I think it's about time I got involved with this end of the season opinions malarkey, so here I am doing just that. It's been an up and down season, you don't need me to tell you that of course, but here I am to bring you my thoughts on it anyway.
I am of course David Boyle, (@DavidBoyle1985 for you Twitterites) usually heard on the Roker Report Podcast, and often belittled by Michael Graham on there. He loves me really, he just can't admit it.
Anyway, on to the opinions!...
Player Of The Season?
David: Undoubtedly Stephane Sessegnon. Sess has been a revelation in his first full season on Wearside, a talent the likes of which we haven't seen in a red and white shirt, well, ever in my time, he is that good. Unfortunately his impressive form has also alerted the "big boys" with Arsenal reportedly weighing up a £17m move. All hope should not be lost though as the little fella has recently insisted he has unfinished business with the side, which is good news as it would be a daunting task to replace a player of his caliber.
Young Player Of The Season?
David: Jack Colback. I've been a fan of our industrious midfielder since his emergence to first team action and this has been another season of progress for the lad. Jack's workrate, drive, determination and care of the football have made him a popular option for O'Neill who has been able to rely on Jack to play in a number of positions during the season. Unlike Sessegnon, Colback's superb form has gone relatively unnoticed by the national media/press so it is unlikely we will have another Henderson situation on our hands and should be looking to build our midfield around the likes of Jack.
Best Signing Of The Season?
David: James McClean. We're running out of superlatives for our young wing wizard who took to the Premier League like a pig in sh... Whilst Steve Bruce was reluctant to bring the young Irishman into the fold O'Neill held no such reservations and simply let the lad loose and the unknown quantity gave many a right back a torrid afternoon following his introduction. It will be interesting to see how James continues to progress next year as teams have wised up to what he is about, often doubling up on, but he is certainly an exciting prospect.
Most Disappointing Player Of The Season?
David: Asamoah Gyan. Baby Jet's future with the side seemed to be a promising one, a lively forward with an eye for goal who was popular with the crowd. Then came a chance to make ridiculous money in Dubai and that was that, Sunderland were left bereft of striking options whilst our Gyan was playing infront of a couple of hundred Arabs.
Goal Of The Season?
David: I can't remember a season where we scored so many good goals, normally this would be an easy decision but I've had numerous favourites across the season. Ultimately I am going to go for Fraizer Campbell's dipping blockbuster against Norwich. It was Campbell's first start in the Premier League following his eighteen month layoff through injury which just added a little something extra to an already to stunning first touch and volley.
Game Of The Season?
David: SAFC vs MCFC - Simply one of those games that you will never, ever forget, one that had you completely forget about the New Years hangover you were still suffering from but instead looking ahead to getting started on the next! It was an extraordinary performance where a resilient and determined Sunderland looked to have frustrated Mancini's side before Ji wrote his name into SAFC folklore with as memorable a goal as you are likely to see.
Who do you think Sunderland should be looking at buying this summer?
David: We are desperate for some investment in key areas of the pitch, this is nothing new to any Sunderland fan or indeed O'Neill. Whilst there would undoubtedly be interest from elsewhere the availability of Victor Moses should not go ignored in my opinion. Moses has come on leaps and bounds this year and would instantly add some pace, skill and strength to our final third. Two fullbacks would be nice too, oh and another option on the right, a goalscorer...
There's also talk of a clearout. Is there a player you think might not be as safe as they'd consider themselves?
David: David Vaughan. Whilst Craig Gardner's future has been an ongoing talking point this season I feel Vaughan may also find himself involved in some discussions regarding his future this summer. Whilst Vaughan initially impressed following his transfer, chipping in with some great goals too, I feel his influence on the side has wained as of late and could well make way as part of O'Neill's overhaul.
What was your personal highlight of the season?
David: The FA Cup run. Yes we may have faltered at the final hurdle before Wembley but it was fantastic to feel the club reverberate with excitement and hope again with a manager at the helm that dared us to dream rather than limit our expectations as under the former regime.
Do you think the improvement made under Martin O'Neill will continue into next season, and what should be the aim?
David: Undoubtedly. The initial impact following his arrival may have been written off as the honeymoon period by many but it was much more than that for me. Tired legs and the heartbreaking FA Cup exit have culminated in some disappointing results towards the end of the campaign but O'Neill will have learned so much about his squad during this time and whilst it would be foolish to expect huge sums of money to be thrown around this summer what can be expected is wise investment as Martin moulds his squad and weeds out Bruce's crap.