Date:Thursday April 12 2007
It is getting to the point again where we start thinking, if we haven't already, about who will be getting our vote for player of the season. We've had players that have played well at various points throughout the season but not too many can honestly say they have performed for the majority, or vast majority of it.
Gary O'Neil, Matty Taylor, Pedro Mendes and maybe even Benjani for his work rate, obviously not the goals will feel they have a claim but David James and Sol Campbell are among the obvious names as they have performed virtually week in week out. But the man who will get my vote, not for the first time in his Pompey career it must be noted, will be Linvoy Primus, who I nickname 'Optimus Primus', because his name, with a minor play on it resembles nicely the main character in a childhood favourite cartoon of mine, Transformers (Optimus Prime for those of you that don't know) which is fitting also after such a transformation in his career.
Linvoy had been kicking around in the lower leagues when he was snapped up on a free back in the summer of 2000. When I first saw Primus he was like a 'mini me' clone of Darren Moore, but when I got close enough after one day walking by Linvoy - little did I know how much of a favourite of mine he would later become he isn't so small, but then again Darren Moore, again a man I had the pleasure of passing one day down by the ticket office, was a colossus of a man.
So Primus a steady second or third tier footballer who quietly got on with his business got a move to Pompey and despite more than a few times when I feared we might lose him he is still here and like a fine wine or vintage cheese is getting better with age. He has now played almost half his career with us and although not always a regular in his earlier, certainly pre Premiership days he has still played getting on for half of his career games with us, not bad for a player considered not good enough for Charlton, not even then a top flight side at the time.
A few times over the years I've been worried we might lose him, especially when Norwich showed serious interest in him several times but he stuck it out when many others wouldn't have.
Linvoy isn't the most technically gifted of footballers, he knows he will not often bring the ball out of difference so doesn't try it, he knows his limitations, much like Richard Hughes - who has I must add been tremendous since he came back in, and sticks to them and this more than works.
Playing alongside Campbell and having the commanding James behind the pair has helped but anyone with eyes knows just how good Linvoy was before these two arrived, they've just helped him even more. It takes something to get the match of the day crew on our side but they love Linvoy, I even noticed on the Arsenal vital football pages a few weeks back when they had a team of the season that Primus was not only in the squad but a starting defender! It's little wonder as if there has been a more consistent English central defender this season I would be surprised. If selection worked in terms of form, forget the club you are with or past international history or not, if picked on the here and now he would have played every minute of England's international's this season.
The draw back, Linvoy is now unfortunately 33. He still has time on his side and if he keeps going like he is he will continue to excel but my one worry, although it is something we need to be doing to continue our progression, is that if Harry Redknapp brings in a defender in the summer it will be Linvoy's and not Sol's place, providing he stays of course, that will automatically come under threat. The one plus of signing Titus Bramble will mean Linvoy won't come under two much pressure but we will have some cover that when playing alongside either could do a job, despite a less than impressive consistently poor track record over the years.
There is only one player of the season for me and this is super Linvoy Primus.
Maybe more of the players should turn to the good lords book and take comfort in his words, it certainly works for Linvoy, maybe this is where I'm going wrong in my life?
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Date:Thursday April 12 2007
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