AH the PFA awards.
Once a great night out where a footballer could wine and dine under the chandeliers of the Grosvenor House hotel…
…and take his pick from one – or maybe two – of the hundreds of ladies that were waiting outside hoping to catch the eye of a superstar.
Apologies if that upsets you, but that’s how it was.
It used to be a bloody brilliant night where clubs booked tables for their players who in turn swapped stories from the season with adversaries long in to the night.
Then the paparazzi found out and completely ruined it for everyone.
These days no self respecting Premier League footballer would be caught dead at the PFA awards, even if they are named in the PFA Team of the Year, unless their club insists they make the effort for some much needed PR.
I could write a fairly epic book based solely on my experiences of the PFA awards and I’m pretty sure it would be the first book to attract an 18 certificate
Today the awards are the reserve of lower league players who attend en masse, and there is nothing wrong with that.
After all, I’ve worn those boots, but the awards are not what they were.
I could write a fairly epic book based solely on my experiences of the PFA awards and I’m pretty sure it would be the first book to attract an 18 certificate.
I’d also lose an awful lot of friends in the process.
It used to be a badge of honour to make it into a PFA Team of the Year which is based on the league a player is plying his trade.
The team is chosen by fellow players of all teams and rather naively I used to put a fair amount of stock in the outcome for that very reason.
The way it works is that once a year a PFA representative will visit the training ground and hand out a card with eleven spaces that each professional player fills in with his choices.
Then we choose an outright Player of the Year and a young player of the year before signing the opposite page and handing the card back.
Nobody ever has any idea what age constitutes a young player so for years we all just wrote, “Hazard”.
The whole debacle is usually done after training and over lunch when everybody is knackered and can’t be a***d to do anything else other than eat and go home.
I’m fairly cynical about football as you may have noticed but I promise you that most players feel that being included in the PFA Team of the Year is like being Pete Best in The Beatles.
Sure you were in The Beatles, but nobody cares and fewer still can remember.
To prove the point I once had a season playing for Cambridge United where I scored 25 goals.
I think I got in to the PFA Team of the Year but I can’t remember.
I’ve never bothered to look it up because for one thing I don’t care, and for another it doesn’t actually mean anything.
I understand there is a medal of sorts too, but I’ve never seen it and I don’t know what it looks like.
I can’t say that I lose sleep over it.
AND THE AWARD GOES TO…
On the face of it the process of choosing an elite team should be fairly simple and potential candidates are often pretty obvious.
Here’s the reality:
“How do you spell Alderweireld?”
“What have you put?”
“F*** it, Stones will do”.
I promise you I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
What I’ve written above is pretty much a word for word account of something I’ve seen that is played out with various names at every professional club up and down the country every single season.
How else do you think Paul Pogba gets in to the team of the year?
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