Is it time for Wes Hoolahan to win Norwich City’s player of the season award?

Wes Hoolahan demonstrated against Reading the value he still offers.
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Foc

Wes Hoolahan demonstrated against Reading the value he still offers. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Wes Hoolahan is already a legendary figure at Norwich City and now fans are moving to make clear how much they appreciate the Irish maestro.

Canaries supporters have been discussing voting for Hoolahan in City's player of the season award, with many suggesting they intend to vote for the 34-year-old on social media, after he scored his 50th goal for the Canaries in Saturday's 7-1 thumping of Reading.

The voting opened this week, with last season's winner Jonny Howson thought to be a strong contender to lift the Barry Butler Memorial Trophy again.

Cameron Jerome and Jacob Murphy are thought to be in the mix as well but the suggestion that Hoolahan should win, because he has not won it in his previous eight campaigns, has sparked plenty of debate.

Some have argued the decision should be made purely on who has been the best player but others feel Hoolahan deserves the recognition, as he heads towards his 10th – and potentially final – campaign with the club.

Jonny Howson picked up the player of the season award last season.
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus

Jonny Howson picked up the player of the season award last season. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

We put it to an online vote to see which players are leading the way and the veteran playmaker came out on top with 51pc of the votes, comfortably ahead of Howson in second on 26pc.

Portuguese full-back Ivo Pinto (8pc) was narrowly ahead of Jerome and Murphy (6pc) and striker Nelson Oliveira (3pc).

Should Hoolahan win the Barry Butler Memorial Trophy? Mark Armstrong believes it would be fitting but David Freezer doesn't agree...

Cameron Jerome is likely to be a frontrunner for this seasons player of the season award.
Picture

Cameron Jerome is likely to be a frontrunner for this seasons player of the season award. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

FOR – @markarmy

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When Norwich City fans wander home following their last game of the season at home to QPR on Sunday, May 7, they are likely to feel pretty empty.

A season that promised so much at the start descended into one of the most underwhelming campaigns in the club's recent history.

Win, lose or draw against the R's, the result is unlikely to be upper most on the minds of the majority of City supporters as they reflect on a largely frustrating campaign.

But what if they could walk away knowing that at least one good thing came out of the 2016/17 season?

When that day comes they should have the image of Wes Hoolahan holding the Barry Butler Memorial Trophy aloft and we could all at least salvage one positive from this season.

The little Irishman has been one of the few constants this season and he showed again on Saturday, in the 7-1 destruction of Reading, the value he still offers this City squad, even at 35 years of age.

For all the affection he enjoys from the Canaries' faithful, he is still yet to cast enough votes to have been the best player over the course of one season.

For the service he has given Norwich City he deserves to be remembered as a player of the season winner.

It's not how it works but it would be a travesty if the Canaries could count players like Lee Croft and Gary Doherty as winners and leave Hoolahan out.

Yes, there are other candidates – Jonny Howson has been consistent whilst Cameron Jerome's goals kept City in the promotion hunt for a brief period. Jacob Murphy also deserves a mention for the way he has fulfilled at least part of his potential this season.

But when Hoolahan hangs up his boots he will be remembered by a generation of City supporters as one of the finest players to have graced Carrow Road.

The former Blackpool man, brought in on a free transfer by Glenn Roeder in 2008, deserves something tangible to acknowledge that.

Few Norwich players in recent history have been as good to watch. Perhaps only Darren Huckerby engenders more goodwill amongst supporters…and he won the player of the year gong twice.

So do the right thing and make sure Wessi is remembered not just as a great player…but a Barry Butler Memorial Trophy winner.

AGAINST – @davefreezer

I'm not keen on the idea of Hoolahan being handed this season's award based on nostalgia – and I don't believe he would be either.

It is unfortunate that the Irish magician hasn't won City's player of the season award before, given his fantastic contribution across nine seasons, but I doubt he wants to win an award out of sympathy.

The 34-year-old finished third behind Robbie Brady and winner Jonny Howson last season, when he scored four goals in 32 games and created eight goals – although there weren't too many candidates in that relegation campaign.

So far this season the playmaker has scored five in 30 matches and been credited with nine assists, an improvement on last season but we already knew he would be comfortable in the Championship.

His prominent role in Saturday's 7-1 thrashing of Reading, after missing two games through injury, was a timely reminder of how influential the club legend can be.

But he is not in my top three for the campaign as things stand.

My vote is going to Jonny Howson for his consistency and I would put Cameron Jerome and Jacob Murphy on my shortlist as well, with Hoolahan and Nelson Oliveira completing the top five.

I can understand some fans wanting Wes to win the award, in what could be his last chance – but it certainly shouldn't be the last opportunity to lavish praise on the man who signed from Blackpool back in 2008.

He still has one year remaining on his Canaries deal and Stuart Webber is unlikely to mess with club royalty during his summer shake-up, as Hoolahan enters his testimonial year – no one wants to see a repeat of Darren Huckerby's badly handled exit.

He may well play second fiddle to Alex Pritchard next season but I'm sure we will still see some of the flashes of brilliance which have already made certain of his place in the Carrow Road hall of fame.

Reaching the 50-goal landmark has allowed us to sing Hoolahan's praises yet again and we will all do so again as LAW (Life After Wes) approaches and an emotional chance to re-live his achievements at his well deserved testimonial moves closer.

To put it simply: Wes Hoolahan has not been the best Norwich City player this season and, as such, does not deserve an award saying that he has been.

Poll results correct at time of going to print. Cast your official player of the season vote at canaries.co.uk