Well since you've already had the naughty list (click here to have another look) it's only proper that the good Mr Claus has a nice list too. Something to recognise those who've done good so far this season, or have indeed been pleasantly surprising.
So I'll not waste any more of your time, and just get on with it. If Santa had an SAFC 'Nice' list, this would be it. Or so we think...
My word, when he signed, at the time I thought it was a bit of a pointless signing. Craig Gordon's fine, Simon Mignolet's just as good and Trevor Carson can sit on the bench as and when required. Credit to Westwood though in that he's had the chance to stake a claim for the No.1 shirt through injury and he's certainly taken it with a string of fine performances. Some absolutely world-class saves thrown in for good measure too, notably against Manchester United and Wolvehampton Wanderers. Westwood's form has certainly been a very nice surprise.
Our top scorer had to make the list. Arriving for nothing from Birmingham City, and known as a set-piece expert, I had my doubts. Even when we spoke to some Birmingham fans we were told he was good at them, but also hit and miss. It seems so far he can hardly miss. What a nice feeling it is that when we get a freekick or corner, there's a genuine buzz that we might actually score as opposed to knowing Phil Bardsley's going to smash it into the wall? Some good performances so far, and perhaps even on course for Player Of The Season.
So thus far he's only had cameo roles to play, but to pick one out, his debut against Blackburn Rovers was very nice to see. Some of us here at Casa Roker Report had been calling for his inclusion for a while now, and it's been thoroughly justified now. I don't think anyone expected much given the last few 'attacking talents' we've plucked from Ireland (Darryl Murphy, Roy O'Donovan) but the signs are promising for James. A winger who stays out wide, gets good dangerous crosses in early and isn't afraid of the big stage. I like him. McClean certainly makes the nice list.
So much doubt when he arrived. Could he cut it without the mercurial Charlie Adam? Well yes he could, and has, going on to make a very good argument that he's the best central midfielder we currently have on the books with several fine performances. Top notch in the drubbing of Stoke City at home early on in the season, and very useful against Blackburn too, Vaughan should now that Bruce has gone, be looking to stay in there for the rest of the season.
Whilst he still divides opinion on where he should play (it's left-back for me by the way) wherever he has been deployed this season he's done it very well. I'll keep more of a focus on him at left-back as he's spent the most time there, I really think if given a proper run there he's our answer to the problem position. His defensive capabilities have improved ten-fold from last season and he's still managing to get forward well. Even moving into midfield without so much as a grumble. Well done Kieran, your ability to solve problems has been very nice.
For some, with the price we paid for him you'd expect him to be nice, but you have to remember he's only eighteen years old (two years younger than Ryan Noble for comparison), and is still very raw. That said, with the performances put in, he's become an integral part of the team. Just look at how we shifted everything around a couple of weeks ago just accommodate him not being in the team. The impact he's made, and the fact he's become the focal point of the attack at such a young age is very nice indeed.
It's not just the fact that Brown has been consistently good, but the fact he's even played at all which has been a very welcome surprise. Known for a terrible record with injuries, he seems to have been getting away with it this season. In the early part of the year he was a commanding presence, and even managed to make the likes of Anton Ferdinand and Michael Turner look more than decent alongside him. Brown's form and fitness gives him inclusion on our nice list.
Got some suggestions of your own? Why not leave a comment. I'm pretty sure we'll have missed something or someone major, so lets here who makes your nice list for the festive season...