DIV 2: BIG DANNY A ROCK FOR RANGERS
The top six were head and shoulders above the rest with hitmen Nathan Ellington and Rob Hulse both doing their jobs for Wigan and Crewe. However, amid the mid-table mediocrity and relegation dogfight lurked a whole host of talented players. Teletext pays tribute to those unsung heroes, and a few hyped ones too, as we pick our Second Division team of the year. Complaints on a postcard...
LES POGLIACOMI, OLDHAM Signed from Aussie club Paramatta last July, the 6'5" keeper was hugely impressive for the Latics after an unconvincing start. A considerable presence, he set a new club record by keeping 19 clean sheets.
JOE KEITH, COLCHESTER The former West Ham trainee was hugely influential for the U's, and flourished under new boss Phil Parkinson. A real menace down the left flank, Keith weighed in with nine goals to finish joint top scorer.
PAUL WOTTON, PLYMOUTH A veteran of 253 appearances at only 25, this one-club man has come on leaps and bounds under Paul Sturrock. Massively improved at the back, he has a real thunderbolt of a shot and found the net 11 times.
DANNY SHITTU, QPR Absolutely immense as Rangers surged into the play-offs, the former Charlton centre-back is a formidable presence at the back. Strong in the air and never shirks a tackle, 'Big Danny' also scored seven times.
CHRIS COYNE, LUTON A former West Ham trainee, the Australian U23 defender has been imperious for the Hatters. Consistently solid in a sometimes suspect Luton defence, the 24-year-old is certainly one to keep an eye on.
LIAM LAWRENCE, MANSFIELD Consistently the Stags' best player in a frustrating campaign at Field Mill. Naturally gifted, he has been labelled the David Beckham of the lower leagues. Tenacious and skillful, he contributed 12 goals.
MICHAEL SIMPSON, WYCOMBE Boss Lawrie Sanchez is amazed Simpson is still at Adams Park, such is the impression the midfielder has made. His uncompromising style is complimented by great vision and a superb engine. A real asset.
CHRIS BRANDON, CHESTERFIELD One of the main reasons why the Spireites managed to beat the drop, Brandon was a revelation. An all-action midfielder, the former Torquay man covered every blade of grass and hit 10 fine goals.
RODNEY JACK, CREWE A vital cog in an attacking Alex side, Jack is a fans' favourite at Gresty Road and it's easy to see why. His pace, aerial ability and powerhouse shooting saw him hit 16 goals as Crewe bounced back to Div 1.
SAM PARKIN, SWINDON Few predicted the former Chelsea striker would have such an impact at the County Ground, but a hat-trick on his debut was followed by 23 more. A decent link man as well as a poacher, the £50k fee was a real snip.
MARK STALLARD, NOTTS COUNTY Stood up to be counted when many team-mates shirked the responsibility and County headed towards the drop. His 24 goals made up a third of County's total and almost single-handedly kept them up.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR It has to be Iain Dowie of Oldham. The much-derided former striker took over a stale club going nowhere and transformed them into play-off semi-finalists with some players of genuine quality.
Latest | May 2003