When the Top 25 players in the Championship were named a year ago on The Seventy Two, it was a one time view of players at the time. Nearly half of the list are now at Premier League clubs which indicates some level of accuracy in the view. This week's review finishes here with a look at the final five names on the original list - with perhaps the biggest star wrapping things up.
In his first season as Norwich manager Chris Hughton has earned praise and criticism in equal measure from what has become quite a divided fan base. Despite this, one area where all fans can agree the new manager has excelled is player recruitment. Hughton’s signings have been largely successful. Along with Sebastien Bassong, Robert Snodgrass has been the pick of these signings.
Snodgrass was our third signing from Leeds in the space of a year and coming to a club with familiar faces may have been the reason for the positive start to his Norwich career. In his performances this season he has been one of Norwich’s most constant threats, with his dead ball delivery troubling some of the league’s best defences.
Snodgrass is currently Norwich’s top scorer in all competitions this season. This probably says more about Hughton’s cautious approach than anything else but what is clear is that without Snodgrass’ goals, especially the three free kicks in consecutive away games before Christmas, Norwich would be in a very different position. He has looked every inch the Premier League player, and still has lots of time to improve further.
John Verrall now picks up the reins to check out a former Manchester United youngster at the heart of a promotion charge.
I now drift up the M1 and take a look at a player who might perhaps slip under the radar of many Championship followers
Although this will probably result in scorn from my friends in the North East, Emnes is probably one of the names on the list to pass people by the most. That's partly because, aside from last season, Emnes hasn't been by any means a regular starter, playing in fewer than half of all games across six seasons.
His inclusion in this list was based on a streak of form unmatched at any other time in his stop-start career to date. Ten goals in the first 18 games made him an automatic choice and one of the leading scorers at the time of the compilation of our vote. The second half of the season was less profitable, although returned a none-too-shoddy eight goals all the same.
This season Emnes endured a rather strange start, with fans at the Riverside presumably wondering if he was becoming a bit of a mystery man. Injury and a family illness in Surinam contributing to a bizarre run where his first nine games of the season were all away from home. Emnes managed a decent return of four goals in this period, but a solitary goal since mid-October has loosened Emnes' grip on a regular first team shirt and a return to top form currently appears some way off.
Ross McCormack: Top 25 review from 2011
The undoubted star of the list - indeed the Championship as a whole - one year on, Zaha's improved consistency and ever-more-evident raw talent has earned the young man from the Ivory Coast (yes, he's eligible for England) the archetypal schoolboy's dream transfer, to the biggest and most successful side in domestic football, Manchester United.
Zaha will attempt to emulate the likes of Best, Giggs and Ronaldo by bringing his significant skills to the Old Trafford touchlines, whilst also pressing his claims for a regular spot in the national squad.
Zaha finished last season as he had started it, being named Palace's young player of the year for the second season in a row. Expected by many to be middle of the road at best, Palace made a scintillating start to the season with Zaha inspiring a flood of goals alongside Yannick Bolasie and Glenn Murray and earning a call up to the full England squad for the friendly against Sweden in November.
But all good things must come to an end and the inevitable transfer - a massive £15m+ one at that - was quietly and quickly sealed by the 19-times Champions in the January transfer window.
For now fans of the football league get to enjoy Zaha's sublime and dazzling skills for a few weeks more and many will be eagerly anticipating the impact he can have at the Theatre of Dreams
There were perhaps some players named who in retrospect are decent performers but not potential stars, and the vote was perhaps skewed by form at the time rather than a longer-term view. Emnes is mentioned above perhaps in this bracket, whilst as a Bristol City fan although I rate both Maynard and Adomah highly, I acknowledge the superb run of (short-term) form City were on at the time under then-new boss Derek McInnes perhaps contributed to their inclusion, although that could yet be justified as both could conceivably be performing in the Premier League next season.
Many thanks to Joe and John for their contributions, it was fun putting such an extensive programme of writing together a year ago and without their help I couldn't have delivered a review on the entire list alone.
To view the review of the other 20 players please click below. Thanks for reading!
Read Part 2 of 'The Best 25 Players in the Championship; One Year On'
Read Part 3 of 'The Best 25 Players in the Championship; One Year On'
Read Part 4 of 'The Best 25 Players in the Championship; One Year On'