More than deserved
I was always confident that our Captain would be rewarded for his amazing last 16 months with the PFA Player Of The Year award. Robin Van Persie has dominated the Premier League since returning to fitness in early 2011. For the award to have gone elsewhere would have been utterly ridiculous. Last year we had the nonsense spectacle of the chimp from White Hart Lane getting the trophy on the strength of two games against Inter Milan (incidentally, Kyle Walker winning the Young Player ahead of Sergio Aguero is an utter nonsense and appears to have been part of an elaborate betting scam that saw high-street bookmakers closing the book last week). This year I felt there was nothing that would stop our man from getting his hands on his deserved silverware.
So what does the title of this piece mean exactly? As the news was being leaked all over Twitter last night that Van Persie had won (the PFA had put a press embargo on the news until late in the evening for some reason, overlooking ready access to the internet on mobile phones for those present) it was being soured by the journalists that report on football in this country of ours. Regular readers will be fully aware of my dislike for these people. Many of them have declared themselves experts on the game, and they truly believe they know more about football than not just you and me, but also esteemed managers and players. The arrogance of these people was summed up on ESPN yesterday as Neil Ashton (an annoying little clown at the best of times) stated that the FA should appoint Harry Redknapp as "all the media want him in the job." The journalists, of course, have their own award - the Football Writers Association Footballer Of The Year. This is generally considered the "real" player of the year award due to its longevity. It had some merit in the year it was awarded to Robert Pires after he had been ridiculously overlooked by the PFA in favour of Van Diver Boy at Man Utd. This year it may well be different.
Last Sunday, on Sky's "Sunday Supplement" programme we heard one of these wonderfully well versed people, Martin Lipton, stating that he believed Wayne Rooney to be Footballer Of The Year. His failure to hide his Manchester United bias was embarrassing. Yesterday this took on a whole new dimension with two of Fleet Street's highest profile football reporters stating that Shrek had received their votes also. Brian Woolnough and Oliver Holt are very recognisable to most football fans, and I suspect their opinion is well respected among their colleagues (even though most of us that watch the game know they talk utter drivel most of the time). There appears to be a growing momentum among these cretins to give their trophy to Rooney. They are now quick to point out that he is only one goal behind RVP in the Premier League this season. That's a fair point, but they have been telling us all season that Van Persie has been carrying Arsenal. We have been a "one man team" who "couldn't survive" without RVP. Given that this has been the argument they've given all season, it must follow that Arsenal's current League position of third is a remarkable achievement for one man. If RVP has carried Arsenal to third place single-handed, while Rooney has been surrounded by such an array of talent at Man Utd (cough), surely it must follow that Van Persie is Footballer Of The Year?
It will be very interesting to see what happens when their award is finally announced. Just a brief look at the quality of Van Persie's all-round play and spectacular goals should be enough for him to walk it. However, I fear the press and their love of Manchester United will see him miss out. I hope to be wrong, as Van Persie deserves so much to be recognised as the best player in England right now (even if he appears to have got his suit off Trigger from Only Fools And Horses).