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Reader’s Corner: Sharing some personal highlights from a memorable season for Sunderland

RR reader Gabriel Ridley has his say on our 2022/2023 campaign, and chooses some of the standout players, goals and moments from an exciting season for the Lads

Photo by Will Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

With the season drawing to a close, relegation not on the cards, the playoffs seemingly unreachable and with a relaxing end in prospect, I thought I’d share my ‘end of season awards’ for the Lads!

Player of the Season: Jack Clarke

If the ‘Loch Ness Drogba’ hadn’t been struck by injury, he would’ve certainly won this award, but two players that certainly stand out are Danny Batth and Luke O’Nien.

For me, Batth should be in the Championship team of the season.

The Stoke game aside, he’s been a rock and has often looked like the best Sunderland centre half I’ve seen in recent times.

O’Nien gets an honourable mention, too. He’s my favourite player for his work rate alone and regardless of the fact that he might not be the most talented player in the squad, he’s certainly ‘Mr Sunderland’.

I love watching him play and we would’ve been in a worse position without him, not least during the period where he made an exceptional contribution alongside Batth at centre half.

However, the winner has to be Jack Clarke.

I’ll be the first to admit that he occasionally frustrates me but at the same time, some of the stick he gets is unfair.

Sixteen goal contributions at the time of writing, some incredible goals against Bristol City and Reading, and he’s just been a revelation this season.

I actually met him recently and wished him luck for the rest of the season, and shortly afterwards, he scored that banger against Bristol.

Let’s see what he can do in the same team as a healthy Ross Stewart next season, as I’ve loved watching him play at home and it’s extremely exciting to know that he’s only going to get better!

Reading v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Young Player of the Season: Anthony Patterson

It was a close call between Patterson and Amad but I’m going to give it to Patto.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve thought, ‘‘Oh no’, before he made another superb save.

There’s a reason why Leicester City want him and even though he’s had next to no competition, he’s a gem and a player I hope to see on Wearside when we line up for our first game back in the Premier League.

He certainly has potential and he’ll get even better when he sharpens up his distribution.

Norwich City v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Goal of the Season: Jack Clarke vs Reading

It’s the goal of the season in general, not just ours.

Enough said!

Reading v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Home game of the season: Sunderland 2 - 1 Blackburn

A last-minute winner on Boxing Day before we went on our best run of the season.

Seeing Ellis Simms stick that one away will stay with me for a while, and here’s hoping we can bring him back to Sunderland this summer.

Sunderland v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Lee Parker - CameraSport via Getty Images

Away game of the season: Wigan 1-4 Sunderland

An unreal game. Were we really playing that football?

From Amad scoring a worldie to Dan Neil giving off prime Andres Iniesta vibes, this match was just sublime.

Train Hume’s tackle on a certain James McClean was a joy to watch as well!

Wigan Athletic v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship - DW Stadium Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Moment of the season: Jack Clarke’s goal vs Coventry

I think this one might resonate with most of the fanbase, but the ecstasy when we scored that goal made it feel like all the years of suffering in League One was worth it for that one moment.

We were back and back with a bang,

It may have been a simple header but after seeing us play the likes of Accrington Stanley, it was such a great moment as it was the first game where it felt like we were really on the up and that good times were ahead.

Sunderland v Coventry City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images


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