2009 PFA Awards: When Statistics Lost To Sentiment

Ramkumar SCorrespondent IApril 27, 2009

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 11:  Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United is congratulated by team mate Ryan Giggs (R) after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on January 11, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

How does a player who has started 27 games, scored four times, and has only 14 assists win the PFA award ?

The Professional Footballers Association Players Player of the Year award is given annually to the player who is judged, by their piers, to have been the best player of the season.

Often described as an award for the pinnacle of achievement, the PFA award has been received by many big names in football like Thierry Henry, Eric Cantona, Kenny Daglish, Dennis Bergkamp and the likes for their outstanding contribution to the team for that respective season.

Ryan Giggs has been an excellent footballer who has given his very best to Manchester United and has been with the team long enough to be considered a legend in his own right. He has been with the United team through their victories, successes and near misses. His passion, skill and leadership quality cannot be doubted and it is surprising that the veteran Giggs has only two personal awards to his name—the PFA Young Player award for the years 1992 and 1993.

He was worthy of a PFA award somewhere during the peak of his career when he was one of the pillars of the all conquering Manchester United. Sadly, he was overlooked and never won the award, till now.

2009 saw five United players—along with Liverpool's Steven Gerrard—compete for the PFA award. Nermanja Vidic deserves a noteworthy mention as he was the bedrock of an impressive United team that had an unprecedented run of clean sheets.

Steven Gerrard had led Liverpool to many unprecedented victories and Cristiano Ronaldo was the top scorer for United, despite all the drama that surrounded him. The three popular choices were pipped and it was Ryan Giggs who undeservedly won.

Undeservedly may be a harsh word, but what can you say about an award that has overlooked the contenders who had contributed more to their teams that season than Giggs?

Sentiments should play no part in deciding the winner and if an award must be given, then a lifetime achievement award is more worthy than player of the season.

The number of clean sheets that were kept by Vidic, the number of goals scored by Ronaldo helped Manchester United reach the top more than the number of appearances by Ryan Giggs.

Statics may not tell the tale, but they definitely tell the results and a look at the statistics of each of the contenders for the award brings us back to the question: How does a player who has started 27 games, scored four times and has only 14 assists win the PFA award ?