Back of the Net is delighted to announce that Stoke City midfielder Wilson Palacios is our Barclays Premier League Player of the Year for 2012/13.
Palacios is a part of the Potters squad that has once again achieved Premier League safety with something to spare, delighting fans and neutrals alike as much for their flair as for their emphasis on playing the game the right way.
Stoke's midfield is widely regarded as the best outside the Champions League places, and Palacios is the jewel in the crown, outshining even such modern-day Maradonas as Glenn Whelan and Dean Whitehead.
The Honduran's aggression, driving energy and passing ability have been conspicuous in each of his four appearances this season, all as substitute. Although Stoke's form has declined over recent months, Palacios can hardly be blamed, given that he hasn't played since November.
"2012/13 has been a vintage campaign in every way," a Back of the Net spokesman commented. "Conscious of our hard-won reputation as the most respected and hardest-hitting voice in football journalism today, we wanted to be absolutely certain we were making the right choice for Player of the Year."
"There were many fine candidates, and we carefully weighed up the merits of the other players on our shortlist, namely Gareth Bale, Robin van Persie, and Mario Balotelli.
"But ultimately none of them has matched what Wilson Palacios has done this year. He could have left in January for slightly smaller wages and regular first-team football, but he chose to stay and fight to win back his place in the team.
"The fact that his fight was unsuccessful is neither here nor there. Wilson is a worthy successor to our previous award-winners Michael Owen (2011) and Lionel Messi (2012)."
The BotN Young Player award was won by Liverpool right-back Martin Kelly, owner of an astonishingly large collection of compromising photographs of international managers, and online football satirists.
Meanwhile, the BotN Blog of the Year award was once again won - by an overwhelming margin - by Back of the Net. Congratulations to all our winners, especially us.
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