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Player of the Month

Pos Player Points
1 Tommy Smith 357
2 Allan Nielsen 243
3 Tommy Mooney 205

Last season, Tommy Smith topped the overall totals in the BSaD "Player of the Month" awards, narrowly beating Robert Page at the last moment. Yet his victory was entirely based upon massive votes in the final two months of the campaign - it was a curious result, even leading to behind-the-scenes discussions over alternative ways to calculate the totals.

There's no doubt on this occasion, though. A year ago, the margin of victory was just twelve votes; now, it's ten times that. Tommy Smith won the vote on three occasions, and there were just two months when he didn't finish in the top three. An absolute landslide, then...and recognition for a brilliant season. Truly, he has arrived. Let's hope he stays a while too.

Perhaps appropriately for such an unspectacular, hard-working player, Allan Nielsen manages the remarkable feat of finishing second in the overall totals without having won a single monthly vote. He has squeezed ahead of Tommy Mooney, who spent the season adding to his legend by becoming the first player to score twenty goals since numbers were invented.

But there was only going to be one winner....


Pos Player Votes
1 Tommy Smith 73
2 Tommy Mooney 20
3 Lee Cook 18

The rest:
4=: Richard Johnson, Paolo Vernazza; 6: Allan Nielsen; 7=: Alec Chamberlain, Nigel Gibbs, Heidar Helguson, Micah Hyde; 11=: Dominic Foley, Fabian Forde, James Panayi, Darren Ward, Nordin Wooter

Votes cast:

Look, it's Tommy Smith and Tommy Mooney again. And I've run out of things to say about them.

In third place, however, there's a new arrival. Young Lee Cook may be some way from being the finished article, but he lit up the anticlimactic final games of Graham Taylor's reign with vigorous, lively performances. One for the future, undoubtedly. For that, as ever, we have Graham, Kenny, Luther, and Tom to thank.


Pos Player Votes
1 Nordin Wooter 56
2 Tommy Smith 46
3 Tommy Mooney 14

The rest:
4: Allan Nielsen; 5: Clint Easton, James Panayi; 7: Paolo Vernazza; 8: Paul Robinson; 9: Neil Cox, Micah Hyde, Steve Palmer, Darren Ward, Nick Wright

Votes cast:

A much closer result this time around, in a month of mixed fortunes. In the end, Nordin Wooter's superb performances against Queens Park Rangers and Norwich City, the latter featuring what will surely be the goal of the season, clinched the award. At last, we saw his full potential in Nationwide matches, his skill accompanied by a fiercely competitive streak.

In second, Tommy Smith continues to shine, terrorising the Norwich defence after Wooter's premature departure, and is comfortably clear in the overall totals. Top scorer Tommy Mooney finishes the podium line-up for the second month in a row.


Pos Player Votes
1 Tommy Smith 122
2 Paolo Vernazza 13
3 Tommy Mooney 8

The rest:
4: Darren Ward; 5=: Allan Nielsen, Steve Palmer, Nordin Wooter; 9=: Richard Johnson, Peter Kennedy

Votes cast:

Well, that was close....

Winning with the largest share of the vote in the history of BSaD (and, perhaps, the entire history of everything ever), Tommy Smith is February's "Player of the Month". His outstanding performances during another mediocre month brought him three straight "Man of the Match" awards from BSaD and have been reflected by nearly eighty percent of the votes. At a time when players in form were as rare as victories, Smith was the one player who still convinced us that he was at the peak of his game.

The others, including Paolo Vernazza and Tommy Mooney in second and third, were miles behind.


Pos Player Votes
1 Paolo Vernazza 148
2 Tommy Mooney 25
3 Tommy Smith 11

The rest:
4: Allan Nielsen; 5: Alec Chamberlain; 6: Heidar Helguson; 7=: Clint Easton, Nigel Gibbs, Peter Kennedy, Robert Page, Carlton Palmer

Votes cast:

A very up-and-down month, was January. Enough success to keep us in the playoff places, enough failure to retain some of the gloom that had hung around the club in November and December.

Through it all, however, there was Paolo Vernazza, winner of the January award by a vast margin. He's okay, I suppose. I mean, he's demonstrated that he can deliver sublime passes, beat players with glistening skill, chase and hassle, thunder into challenges, score vital goals, and all while in possession of an undeniably tremendous name. But, really, what else? Eh, Paolo? What else?

Some other players got votes too. In a very distant second place, Tommy Mooney continued to find the net at vital moments, even if his confidence tended to get the better of him as the month dragged on. Tommy Smith is a regular face in the top three and continues to have a superb season. Finally, a word for Clint Easton, receiving his first vote of the season on the grounds, presumably, that he rejected a transfer to Luton.


Pos Player Votes
1 Tommy Mooney 62
2 Allan Nielsen 57
3 Tommy Smith 17

The rest:
4: Carlton Palmer; 5: Paolo Vernazza; 6: Gifton Noel-Williams; 7: Paul Robinson; 8=: Espen Baardsen, Nigel Gibbs, Robert Page

Votes cast:

December, then.


Right, okay. And moving swiftly along....

Why discuss this god-awful, dire, abysmal month now that our losing run has finally been ended? Well, perhaps we could mention the tireless efforts of Tommy Mooney, deserving winner of the December "Player of the Month" award. He didn't ever give up, at least. Not even at Fulham.

Or we could give a sympathetic pat on the back to Allan Nielsen - always the bridesmaid, never the bride, having finished in second place for an astounding four months running. Having been particularly instrumental in the stress-relieving win at Barnsley, he received just five votes fewer than Mooney, which is as close as he's come.

Perhaps we could take another moment to consider the ever-growing promise of young Tommy Smith, who seems to be getting the hang of his wide role and was one of the month's more consistent performers.

Or maybe we could just leave it all behind. Concentrate on the here and now, rather than the gone and best forgotten.

December was ghastly. Some bits were less ghastly than other bits. It's over, mercifully.


Pos Player Votes
1 Tommy Smith 37
2 Allan Nielsen 27
3 Tommy Mooney 19

The rest:
4: Steve Palmer; 5=: Espen Baardsen, Nordin Wooter; 7=: Micah Hyde, Robert Page; 9: Gifton Noel-Williams; 10: Neil Cox; 11=: Adrian Bakalli (!), Alec Chamberlain, Charlie Miller (!!), Allan Smart, Darren Ward

Votes cast:

Apart from an enjoyable thumping of an enterprising Grimsby team, November contained little joy for Watford fans. That's reflected in the number of votes, which was halved from the three previous months. Nevertheless, there's no doubt that Tommy Smith is a deserving winner of the award - while the rest of our play may be becoming increasingly disjointed, he remains a thrilling presence. Whether playing on the right or alongside Gifton Noel-Williams, Smith has always shone - he seems to mature with every game, yet without losing any of that youthful vitality.

For the third month in a row, Allan Nielsen can be found in second place. Perhaps his time will come soon. Finally, the ever-astounding Tommy Mooney, who leads the goalscoring table and is currently on course to be the first player to bag more than twenty in a season since heaven knows when, is in third.


Pos Player Votes
1 Neil Cox 106
2 Allan Nielsen 76
3= Micah Hyde/Tommy Mooney 18

The rest:
5: Nordin Wooter; 6: Darren Ward; 7=: Alec Chamberlain, Robert Page; 9: Gifton Noel-Williams; 10: Tommy Smith; 10: Nordin Wooter; 11=: Steve Palmer, Paul Robinson

Votes cast:

Four goals in one month is probably enough to win you the "Player of the Month" award, whatever position you're playing in. So far this season, we've seen Neil Cox emerge as a full back in the grand Graham Taylor tradition - obstinate and combative in defence, yet equally at home in the opposition penalty area. His two goals from open play were most telling. Against Birmingham, he ran from deep within his own half, through the midfield and into the six yard box to get on the end of Nordin Wooter's cross - the City defence had no idea he was there, mainly because they had no reason to think that he would be. At Wolves, his exquisite, sublime chip illuminated an otherwise drab game. A worthy winner.

For the second month running, Allan Nielsen occupies the runner-up position - his share of the vote has increased, however. Two players share third place - Micah Hyde, scorer of two fabulous goals at Forest and missed so badly currently, and the irrepressible Tommy Mooney.


Pos Player Votes
1 Micah Hyde 76
2 Allan Nielsen 47
3 Tommy Smith 35

The rest:
4: Tommy Mooney; 5: Gifton Noel-Williams; 6: Darren Ward; 7: Neil Cox; 8: Paul Robinson; 9: Heidar Helguson; 10: Nordin Wooter; 11: Espen Baardsen; 12=: Robert Page, Steve Palmer

Votes cast:

In sharp contrast to the August vote, the recipient of the September "Player of the Month" award was extremely difficult to predict. The whole thing was wide open, so much so that the first seven players all received more than ten votes each and, really, you couldn't have argued if any of them had won it.

In the end, however, Micah Hyde gets the verdict from BSaD readers, despite having played in only three of the Hornets' seven games during September. What an impact he made in those games, though. If the second leg against Cheltenham might not be remembered for very long, the same can't be said of the incredible victory at Blackburn. Hyde was the star of the show that night, scoring twice from outside the box at absolutely crucial moments. He scored again versus Crewe a few days later, before being sidelined due to a swollen knee. Not the busiest player during September, then...but almost certainly the best.

Allan Nielsen's appearance in second place is indicative of his growing influence on the side. As he gets the measure of the First Division, we see more and more of him in the heart of our midfield. In third, Tommy Smith continues to impress - what he perhaps lacks in consistency at this early stage of his career, he fully compensates for in sheer talent.


Pos Player Votes
1 Darren Ward 137
2 Espen Baardsen 44
3 Neil Cox 23

The rest:
4=: Gifton Noel-Williams, Tommy Smith; 6: Nordin Wooter; 7: Tommy Mooney; 8: Allan Nielsen; 9: Micah Hyde; 10: Michel Ngonge

Votes cast:

So, a fresh season. A record number of votes for the BSaD "Player of the Month" award - testament, perhaps, to the motivating influence of a successful month - and some defenders on the podium.

There was never any question about the winner. Darren Ward has stamped his authority on the Watford defence with quite astonishing force. At last, we have a centre back who's capable not only of standing up to some of the division's most aggressive, physical forwards but of winning battles against them. Having been somewhat waylaid by a broken leg, Ward now looks like exactly the player he was predicted to be when he first emerged into the first team for those games at Kenilworth Road. He was consistently excellent.

Even if the record of conceding only two goals during August flatters us somewhat - the opposition seemed to hit the woodwork at least twice in every match - there's no doubt that Espen Baardsen, runner-up in his first month at the club, looks like a keeper of genuine quality. In truth, he's had very few saves to make, but he's impressed with his domination of the penalty area. In third, Neil Cox really might as well be a new signing - having finally settled into his role, he's showing us things that he barely hinted at previously, not least the fact that he'll score the goal of the season....