All in the Game: Liverpool’s joy not shared universally
Jordan Henderson lifted the Premier League trophy and was named player of the year
A new mural of Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson holding the Premier League trophy, not all fans though felt he was deserving of his player of the year award though. File photograph: Getty Images
It would be accurate to say that the Football Writers Association’s choice of Jordan Henderson as their player of the year wasn’t met with universal approval, indeed if you had a Euro for every response along the lines of ‘HE’S NOT EVEN THE 10TH BEST PLAYER AT LIVERPOOL!!!!!!!!’, you’d be richer than Elon Musk.
Manchester City legend Franny Lee was especially peeved that a certain Belgian chap only finished second in the poll. “I can’t believe that Kevin de Bruyne has not won the Footballer of the Year Award,” he said. “It should now be discontinued because its meaning is nonsensical.”
That, though, was one of the less ridiculed aspects of the vote. In all, 15 players were nominated by football writers and while there were no arguments about the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold getting a mention, five names in particular had some folk blinking uncontrollably when they saw the list. They would have been Aaron Wan-Bissaka (!), Adama Traore (!), Jack Grealish (!), James Maddison (!) and . . .
. . . as tweeter Nikolas Heyes put it, “who does Johnny Evans’ mum write for?”. Harsh.
Quote of the week
“Speaking in his role as ambassador for American Pistachio Growers, Lingard said: “Jadon is a brilliant player . . . ”. As Football 365 said of this line in a Sun interview with Jesse last week, “the greatest of all sentences’. True.
Number’s game: 12
That’s how many Liverpool players have now won the Football Writers’ Player of the Year award - Ian Callaghan, Kevin Keegan, Emlyn Hughes, Kenny Dalglish (twice), Terry McDermott, Ian Rush, John Barnes (twice), Steve Nicol, Steven Gerrard, Luis Suárez, Mo Salah and Jordan Henderson.
Word of mouth
“I’d put a suit on and cut my hair. I can’t be a coach with this hair, nobody’s going to respect me.” Arsenal’s David Luiz on his plans to visit a barber before starting his coaching career.
“When he found out that my father was 35-years-old, he didn’t believe it. He then told me I should respect him as he was old enough to be my father. Since then he always calls me son and I call him dad.” Rodrygo (19) on making his Real Madrid team-mate Luka Modric (34) feel decidedly ancient.
“I’m the champion of the last five matches!” Jose Mourinho on Spurs picking up four wins and a draw from their games against Everton, Bournemouth, Arsenal, Newcastle and Leicester, the highest points haul of any team during the same period. He’ll probably expect a trophy too.
“We want them to express their talents, we want them to take risks, we want them to play with . . . a pair of plums, to put it that way.” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on what he wants from the likes of Mason Greenwood. And no, the pair of plums aren’t his attacking partners Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
Jude and Jay
The Least Appreciated Well-Meaning Gesture By A Football Club Last Week: We’ll go with the scorn showered on poor old Birmingham City after they announced they were retiring the shirt number of 17-year-old Jude Bellingham after he was sold to Borussia Dortmund for €25 million.
“In such a remarkably short space of time Jude has become an iconic figure at the Blues,” said the club. “The 22 shirt has become synonymous with Jude, his rise to the first team aged just 16 years and 38 days and these qualities. And as such the club have decided it would be fitting to retire this number, to remember one of our own and to inspire others.”
A whole bunch of meanies were quick to point out that Bellingham had made a total of just 44 appearances for the club so the decision to retire his shirt number was, well, mortifying, it being an honour more commonly bestowed on legends like Pele, Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Bobby Moore, Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini.
Although, as Lee Acaster noted, “legend is thrown about too lightly, but to be fair, this lad has served the club for an unprecedented one seasons”.
The least impressed Birmingham fan? That would be a chap called Jay, a season ticket holder who had endured a campaign that saw Birmingham finish fifth from bottom of the Championship, just two points clear of relegation. “Can you retire my seat cus I ent ****ing coming back either,” he said.
Once a Red Devil . . .
The Least Gracious Response By A Manchester United Fan To Liverpool Collecting The Premier League Trophy Last Week: We had around 25 million choices here, but in the end the award went to the fella who, along with a photo of himself as a kid with the trophy, tweeted:
“Tonight I’ll remember, I have touched this trophy, Steven Gerrard hasn’t . . . we’ll be back next year.”
Oooh. How much does he dislike Liverpool? Quite a bit. Back in December he tweeted Gary Neville to ask “is it a coincidence the first year VAR is introduced, Liverpool win the league? We all know that Liverpool winning the PL is high up on the FA’s agenda, it has been ever since Man United have dominated English football”.
Who is he? Liam Irwin. You might have heard of his Da. Denis. Once a Red . . .