Ryan Woods said he was overwhelmed to win two prizes at the Brentford FC Player of Year Awards Dinner last week. The midfield man was named Brentford FC Supporters’ Player of the Year and was also voted as the Bees Travel Club Away Player of the Year by fans that travel on the supporters’ coaches to away matches. Last year Ryan was voted Players’ Player of the Year and said that was an “unbelievable” feeling but it was a different thrill to be chosen by the fans for their awards.
“You could tell by the way I acted, I was surprised,” said Ryan, speaking after collecting his awards. “It is overwhelming, especially to receive two awards from the fans. They come and support us every week so to get voted for awards by them means a lot. I hope I am keeping them entertained and making them happy. It’s unbelievable to get an award voted for by fellow players but the fans come and watch every week and for them to be happy with my performances is pleasing.”
Brentford finished their Sky Bet Championship season in ninth place. After a fine late season run, The Bees finished six points away from the Play-Offs but Ryan said he felt the team deserved a better placing than that. Brentford picked up only one point from their first eight games but were undefeated in six games against Fulham, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough – who finished third, fourth and fifth. Ryan said he felt the squad could regroup and go better in 2018/19.
“After a tough start, we showed a lot of clubs what we are about,” he said. “Brentford do things in our own way but we are keeping up with the big teams that spend a lot of money and making a show of them at the same time. We have played Aston Villa four times in two seasons and haven’t lost. It is unfortunate we missed out on the Play-Offs but perhaps it wasn’t our time. We are a good side with tremendous quality, I think we were better than ninth and if we keep this squad together we can go again next season.”
Ryan played 40 games in all competition in 2017/18, 39 in the league. He scored one goal – against Leeds United – and contributed three assists. He also picked up the first red card of his career, against Sheffield United towards the end of the campaign.
There were also some difficult times off the field for the 24-year-old. He and his partner lost a baby in August and Ryan admitted the past year had been strange with some highs and lows. But he paid tribute to the way his team mates and everyone at the Club helped him and his family at that time.
Ryan said: “It has been a strange 12 months for me personally. There have been a lot of firsts, I had my first red card and what happened to me personally at the start of the season were two down points. But my goal against Leeds released a lot of emotion and I have been happy with the way I have played. I feel I have progressed and keep getting better. I want to play at the top and if I want to do that I have to be consistent and progress in training.
“I can’t thank my team mates and everyone at Brentford FC for the support they gave at a very difficult time. It would have been more difficult without football. I could come to training and be one of the lads. Football was a life saver for me at that time.”