For the tenth year, The Tilehurst End Podcast is handing out its Christmas Awards to the most worthy of Reading FC recipients. Without further ado..
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), John Swift (2021)
Nominees: Tom Ince.
Winner: Tom Ince. A clean sweep of seven nominations for the imperious midfielder. Not bad for ‘only the gaffer’s son’.
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), Luke Southwood (2021)
Nominees: Tom Holmes, Joe Lumley, Junior Hoilett, Nesta Guinness-Walker
Winner: Tom Holmes. In 2022, the academy product has emerged as a staple at the back and vice-captain. Well done.
Hal Robson-Kanu Underachiever Award
Previous winners: Hal Robson-Kanu (2013 & 2014), Jordan Obita (2015), Jake Cooper (2016), Sone Aluko (2017 & 2018), George Puscas (2019), Danny Loader (2020), George Puscas (2021)
Nominees: Jeff Hendrick, Femi Azeez, Ovie Ejaria
Winner: Ovie Ejaria. It feels like a long time ago that the mercurial trickster was one of Reading’s most reliable performers.
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), Reading 3-1 Bournemouth (2021)
Nominees: Swansea 4-4 comeback, Sheffield United 2-1 late winner, Legends game, Blackburn 3-0 win
Winner: Tom McIntyre’s late winner at Sheffield United. Unbridled joy, moments after the equaliser, away to a top team to help beat the drop. Oh, and scored by an academy product and Royals fan through and through. Nice weather that day, too.
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), six-point deduction (2021)
Nominees: Kidderminster FA Cup defeat, Liam Moore stripped of captaincy, Coventry defeat in 150th anniversary match
Winner: Defeat to Kidderminster in the FA Cup. Saddest of all, it wasn’t even that much of a shock.
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), Dai Yongge running on pitch (2021)
Nominees: Dai Yongge down the pub, You’ve just been Paul Ince’d, Orjan Nyland caught out for Luton goal
Winner: You’ve just been Paul Ince’d. It’s nice to come out on the positive side of a viral meme for once.
Pavel Pogrebnyak Most Missed Award
Previous winners: Adam Federici (2015), Aaron Tshibola (2016), Danny Williams (2017), Jordan Obita (2018), Lewis Baker (2019), Lucas Joao (2020 & 2021)
Nominees: Felipe Araruna, John Swift, Andy Rinomhota, Liam Moore
Winner: John Swift. Perhaps a quieter category than expected (no Josh Laurent would have been a surprise earlier in the year) but Swift’s goals and creativity are still missed today.
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), Femi Azeez (2021)
Nominees: Nelson Abbey, Kian Leavy, Rashawn Scott, Jay Senga, John Clarke
Winner: John Clarke. A promising start to life at Reading has put the young defender on our radar.