We realize that it’s been a difficult year of elections for many, particularly so in the last two weeks for our American readers (and writers). That said, we’re not going to get political here at Through It All Together; Brexiters and Remainers both have their place in Leeds United fandom. However, we understand that sometimes the winner of the popular vote doesn’t necessarily take home the prize.
At the end of October, we ran our usual Reader’s Choice poll for player of the month, and you, our readers, decided on Chris Wood as your champion. He has all the makings of a worthy POTM selection, as we detailed here and as we’ll argue again briefly below. But behind closed doors, our staff was making our own selection, and while our margin was razor thin (1 vote), another man came out on top.
Three men received votes this month, and we’ll give brief arguments for each below. Each were worthy challengers, each deserve attention and respect, but only one can be the winner. Crazy how that works.
The Case for Luke Ayling, by Sean Ryan, 2 votes
Luke Ayling deserves the October Player of the Month award because he's made the right back position his own in recent weeks. Our defence has been weaker than Donald Trump’s debate skills in the last number of years, so to see a settled back line playing well week in and week out is glorious.
Ayling for his part has kept out Berardi and has been a solid performer since joining the Whites. He doesn't get the attention of Bartsson, but he is vital. He plays every match, he contributes on the attack, and he’s solid in defence as well. Give it to Ayling.
The Case for Chris Wood, by Johnny Wakefield, 3 votes
Goals. He scores them, we need them.
Chris Wood was hard-done to not win last month’s award, but the Pontus Jansson phenomenon was just a chainsaw to any rationale argument other than the Swede. Wood has been brilliant since the last day of August when everyone, and I mean everyone, was begging for help at the striker position. “Wood isn’t good enough,” they said. And he heard them.
THIS WAS THE BEST MOMENT OF MY SEASON. Sorry, had to yell a bit there. That glorious EFL Cup tie ends 1-2 if Chris Wood isn’t in the right spot at the right moment. He scores when he needs to, and as a result, we’re in the top ten and heading to Anfield for the EFL Cup quarterfinal.
In this three-month-old campaign, Wood has already scored 10 goals (11 now, counting November) and is on pace to easily reach 20. He has been clutch on penalty kicks, has been in the right places at the right times, and has shed the boo-birds at long last. He cupped his ear for the first few goals, asking where the boos were now... but no longer.
He’s our man up top, he makes the magic happen, and he is my overdue Player of the Month nominee.
The Case for Kyle Bartley, by James Mahoney, 4 votes
My nomination for the TIAT October POTM is Kyle Bartley. Our stand-in skipper had a fantastic October. Bartley stepped out of Jansson’s shadow and has lead the team up the table. His ability to do the simple aspects of defending is riveting to watch, and he has been the most consistent player within the team, playing every minute of every game throughout the month.
Moreover, Bartley has shown his adaptability by being a consistent threat in the opposition’s box. He scored against Barnsley (after scoring earlier in the year) and came close against Derby and Norwich. Bartley has shown exactly the qualities you require from a centre-back when pushing your side into the promotion places.
Bartley was unlucky not to win the accolade last month and has continued to improve since the beginning of October. In my opinion, there isn’t any other player within the Leeds squad who deserves the POTM award for October more than our Captain, Kyle Bartley.
So yes, it’s November 15th, and yes, this is the award for October, but it’s been a busy election season, okay? We’ll be back later today with more here at Through It All Together. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and please share our award-winner’s accomplishment on every single social media site if you agree. It’s your patriotic duty. MOT.