2014), Oliver Norwood (2015), Ali Al Habsi (2016), Liam Moore (2017), Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (2018), Ovie Ejaria (2019), Michael Morrison (2020)

Nominees: Josh Laurent, Luke Southwood, John Swift

Winner: John Swift. Arguably the Championship’s best player for the early months of the season, and a true class act on the pitch that probably won’t be eligible for the 2022 award.

Fulham v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - Craven Cottage Photo by Kieran Cleeves/PA Images via Getty Images

Most Improved Player

Previous winners: Jordan Obita (2013), Jake Cooper (2014), Nick Blackman (2015), Garath McCleary (2016), Liam Kelly (2017), Yakou Meite (2018), John Swift (2019), Omar Richards (2020)

Nominees: John Swift, Tom Holmes, Luke Southwood

Winner: Luke Southwood. From academy hopeful to bona fide Championship first-choice goalkeeper, ousting a former club Player of the Year in the process.

The ‘Hal Robson-Kanu’ Award For Underachievement

Previous winners: Hal Robson-Kanu (2013 & 2014), Jordan Obita (2015), Jake Cooper (2016), Sone Aluko (2017 & 2018), George Puscas (2019), Danny Loader (2020)

Nominees: Liam Moore, George Puscas, Ovie Ejaria

Winner: George Puscas. Probably the most talked-about player among Reading fans all year, and yet after a solid run in the team, he simply hasn’t scored anywhere near enough goals.

Blackburn Rovers v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - Ewood Park Photo by Tim Markland/PA Images via Getty Images

Golden Moment

Previous winners: Academy Success Story (2014), Bradford FA Cup Win (2015), Piazon clincher versus West Brom in the FA Cup (2016), Fulham 2nd Leg PO Win (2017), Mannone penalty save versus QPR (2018), The Wigan Comeback (2019), Fans; return v Forest (2020)

Nominees: Beating Bournemouth in January, fans celebrating John Swift’s goal at Stoke, beating Fulham away, Andy Carroll’s Swansea celebration

Winner: Reading 3-1 Bournemouth. The high point of Reading’s 2021 arrived in January with a scintillating Friday night display against a promotion rival in front of the TV cameras.

Worst Moment

Previous winners: Birmingham 6-1 Reading (2014), Arsenal’s winner at Wembley (2015), Handling of Brian McDermott’s sacking (2016), Moore’s Wembley penalty (2017), Ipswich 0-4 (2018), Fulham 1-4 (2019), Wigan 0-3 (2020)

Nominees: Lucas Joao’s miss versus Barnsley, losing Michael Olise, dropping a 2-0 lead versus Blackpool, the six-point deduction

Winner: The six-point deduction. No matter what way you spin it, this punishment for financial mismanagement was a sickening blow for the club.

Reading v Sheffield United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Comedy Moment

Previous winners: Burnley pitch invasion (2014), Lady Sasima’s song (2015), HRK goal v Belgium (2016), Piazon returning to troll (2017), Ipswich scoring from our corner (2018), Bowen’s appointment (2019), Ayub Timbe Kenyan fandom (2020)

Nominees: Losing to Wycombe away, Dai Yongge running on the pitch, Andy Carroll’s goal celebration at Swansea, Kingsley’s whereabouts

Winner: Dai Yongge running on the pitch. Even without any context, the sight of Reading’s elusive quinquagenarian owner going for a post-match jog on the pitch was just plain comedy.

The ‘Pavel Pogrebnyak’ Most Missed Reading Player

Previous winners: Adam Federici (2015), Aaron Tshibola (2016), Danny Williams (2017), Jordan Obita (2018), Lewis Baker (2019), Lucas Joao (2020)

Nominees: Michael Olise, Lucas Joao, Yakou Meite, Andy Rinomhota

Winner: Lucas Joao. For the second year in a row, the striker’s injury absence has hit the team hard, with his best form also deserting us early on in 2021.

Reading v Cardiff City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Breakout Prediction

Previous winners: Royston Drenthe (2013), Dominic Samuel (2014), Jonathan Bond (2015), Yakou Meite (2016), Omar Richards (2017), Danny Loader (2018), Michael Olise (2019), Dejan Tetek (2020)

Nominees: Kelvin & Princewill Ehibathioman, Jahmari Clarke, Rashawn Scott, Michael Stickland, Femi Azeez, Jack Senga

Winner: Femi Azeez. The academy winger has already shown glimpses of his talent, so hopefully a fully-fit 2022 will cement his place in the first-team.

Listen to the Christmas Special podcast in full here.