The King is crowned! Blackpool's Wembley hero Kenny Dougall is The Gazette's player of the season
Blackpool’s Wembley hero Kenny Dougall has been voted The Gazette’s player of the season by our readers.
The Aussie was the overwhelming winner, claiming 38.5 per cent of the public vote.
Club captain Chris Maxwell finished second with 23.2 per cent of the vote, edging Jerry Yates into third on 21.7 per cent.
Dan Ballard, Grant Ward and Ollie Turton also ranked highly.
It caps off a perfect first season at Bloomfield Road for Dougall, who arrived on a free transfer in October.
His emergence in the side coincided with Blackpool’s upturn in form and, barring a brief absence through Covid, the midfielder has been a virtual ever-present.
The 28-year-old wrote himself into the club’s history books when he scored the goals that secured Blackpool’s promotion back to the Championships.
One with his left foot and one with his right, Dougall was at the double at Wembley as Neil Critchley’s side came from a goal behind to beat Lincoln City in the League One play-off final.
Having scored just once during the regular season, the former Barnsley man found the back of the net on three occasions during Blackpool’s play-off campaign - making himself a Seasiders hero and a firm fans’ favourite, if he wasn’t one already.
Things got even better for the energetic, tough-tackling midfielder when he earned his first international cap just four days on from his Wembley glory.
Dougall came off the bench on Thursday during Australia’s 3-0 World Cup qualifying victory against Kuwait.
The Blackpool man had been part of Australian camps before and had previously represented his country at youth level, but this was his first appearance for the senior side.
Last week, teammate Chris Maxwell was named as the winner of the club’s player of the season vote.
The 30-year-old kept an impressive 21 clean sheets in League One this season, which saw him win the division’s ‘Golden Glove’ award.
Blackpool also boasted the meanest defence in the third tier with Maxwell in-between the sticks, the men in tangerine conceding just 37 goals in 46 games.
Maxwell faced fierce competition for the award from Jerry Yates, but the club’s top goalscorer still claimed a trophy in the form of the players’ player of the season.
Yates takes the club’s official award after scoring 23 goals in 54 games in all competitions this season.
The 24-year-old has made himself a firm fans’ favourite in his first season with the club, having joined last summer from Rotherham United.
Yates became the first Blackpool player this season to hit 20 goals in a campaign since Andy Morrell in 2007.
Elsewhere, Sullay Kaikai’s strike in the 1-0 win against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in April was voted the club’s goal of the season.
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