If you randomly polled one hundred Liverpool fans and asked who should be nominated for a player of the year award for 2013, it's unlikely Jamie Carragher would be the most popular answer. This is no slight to the ex-player, just a recognition that in the context of a full calendar year, it's unlikely that a man who hung up his boots for the last time at the end of May would ever make the short list for such an award.
Yet with three months left in the year, that's exactly where Carra finds himself: on the short list for the Northwest Football Awards Player of the Year prize. It's perhaps not exactly the most coveted accolade in English football, but in a region of England packed with successful and storied football clubs, Carragher will find himself facing off against opponents from Everton, Manchesters United and City, and... Wigan Athletic.
Still, it's a personal award in a British footballing universe that doesn't award them to anyone who isn't Gareth Bale, and it's an award that has been won its last two times out by Carra's ex teammates, Martin Skrtel and Lucas Leiva. Making this short list may not exactly be the crowning achievement in his career, but Carragher's excellent form in the back half of last season deserves acknowledgement on some level, preferably in the form of a trophy/paperweight.
Founded in 2007, the Northwest Football Awards also have Player of the Year categories for a handful of lower divisions. Ex-Liverpool man Jay Spearing is nominated in the Championship category, and Jerome Sinclair is a candidate for the Rising Star Award.
If you're feeling particularly sentimental and/or want to ensure that Liverpool make it three wins in a row for Player of the Year, you can vote until online until 5pm BST on October 4. Vote early and vote often to help send Carra off with one final gong to commemorate his playing years.