Ryan Giggs is a sensational player and has been an incredible servant to Manchester United for nearly 20 years as a 1st team player. He lets his feet do the talking on the pitch and he rarely puts a foot wrong in his life away from the game. However, he should not be the PFA Player of the Year. This is nothing against Giggs but rather the antiquated voting system used by the PFA. Surely in this electronic age, a new arrangement could be employed where members vote on a near season long campaign as opposed to just a few months of performance as they do now. How were they to know, for instance, that even in late April, Giggs would have only started a dozen or so Premier League games. That’s just not enough to win this particular accolade. Perhaps Gordon Taylor, the UK’s highest paid union official, should drag his organisation out of the dark ages and insist upon a more contemporary voting scheme. Perhaps he could use that fancy, new fangled, computer thingy called…..email. Or is the only electronic message he cares about the one that tells him that his enormous monthly pay-check has been deposited in the Taylor bank account?
Like Giggs, Dani Alves, on his day, is magnificent. A Nike poster-boy, he was sensational in the second half for Barcelona versus Chelsea in the Champions League. Flying up and down the flank, creating the extra man, whipping in crosses and free kicks. A shame then that in the first half, he spent most of the time writhing around on the floor in pretend agony. Alves twice went down after being touched with the force which wouldn’t have troubled an asthmatic butterfly and when Chelsea had the temerity to take the ball of him, he hit the deck as if he’d been gang-tackled by a herd of charging elephants. But my favourite moment came late in to stoppage time at the end of the game when, having been legitimately tackled he buckled as if having been shot by a sniper in the upper tier, only to bounce back up again 5 seconds later when Barca regained the ball. As one of my mates girlfriends said last night: “Do you know, Dani can be a girls name too.” Exactly.
For their FA Cup semi final against Manchester United, Everton sold over 32,000 tickets. For the final, the FA has allocated the club 25,000 tickets. With Chelsea receiving a similar number, it means around 40,000 tickets will go to what the FA likes to call the ‘football family’. How on earth can the FA justify giving out less tickets for a final than a semi final? Oh sure, they’ve got VIP’s, friends, politicians and other football officials to invite but 40,000. Come on. In reality, it means the ‘true’ Everton and Chelsea fans will be forced to pay over the odds from some dodgy kerb side character while other people, who never watch a game from one year to the next, get in free via the FA’s back door. Scandalous.
Let’s hope that whoever turns up to watch the FA Cup final gets a spectacle to remember on a pitch that doesn’t resemble, as it was famously described as last week, a pudding. After the Wenger / Ferguson pincer movement following the FA Cup semi finals, the FA has decided to lay a new pitch. Amazingly, this will be number 7. Or it might be 8. I’ve lost count to be honest. Only in the UK could you build an £800 million stadium for sporting events and forget that the most important things in it are not the VIP seats, the toilets or the free U2 concert tickets, but those pesky blades of grass. So now the groundsman, who came late to the project, has been sacked while the company that has overseen the installation of the previous 7 failed pitches remains. With thinking like that, do you get the feeling that the problem isn’t going to go away?