Why is van Dijk PoY?

Published: Monday, 29 April 2019

In April 1860 the Pony Express, in operation for only 18 months, set a new record of travelling the 1800 miles from St. Joseph Missouri, to Sacramento California, in just 10 days. This was ground-breaking stuff.

I got to wondering this week if the PFA still collect votes for their Player of the Year nominations the same way? I couldn’t think of another sensible reason why - in the age of the interweb thingy and many other modern communication methods - they announce their man/woman two weeks before the end of the season.

The PFA say they need time to ‘collect the votes’. Are they serious? Time to collect votes....? I’m writing this blog - and you’ll be reading it less than 10 seconds after I publish. Time to collect votes....? This is hilarious. The night the season ends everybody with a vote should hit a button with their decision. Technology would give us a decision almost immediately. What kind of world do the PFA live in? Have they even got phones and electrickery at their HQ?

Virgil van Dijk has had a fabulous season - but we don’t know yet if he’ll be topping it off with one, two or no medals at all. What if Raheem Sterling steers City over the line with two hat-tricks on the next two weekends? And I have to say, as good as Van Dijk has been so has Aymeric Laporte at the heart of City’s defence. I don’t understand how the PFA can make their awards before the season has ended. And as for Paul Pogba in the PL team of the year? Most United fans wouldn’t even have him in their team. It’s nonsense. Absolute nonsense. If the PFA really are undergoing ‘root and branch’ change - then this is one area that they need to sort out before next season.

In the same spirit I tweeted my Manager of the Year over the weekend. I wondered what reaction I’d get. It’s too early to decide of course, but I do genuinely think Chris Wilder has to be a contender. What a job he’s done at Bramall Lane. And not just there. He took Northampton out of League 2 with 100 points plus. He got The Blades out of League 1 touching that same number. And now he’s landed PL football - on a budget of nearly nothing.

Daniel Farke deserves a special mention. He’s done a brilliant job at Norwich. And for going from zero to hero Marcelo Bielsa should always have a special place in the history of our game - no matter what happens to Leeds now. What a fantastic gesture he made at the weekend. There was no need to do it. Leeds hadn’t done anything wrong. There’s nothing in the laws of the game says you have to put the ball out if a player is injured. Nothing. But watching I felt the reputation of Bielsa’a club was on the line in that fractious 60 seconds. His decision was honourable - but I have to ask - if Leeds had been just two points behind Sheffield United would Bielsa have made the same decision? It could’ve been a £100m call and I’m not sure the money-men at Leeds would’ve been too happy about that! Anyway - let’s just revel in one of the game’s greatest acts of sportsmanship - ever.

So back to the Manager of the Year. It would be impossible to deny Guardiola that accolade if he ends up with three trophies. Impossible to deny Klopp if he won the League and maybe CL. But right now we just don’t know do we?

What if Neil Warnock keeps Cardiff up? It’s unlikely I know - but it would be an extra-ordinary achievement.

Every time I mention Sol Campbell I get hammered. Why? What a wonderful job he’s done at Macclesfield. It’s not yet complete - and if he gets over the line it will adversely affect Notts County - a fine club - but Campbell has nearly completed his great escape act.

The Cowley brothers have to get a mention. Lincoln have been on fire. Justin Edinburgh has got every Londoners second favourite club - Leyton Orient - back in the league. And have a look at who finished second in the National League - Solihull Moors - managed by Tim Flowers. It’s incredible what Tim
has done there. They were bottom
of that league when he took over. They and Orient resisted big spending Salford. And we like it when the big boys get a bloody nose don’t we?

I’ve got to give Mark Robins a mention. In an absolute madhouse of an atmosphere, he’s twice taken Coventry to Wembley in recent seasons - got promoted from League 2 and missed out on a League 1 play-off place by a whisker.

I’m so happy about these ‘British’ achievements. Not because I don’t like foreign coaches. That allegation is churlish, but sits with a whole lot more ill-informed nonsense that the keyboard cowards chuck in my direction. I revel in these successes because there HAS to be a place for our boys further up the pyramid. We all need targets. We all need reward. There’s no such thing as a secret foreign coaching manual. Our guys are good and we should back them.

What about Sean Dyche? His Burnley were on 12 pts after 19 games at Christmas. No wonder he was laughing as Guardiola put on his fourth centre-back at Turf Moor and was screaming for City to get the ball in the corners. Perhaps he’s learned something from our boys? 😂😂.

Meanwhile Rafa has performed his pre-season prediction that he would ‘need a miracle’ to keep Newcastle up. Now he wants another £400m to compete with the teams that challenge for 10th-7th. Teams like Bournemouth, Southampton, Watford, Burnley, Swansea, Stoke, Palace, West Ham and West Brom - to name but a few - all of whom have finished 10th or better in recent seasons.

Alan Pardew had The Toon 5th, admittedly playing what was described as ‘turgid football’ by the Newcastle Chronicle - before a 16th place finish the following season (alongside a Europa League challenge) and a 10th place finish the season after that. And I’m pretty sure Mike Ashley owned the club back then as well!  Ah well - back in the saddle....