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PFA Player of the Year Awards

Ryan Giggs has been playing at the top of his profession for almost 20 years. He’s a shining light amongst modern footballers, in that he keeps himself to himself, and is as far removed from the David Beckham and Ashley Cole lifestyle possible. Even as a Liverpool fan, I still find it hard to hate the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes. I don’t like them; but I respect them for what they’ve achieved in the game, how they’ve gone about doing that and how they conduct themselves on and off the field.

Ryan Giggs has consistently been one of the better players in this country for a long time. He came into the United side as a flying left winger and has been part of every side Alex Ferguson has assembled throughout the 90’s and the past decade. This season however, he’s started only 12 games and scored only 1 goal. A sign of his age and tired legs? Or the hallmarks of the PFA Footballer of the Year?

I have the greatest of respect for Ryan Giggs; but to suggest he’s been the best player in this country this season is a decision almost as appalling as Howard Webb’s call to award a penalty to United on Saturday. If he’s been the best player this season then this award can be treated as a joke from here on in. How can a player that has started only 12 games and scored only 1 goal be deemed to be the best player in the country over the course of a season? It’s madness.

This isn’t an anti-United bias, as I’d have voted for Vidic, but there is something seriously wrong with the award if a player that has started less than a third of his sides games can win it.

I understand the votes are cast in late January, with a deadline of early March for their return. Players are being asked to vote for their player of the season when the most important part of the season is still to come, and the season is only half complete. Where is the logic in that? We can have General Elections where the entire nation is polled, and results can be published within hours, yet players have to vote on their player of the year some 3 to 4 months before the end of the season. It’s completely lost on me and belittles the award’s importance.

Ryan Giggs played well for a period of 5 or 6 weeks at the turn of the year; the period when voting took place. Players that perform well in a 5 to 6 week period usually win the Player of the Month award, not Player of the Year.

When players collect awards, there is usually a montage of highlights played to recall why they’ve won the award. What are they going to do when Ryan Giggs collects his award? Stick the West Ham goal on repeat and show it from a few different angles? I think even he’ll be embarrassed at the accolade given to him by his fellow professionals and know that it’s not justified.

For me, there’s been no standout player this season. Vidic has been a rock at the back for United, but had a shaky few weeks at the time the votes were cast. Steven Gerrard has been brilliant, but I wouldn’t say it’s been his greatest season in a Liverpool shirt. Ronaldo has been half the player he was last year, while Frank Lampard wasn’t even nominated. It’s been far from a vintage year for outstanding performers; but to give the award to the attacking player with 1 goal to his name and only 12 appearances is laughable.

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