Monday, 15 June 2009

Giggs’ PFA win is as blatant a sporting conspiracy as you will ever see

I wrote this after Ryan Giggs won a leading football award in April. It's another ranty piece, but with a bit of thought behind it.

I hope Nemanja Vidic has reported the robbery he suffered at the hands of his fellow professionals last month in the PFA Players’ Player of the Year awards.

United’s veteran winger Ryan Giggs took the prize, despite making only a dozen Premier League starts when he was named the winner.

The decision makes a mockery of the award. Giggs would struggle to get into United’s best eleven of the season ahead of Carlos Tevez, Darren Fletcher and Park Ji Sung, but the players of the top flight have spoken and named the Welshman as the winner, the first time he has collected the accolade.

There is no doubting that Giggs has been a magnificent pro. He has won everything the domestic game has to offer with Manchester United, and has shown a terrific loyalty to the club he has been with since he was a schoolboy.

A few years ago when Giggs was out of the side for a spell, there were rumours he would leave the club and enjoy a huge payday by signing for Inter Milan.

But even though media reports suggested the move was a done deal, Giggs stayed and fought for his place successfully, and has had a solid if unspectacular impact on the club’s fortunes ever since.

Perhaps even more baffling was the omission of United’s midfield general Michael Carrick from the final shortlist of six players. The Wallsend man has this season at last developed beautifully into a worthy replacement for Roy Keane.

Carrick’s shielding of the defence has been a major factor in Rio Ferdinand and Vidic being so dominant defensively and in Edwin van der Sar’s excellent goalkeeping record.

Rarely can a team penetrate the midfield marshalled by Carrick let alone break through the back four. However, while all three of the above men were nominated, Carrick missed out.

His unerring long passing has also started moves for countless United attacks, as he finally fulfils the potential Sir Alex Ferguson saw in him to pay what many thought was a vastly inflated transfer fee of well over £15m to Tottenham Hotspur for his services.

Vidic perhaps suffered for his wobbly display in Liverpool’s 4-1 drubbing of United at Old Trafford, where the Serb looked constantly shaky against the pace of Fernando Torres, and was eventually sent off for hauling down Steven Gerrard outside the area. Fabio Aurelio curled home the resulting free kick and Liverpool marched on to victory.

Van der Sar’s challenge stuttered with some uncharacteristically dodgy goalkeeping throughout March, and no stopper has won the award in thirty years so a win for the Dutchman was never likely.

Players are probably bored of voting for the other two candidates Steven Gerrard and Cristiano Ronaldo, as they have won it for the past three years between them.

Arguably that leaves Giggs as the logical choice, but there are many players from outside the big four clubs that would have been worthy candidates.

Fulham’s Brede Hangeland has marshalled his side into European contention with some monumental defensive displays that have led to the giant Norwegian being linked with a move across London to Arsenal.

Manchester City’s Stephen Ireland has also earned rave reviews for his commanding midfield displays this season but he was instead nominated for the young players award.

Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott have formed the strongest all-English defensive partnership in the league and both have received international recognition from Fabio Capello this term. With Everton reaching the FA Cup final and looking as solid as ever in a European slot, the pair both being missing from the list looks like a huge oversight.

It will be interesting to see how the other awards pan out come the end of the season, with several football writers claiming they will look outside of the big clubs for their winners.

If you have any requests by the way - let me know! I've got various things I'm planning to put up but it'll be a pretty random approach to their order.

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