Christian Burgess: Thanks for the honour - but Portsmouth promotion would mean so much more

Christian Burgess surveyed his Pompey supporter accolade and insisted: Thanks – but promotion would mean more.

Sunday, 5th July 2020, 5:00 pm
Christian Burgess was chosen by supporters as the recipient of The News/Sport’s Mail Player of the Season for 2019-20
Christian Burgess was chosen by supporters as the recipient of The News/Sport’s Mail Player of the Season for 2019-20

The central defender has been crowned The News/Sports Mail’s Player of the Season following a superb campaign.

Burgess collected a massive 69 per cent of the vote – compared to previous winner Matt Clarke’s 48 per cent in 2018-19.

The June 2015 recruit from Peterborough will this summer bid farewell to Fratton Park, having agreed a free-transfer switch to Belgian club Royale Union St-Gilloise.

But firstly there’s a play-off campaign to fulfil, with Pompey travelling to Oxford United tomorrow for the semi-final second leg.

The tie is poised at 1-1 – and Burgess is determined to add Championship promotion to his player of the season trophy.

He told The News: ‘The award is great, I’m chuffed and very thankful. It’s one of those things which is a nice addition.

‘But it would mean a lot more if we could go and get promoted.

‘Obviously it’s something I will be able to look back on in the future and be really proud of. Yet it would mean even more if this was the season we were promoted to the Championship. Now that would be incredible.

‘Such accolades are all very nice, but the best awards I own are the medals for the League Two title and Checkatrade Trophy.

‘I’ve received a few trophies from supporter groups over the years, but, ultimately, you’ll be remembered more for what happens as a team during a season.

‘That’s the aim of myself and everybody at the club.

‘All the focus is on this semi-final. The award is great, but it would mean a hell of a lot more if we were to get promoted this season.

‘It’s a real honour, but I want more than that. I want promotion.’

Burgess was named third in The News/Sports Mail’s Player of the Season vote during his maiden Fratton Park campaign in 2015-16.

On that occasion, skipper Michael Doyle (34.7 per cent) narrowly beat Ben Davies (32.8).

Although Burgess considers displays in the League Two title-winning season of 2016-17 as one of his best in a Pompey shirt.

He added: ‘Whether it has been my best season at Pompey is a tough one. It depends which way you look at it.

‘I probably had a better season when we went up in 2016-17 in terms of the whole league. Along with Enda Stevens and David Forde, I was voted in the PFA team of the year.

‘Probably winning the League Two title exemplifies that. It was how well we played and how dominant we were for lots of games, even though we didn’t always get the results.

‘I would say that was my best season with the football I played and the way I affected the matches.

‘However, this has been my best season defensively, in terms of having to defend a lot more.’

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