Defender Diamond named Chronicle & Echo Cobblers Supporters' Player of the Year

TOP COBBLER - Zander Diamond is pictured after winning the Chronicle & Echo Cobblers Supporters' Player of the Year award at the club's end-of-season dinner on Sunday night (Picture: Pete Norton)
TOP COBBLER - Zander Diamond is pictured after winning the Chronicle & Echo Cobblers Supporters' Player of the Year award at the club's end-of-season dinner on Sunday night (Picture: Pete Norton)

Central defender Zander Diamond is the Chronicle & Echo Northampton Town Supporters’ Player of the Year for 2016-17.

The Scotsman claimed 41 per cent of the fans’ vote to claim the award, seeing off strong opposition from Dave Buchanan (20%) and last season's winner John-Joe O’Toole (18%).

Zander Diamond

Zander Diamond

He received the award at the club's end of season awards dinner, which was held at the County Ground in Northampton on Sunday night.

Diamond is the Cobblers’ longest serving player, having initially signed on loan from Burton Albion in February, 2014, and then putting pen to paper on a three-year deal the following summer.

He has always been a consistent performer, but the 2016-17 season saw him produce arguably his best form in the claret and white.

With the club stepping up from Sky Bet League Two to League One, the former Aberdeen man rose to the occasion of moving up a level to the third tier of English football.

Zander Diamond

Zander Diamond

The 32-year-old was a first name on the team sheet for first Rob Page, and then Justin Edinburgh, as the Cobblers achieved their pre-season target of staying in league one.

Diamond’s only spell on the sidelines came when he was recovering from a fractured cheekbone suffered in November, but since his recovery he has once again been an ever-present.

In what has been a mixed season for the Cobblers, there was nothing mixed about the quality of Diamond’s play week in, week out.

Strong in the air, dependable on the ground and reliable in possession, Diamond constantly kept his cool under pressure, and took the challenge of taking on better quality strikers in his stride.

Zander Diamond

Zander Diamond

He has been a model of consistency in what has, at times, been a struggling team.

In all, Diamond made 45 appearances for the Cobblers in 2016-17 and scored once, in the 2-2 EFL Cup draw with Premier League side West Bromwich Albion in August.

The Cobblers went on to win a penalty shootout that night and set up a third round date with world football giants Manchester United at Sixfields, when Diamond got to test himself against the likes of Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford.

That night was probably the highlight of the campaign as far as the club was concerned, but for Diamond it was just one of a series of impressive performances that have been recognised by the people who matter most, the club’s supporters.

It is not yet certain whether the player will turn out for the Cobblers again though.

The Scot will be out of contract this summer, and it has been widely reported in newspapers north of the border that he will return to play in his homeland next season.

Diamond certainly made the most of the players' lap of honour following Sunday's 0-0 draw with the Gills, and made a special point of applauding the Cobblers supporters in the west stand before he went down the tunnel.

There were several other award winners as well as Diamond, with Dave Buchanan picking up the players' player of the year award, and Gaby Zakuani the away player of the year.

Goal of the season went to skipper Marc Richards for his stunning strike in the recent 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United at Sixfields, while the club person of the year award was deservedly won by the host for the evening, Tom Cliffe.

The academy player of the year award was won by Joe Iaciofano, making it a real day of celebration for the young striker as he also signed his first professional contract, while the Cobblers Ladies player of the year was Sara Wait.

Other awards and winners: The Football and Education Student of the Year - jointly awarded to Sam Russell and Brandon Williams; The Community Champion of the Season - David Buchanan; The Disabled Player of the Season - jointly awarded to Ben DeBoo and Christine Carter.