The PFA have announced their shortlist for the Player of the Year gong and, surprise surprise, Nani and Berbatov have both been omitted from the list. Samir Nasri, Charlie Adam, Carlos Tevez, Gareth Bale, Scott Parker and our own Nemanja Vidic make up the final shortlist. Apparently being top scorer in the league without taking any penalties and creating the most goals in the league are not enough to warrant a place on this list.
Almost insultingly Nani makes the Young Player of the Year shortlist, along with Jack Wilshere, Joe Hart, Seamus Coleman and the aforementioned Bale and Nasri. Definitely insultingly, there is no place for Javier Hernandez.
We really shouldn’t be surprised, though, because the PFA awards are voted for by players, and players are as much fans as we are, with a little bit of professional jealousy mixed in for good measure. They are a glorified popularity contest, and when did Manchester United ever win any of those? What player from Leeds, for example, will vote for a Manchester United player?
Whilst Nemanja Vidic might well take the Player of the Year award, and rightly so, you can’t help but worry that people who don’t understand football (and plenty of footballers don’t) will be flocking to vote for the permanently injured Gareth Bale because he had a decent August and September or Charlie Adam / Scott Parker for “battling the drop”. I can’t see Nasri winning because his form has fallen off a cliff since the start of the season, much like Carlos Tevez.
Nani would walk the young player of the year but for the fact that he’s not a young English player. As such, Jack Wilshere’s “emergence as an international” should see him rank ahead of Nani (nine goals, thirteen assists, 45 caps to his name already) because he plays for the popular and fashionable Arsenal side. That, in itself, should tell you how much of a joke these individual awards are.
Football is a team sport, and giving out individual awards makes as much sense as presenting Domino’s Pizza gongs for their pepperoni alone. Regardless, this last week has shown the contempt in which we are held by the footballing media, supporters around the country, the English game’s governing body and even the players in the Premiership themselves.
I wouldn’t get too uptight about it though. You can bet that, if we didn’t win so many trophies as a team, Nani and Berbatov would be at the top of the list. What player, when our lads are already so trophy-laden, is going to vote to give one of them them yet another?