Sunderland’s Phil Bardsley tops readers’ poll in Sunderland Echo survey

Phil Bardsley is your choice as top SAFC player of the year.

Phil Bardsley is your choice as top SAFC player of the year.

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THE results are in! Almost 700 Sunderland Echo readers responded to our SAFC Survey 2011, and GRAEME ANDERSON begins a look at readers’ responses tonight.

The survey will continue in the Echo over the new few nights, so don’t miss out on all the verdicts on the 2010/11 campaign.

Phil Bardsley was our readers’ overwhelming choice for player of the season 2010/11.

The full-back polled FOUR times as many votes as all his team-mates put together!

And his performance in our survey only re-emphasises the popularity which saw him win the Sunderland AFC Supporters’ Association’s player of the year award, too.

Bardsley’s selection is a reward for a season of consistency, competitiveness and no little class, both in going forward as well as defending.

Like his predecessor as player of the year, fellow full-back Danny Collins, fans have enjoyed Bardsley’s whole-hearted, brave and honest displays, coupled with the genuine passion for the team he shows in matches made him the fans favourite this season.

He was consistent in availability as well as performance level, playing 37 games for Sunderland as well as representing Scotland five times.

On top of that, the defender added goals to his armoury.

He scored three times over the course of the season – an unexpected matchwinner in the 1-0 victory at Aston Villa in January, a consolation goal in February’s 4-2 home defeat to Chelsea and a scorcher of a free-kick in the 3-2 defeat to West Brom at the Stadium of Light in April.

It was quite an improvement on his previous record – Bardsley not having scored a Premier League goal for Sunderland prior to this season.

And those three goals made him comfortably Steve Bruce’s highest scoring out-and-out defender of the campaign.

Runner-up for Player of the Season was Jordan Henderson, since transferred to Liverpool.

There was also support for Asamoah Gyan, Simon Mignolet, Stephane Sessegnon and, perhaps surprisingly, Darren Bent.

Read the survey’s full results in today’s Echo and over the coming days.