John-Joe O’Toole has been named the Chronicle & Echo Northampton Town Supporters’ Player of the Year for the 2015-16 season.
The former Bristol Rovers man received 35 per cent of the huge vote to scoop the award, with Ricky Holmes runner-up and left-back David Buchanan taking third spot.
In a season which has thrown up so many worthy candidates for this award, no one is a more deserving winner than O’Toole who has undergone his own dramatic transformation.
From unelectable to irreplaceable, the 28-year-old has not taken the orthodox route to player of the season, especially after starting the campaign on the transfer list.
But scoring the winner against Bristol Rovers on the opening day set the tone for his season and while he had to bide his time to return to the starting line-up, it wasn’t long before he became a permanent fixture in the team.
The turning point came at the end of September when, with Jason Taylor suspended, O’Toole started, scored and and impressed in Northampton’s 1-1 draw against AFC Wimbledon.
He proceeded to start the next 21 league games with a series of authoritative, dominant midfield performances.
During that time, O’Toole evolved into the complete midfielder, one who has not only developed the useful knack of being in the right place at the right time to chip in with important goals, but who is also capable of making vital defensive interventions at the other end, showing boundless energy to get up and down the pitch.
On top of that, O’Toole has also wrestled control of the key midfield battleground time and again, thriving in a deeper midfield role where he and Joel Byrom have formed a formidable partnership that has provided the platform for the attacking players to excel.
While others have may have had more explosive impacts, it’s been the resurgence and consistency of a reborn O’Toole that has ultimately paved the way for Northampton’s title-winning success.
O’Toole received the award at the club’s end of season awards night at the County Ground in Northampton on Sunday.