Marvin Ekpiteta is your winner of The Gazette's Blackpool FC player of the season award

Marvin Ekpiteta has been crowned The Gazette’s Blackpool FC player of the season for the 2021/22 campaign by our readers.

Monday, 9th May 2022, 8:00 am

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The defender was the overwhelming winner of our public vote, claiming a staggering 70 per cent of the poll - the largest ever winning margin of the award.

Richard Keogh finished in second on 8.8 per cent, ahead of Josh Bowler in third on 6.6 per cent.

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Dan Grimshaw and Jordan Gabriel also ranked highly in our nine-man shortlist, as picked by Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton.

“Big Marv, as he’s affectionately known, has been my favourite player in my six years covering the club, so I’m absolutely delighted he’s the recipient of The Gazette’s player of the season award,” Scrafton said.

“Despite Blackpool enjoying an excellent first season back in the Championship, Ekpiteta winning this award so convincingly was an absolute no-brainer, which just goes to show how well he’s done this year.

Ekpiteta was presented with his award by Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton

“No player in the Championship has made as many blocks as him this season, which is testament to his excellent defensive ability.

“But there’s a great deal more to his game than tackles and blocks, as he also has a calm head on relatively young shoulders and continues to get better and better on the ball as the games pass by.

“Ekpiteta certainly has a bright future ahead of him but hopefully he remains at Bloomfield Road for the foreseeable future.”

Despite beginning the season on the substitute’s bench, Ekpiteta soon became one of the first names on the Blackpool team sheet.

The 26-year-old has since made 42 appearances in all competitions, scoring five times and claiming one assist.

The defender even captained the side for a large chunk of the season while Chris Maxwell was sidelined with two serious quad injuries.

Ekpiteta seemed to thrive with the added responsibility, somehow managing to take his already impressive performances to another level.

It’s been an incredible rise through the leagues for the centre-back over the last few years, having been playing in non-league as recently as three years ago.

Ekpiteta combined working part-time while playing for the likes of Chelmsford City, Concord Rangers and East Thurrock United, before getting his break with Leyton Orient.

The Enfield-born man played a key role in helping Orient win promotion from the National League in 2019 before making the step-up to League Two.

A year later, the Seasiders snapped him up on a free transfer and since then he’s been a revelation in tangerine.

Ekpiteta is now one of Blackpool’s most prized assets and is likely to be in demand this summer, but thankfully for the Seasiders the defender agreed to sign a new two-year deal back in March.

Ekpiteta was presented with his award following Saturday’s final game of the season against Peterborough United, where he came off the bench to replace the injured Keogh.