Manchester United’s End of Season awards; a joyous occasion
At the end of the glitzy end-of-season gala at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, you got the feeling that Manchester United’s players, beaming with child-like excitement and perhaps with added relief that this campaign is nearing an end, would reflect on a job well done. Yes, they’ve hardly played “flamboyantly”, to quote Ryan Giggs, but as the Welshman said; “…it doesn’t bother us.”
Bothered they are certainly not. They still do have one more game of real significance to contest (it isn’t Blackpool, sorry Ian) this season but the prize-giving was not at all untimely; and the recipients of the glittering awards fully deserved the chunk of silverware they left with acting as the perfect recognition for all their efforts. Furthermore, the event went smoothly and without a ruckus for the morning papers to discuss.
It was an evening of positive reflection of the season gone by, with Nani, who else, scooping the biggest prize of all. And he did deserve it; while Nemanja Vidic has somehow done the impossible and improved his game further by the apparent power of the captain’s armband, it shouldn’t be debated of who deserved what. In fact, there are a few others, Javier Hernandez and Edwin van der Sar for example, who, had they won it, there should simply be no objections.
It was quite brave of Wayne Rooney to admit he had voted for Van der Sar considering the winner himself was sat next to him; obviously oblivious to the tanned six pack of the fella. Mind you, Rooney can do some serious damage of his own. He didn’t leave empty handed, anyway; that goal against City good enough to win Goal of the Season. Ryan Tunnicliffe won the Jimmy Murphy Young Player award; bless his little cotton socks. But, without doubt, it was Nani who left with the biggest grin.
There are many things that make Nani a worthy Player of the Year (remember, his own teammates voted on this). His selfishness, a trait of his, if you can call it that, which irritates even the more reserved fan has perhaps helped him to hit heights unimagined 18 months ago. Much has been spoken of how the Portuguese winger has finally emerged from Ronaldo’s shadow and so it has showed; goals and assists, though not as entirely crucial as observers like to think, have come in abundance and gives a good indication of how effective Nani has been this season. He has become more tactically aware (hallelujah) and when he isn’t sprawling on the ground clutching his eyelash, he has started to help out defensively, too.
Of course, this title triumph was not done on his doings alone, but Nani can open up a bottle of bubbly and look back on this season with fondness. Not until after the Barcelona game, because that would be unwise. Obviously. Then, he can drink all he wants. But not too much. Obviously.
Then there’s Javier Hernandez. The winner according to the people who know best (in this case, not Chuck Norris); the fans. So much has been said that writing about him would simply be too cliche, and seeing as I’ve already done a monotonous paragraph or two on Nani, I won’t approach that territory. However, I’d say this; Hernandez is no poacher. Sure, he scores goals that other prolific forwards such as Harry Redknapp’s missus can probably score, but he offers much more than the conventional goalscorer. His movement compliments his pace and awareness, finding spaces that not even foreign squatters would dream of and still dropping deep whenever required.
Judging by his acceptance speech, where he did thank his parents (thanks for asking), he seemed almost miffed at his own selection and perhaps the fact that his goal tally had a ‘2’ in front of the nought; ‘I dreamt about playing for Manchester United and thought perhaps in my first season I’d play for the Reserves with maybe a few minutes in the first team.’ He also won the Jimmy Murphy award for humbleness, coincidentally.