From the early stages of the season it was evident that Shaun Maloney would play a big part in the 2012/13 campaign.
His first goal of the season from the penalty spot just five minutes into the game against Stoke City in September was Latics’ first home goal of the campaign and the importance of his goals would prove to grow.
Maloney (with Player of the season award right) also put pen to paper on a new deal at the club in January, which proved a basis to kick his season on.
“I was really happy to sign a new deal.
“It becomes a little uncertain for both a club and a player when a contract starts to run down so I was just pleased to have made things secure.”
In a total of 41 appearances in all competitions, Maloney scored seven times and assisted a total of nine goals, highlighted his impact as an attacking presence, something which he declared himself delighted with, saying:
“It’s always nice to get assists because it’s important to provide for the team and it shows that I’m getting into the right positions on the pitch.
“I always look to set goals up and if I can score as well then that’s brilliant.”
Maloney’s team mate James McCarthy believes that the impact of the 30-year-old on opponents defence is a huge benefit to the team.
“Shaun is outstanding and he makes us tick on the ball.
“He makes it hard for teams to defend because of his movement and creativity.
“Not only is he creative but he’s got an eye for goal and that shows quite clearly.”
Maloney’s eye for goal proved crucial during games in the 2012/13 season, with last minute points secured against both Southampton and Queens Park Rangers, but it was in the FA Cup semi-final that highlighted his finishing prowess as he gave Latics the lead at Wembley Stadium against Millwall.
On the achievement Maloney (pictured celebrating) said:
“It means a lot to score at Wembley, not only because it’s a prestigious place to score but in the context of the game it took pressure off us.
“The semi-final was the talk of the town for weeks so there was some pressure to get to the final and it was a big relief to get a first half lead on what turned out to be a very special day.”
The FA Cup only got better for Maloney as he was the man who provided the assist for Ben Watson’s momentous cup final winning goal.
“It’s unbelievable and crazy that we won it.
“We knew we were massive underdogs but we had a game plan and it worked.
“For Ben to come on and score the winner having been out for six months with a broken leg is special and amazing for him, I’m delighted for him because he’s worked incredibly hard.”
Come the end of the season the humble playmaker was decorated with a hat-trick of awards at the End of Season dinner
, as he picked up Players’ Player of the Season, Away Player of the Season and the big prize Player of the Season, something he reacted to with appreciation.
“It was a proud night to pick up the awards because it’s a big compliment when your fellows players and of course the supporters vote for you.
“The night was also a great chance for the supporters to celebrate the FA Cup win with us and I think it’s something that will always need to be celebrated at the club.”
Shaun's 'My Season' has been compiled from a series of interviews post and pre-match from throughout the season.