Filed: Saturday, 23rd April 2011
By: Paul Walker
Anybody who has witnessed Scott Parker carrying West Ham this season, and the way he has forced himself back into the England side, knows the Footballer of the Year award is fully merited.
To achieve such recognition when your club has been in the relegation zone all season maybe suggests that football writers who vote for this award do know what they are talking about!
The PFA had chosen Gareth Bale for their award, a brilliant youngster but one who has had a decent six months in a Champions League side and until recently was being bad-mouthed back stage at Spurs and being offered around as a potential transfer target.
Bale is one for the future, but Parker has shown in his dedication to his profession and a desire for personal quality while all around him colleagues are falling short, is worthy of the highest praise.
But even his immense contribution to the cause and constant top level displays, has not been enough to drag the Irons out of the mire.
And that, above everything else, should be an embarrassment for the rest of the Hammers squad. That Parker can achieve this award in such a poor side says much for his character and desire.
Frankly, I hope the rest of the side hang their collective heads in shame. If they had come even half way to being as good as Parker has been, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
What does Matthew Upson think? He’s our captain but many fans up and down the country believe Parker is.
I rarely see leadership and inspiration from Upson, who seems to be trying to prove the old film title ’White Men Can’t Jump’ is accurate. Everyone knows he is letting his contract come to an end and will be off in the summer, under those obvious circumstances he should not have continued as captain.
Robert Green has recovered from his England horrors in the World Cup to perform consistently well. Mark Noble has given blood and guts for the cause and despite the stick he gets, Carlton Cole clearly cares and tries his best.
But what about the rest? Danny Gabbidon has resorted to swearing at fans on Twitter, Victor Obinna obviously wants out and a nice move back to Italy, Benni McCarthy has gone with a couple of million in his pocket and Kieron Dyer is injured yet again.
Jonathan Spector and Lars Jacobsen have done their best while Frederic Piquionne has also contributed. But Parker’s efforts dwarf them all.
You can almost feel his bloody-minded refusal to be dragged down by the rest. He has decided that his own displays and professionalism cannot be questioned regardless of what is going on all around him.
And it is this leadership and high level of performance that has impressed the Football Writers’ Association - for once my vote was actually for the winner. The scribes can see just how good Parker is in a poor side.
His efforts have rightly won himself a place back in the England side. His display as a holding midfielder in Cardiff against Wales was outstanding. For once he could concentrate on one job, winning possession, giving the ball to a colleague and anticipating danger.
He barely broke sweat in the Millennium stadium, so easy was his job compared to his all-action, I have to do everything, approach for the Irons.
The award, though, means almost certainly that he won’t be with us next season, relegated or not. None of the big earners will stay if we go down, but Parker’s value has increased by the month and you would not bet on the Davids accepting the money in the summer, come what may.
So we must make the most of the final few games - Parker will probably play in only three, just two at the Boleyn - to hail a true Hammers legend to stand alongside the very best. Thanks for everything Scott, despite personal tragedy, you have always done us proud.
Sadly, Gary O’Neil is out for the season, and a lot longer if the Daily Telegraph story is correct. Our club website was being positive about the midfielder’s recovery from an ankle injury, but it’s certain O’Neil won’t be around for six months.
The injury came from a dreadful tackle from Nigel Reo-Coker in the defeat by Aston Villa. At the time it looked bad, and somehow referee Mark Halsey - who was very close - did not even punish the tackle.
Seeing it later on TV, it was a really bad one and should have been a red card because both of our former skipper’s feet were off the ground.
O’Neil has done well in my eyes. He competes, tracks back, helps his full back and works hard. Which is more than some I could mention.
Maybe if more followed Scott’s example things would be a little better than they are. But I’m not holding my breath.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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