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Whittle is Crowned!
By: Rob Sedgwick
JUSTIN Whittle has been selected by the Fishy's readers as their player of the season for 2006-2007. The 36-year-old club captain, who has just signed a new one year deal, narrowly pipped last year's winner Paul Bolland to the coveted award.
It is fitting that Whittle should have been selected for the award in a week in which he committed himself to the club for a further season, despite having had an offer from a Belgium club for a coaching role on the continent.
Whittle joined Town from arch rivals Hull three years ago shortly after the appointment of Russell Slade as Town boss. City had just been promoted from League Two, and the Mariners were in turmoil having just been relegated from League One to effectively replace their North Bank rivals. Whittle was perceived as a defender who was experienced at and suited to the level to which the Mariners had just descended, and so it has proved.
Last season Whittle and Rob Jones were the backbone of the Town side which reached the play-offs. This season Whittle has once again been virtually ever present in the back four and has formed a strong partnership with Nick Fenton. Along with rookie defender Ryan Bennett as cover, the pair will form the core of Town's central defence next season - vital continuity after years of sides being broken up every summer.
A no-nonsense centre half, Whittle is not the prettiest of players at times, but makes up for it with plenty of endeavour and effort. Although the defence did not have the greatest starts to the season, with the arrival of Alan Buckley Town have eventually plugged the gaps at the back, and Whittle now features prominently in the plans of his third consecutive manager since joining the Mariners. It is fitting the Buckley's captain and one of the most genuine players at the club should have been given this tribute by the fans.
The full results were as follows:
Justin Whittle 126
Paul Bolland 117
Ciaran Toner 70
Phil Barnes 23
Nick Fenton 22
Peter Bore 11
See also: previous winners of the Fishy Player of the Year
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