Southern Bias or Northern Insecurity

Scott Parker

AUTHOR: – The Mancunian Red (Guest Blogger)

In a recent debate with Lee Clayton, I called his decision to support Scott Parker for Football Writers’ Player Of The Year as a demonstration of bias rather than a meaningful reasoned and thought out decision. It is difficult to put over a reasoned argument over twitter so I would like to thank the excellent Stretford-End website for allowing me to put over my argument!


I have nothing against Scott Parker he has had a very good season, however I cannot see the arguments which support the case to demonstrate he is the best and most important premiership player of the season.

Firstly by its very nature the role of defensive midfield player is limited, he isn’t going to change or win WHU that many points. The truth is certain positions are not going to change games as much as others. I would want the winner of the best player award to be instrumental in effecting the outcome of numerous games, especially the important ones.

Secondly, when you play for a team challenging for as major trophy the pressure is on every game and when teams come to you it is like their cup final. Even poor sides suddenly become tigers, chasing every ball that is not the case when you play for a WHU side fighting relegation. Moreover you can get away with inconstancy because you are not expected to win every game. Parker has had a good season but there are plenty of Northern and Midland midfield players who have done just as well but do not have the publicity benefits of those that play for London clubs.

Has Parker really made as much impact as a Tevez, or 50 other players I could mention? Had Tevez had the impact he has had at City this season playing for WHU they would not be fighting relegation and he would have won the award and this coming from a red!

A winning mentality is something special, some players are big fish in small pools and until they can demonstrate they can cut it at the very top with the big boys and change games they shouldn’t win on a regular basis I wouldn’t put them forward as the best prem player. I’ve seen so called great players join big clubs like United and be expected to perform every week and fall apart.

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16 Responses to “Southern Bias or Northern Insecurity”

  1. Will says:

    Southern Bias, are you sure? The United side is class through out but more goes for you than against and Scott Parker has shown all of the qualities you stipulate and as for changing games and making the outcome different, West Ham would have been long gone without him. He has been collosal and stood out in a very poor side granted but he has taken every game by the scruff of the neck and done it week in and week out without the drive of challenging for major honours which is even more impressive.

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  2. Jay says:

    Isn’t he a WHU fan? Parker wouldn’t have won it had he played for Bolton, Birmingham, Boro. He probably played better for Chartlon.

    Good points well made

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  3. Egbu yugo says:

    I dont understand the saying that WHU would have been cut adrift without it.statistics & logical thinking does not support it.

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  4. Interesting argument. Think few would doubt there is southern bias amongst the press. I also think the Scott Parker bandwagon is flavour of the month right now – in the same way Bale was in December when the players voted for their award.

    I don’t think Parker’s performances should be discredited though just because of who he plays for and Fergie himself has often commented that the pressure at the bottom to get a result every week is similar to the pressure at the top to win every week. I think he’s been incredibly consistent too.

    You’re right there are other midfielders who simply haven’t go the credit they should – Nolan, David Silva, Meireles, Craig Gardner etc

    Only other point – Scott Parker definitely isn’t a pure defensive midfielder, he’s very much box-to-box. Against Spurs a few weeks ago is a great example – he was tackling them everywhere – http://bit.ly/i40Eb4 and look at his passing all over the pitch – http://bit.ly/eVeRA6 – I think Wigan is also a good example of his box to box role – http://bit.ly/g4JMxb

    Very interesting piece nonetheless. Do you feel the player of the year should come from a club towards the top of the league as opposed to the bottom then?

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  5. Lewis says:

    Is it fair under your analysis it rules out full backs and defensive midfield players and Parker has been quality this season.

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  6. Mancunian Red says:

    Comment by Lewis — April 24, 2011 @ 11:30 am

    Lewis I agree Parker has had a very good season, and yes I am saying certain positions aren’t as important as others. I think Clough once said a world class keeper referring to Shilton gave Forest an extra 10 points a season.

    It is unfair but that is why certain positions tend to win the awards more frequently and managers pay the big bucks for them, they are also harder to find.

    Parker hasn’t won many points for WHU this season while I bet City wouldn’t be in the position they are had it not been for Tevez. As I say I bet had WHU had Tevez they would not be in a relegation fight.

    I know it is going back a number of years but I know United fans did not know how good Yorke or even one of United’s greatest ever players were Bryan Robson. Moreover I heard countless saying why are we buying Valencia. Wigan and WBA are not clubs which attract media attention unlike a WHU.

    However a defensive midfield player in a poor team should never win the award in my opinion who ever he plays for. He needs to be able to change games and win games and stand out in games where teams are really wanting to beat them on a regular basis.

    Moreover I’ve seen players in all games look great but bottle it when they are put under the real pressure of trying to win something.

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  7. matt says:

    My criteria of picking player of the year go something like this (in order of importance):
    1) Was there any player who completely dominated the season? (think Ronaldo in 2007/2008, Barnes 87/88, Cantona 95/96, Messi the past three years)
    no player fits the bill this season

    2) Who is the best player on the best team? (think Lampard in 05, Thierry Henry in 04)
    United top the table, but there are perhaps 6 players who could claim to be United’s most influential (Berbatov, Nani, Hernandez, Rooney, Vidic, and Van der Sar)

    3) Which player made the biggest difference in the league table?
    As said above, United have several players who could be considered the best on the team. Chelsea don’t have any real standouts (except maybe Cech) and Arsenal also have a debate (Nasri, Van Persie, Wilshire and Fabregas are having comparable seasons). Spurs have a debate too, between Bale, VDV, and Modric.
    That brings us to City, and Carlos Tevez. Tevez is unquestionably his team’s main man (Toure, Silva and Kompany are not as consistently influential), and the league’s second leading scorer. Without him, City might be struggling to make the Europa League next year, rather than sitting in 4th. As much as I dislike the man, he’s been the most influential player in England this year.

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  8. Mancunian Red says:

    Comment by matt — April 24, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

    Matt you say Messi last 3 years but I wouldn’t have given him the award last season. He hasn’t been great for his country he did reasonable in the world cup but nothing before that. He was out of this world for Barca at club level but didn’t shine that much in the CL.

    Sneijder would have got my vote, he was brilliant for club country and in the CL. And did it by winning trophies and getting to the final of the world cup being the key player at critical times when it mattered.

    I agree there is no outstanding candidate this season but the likes of Adams of Blackpool and Brunt of WBA have probably changed more games than Parker but Tevez for me has been the best prem player.

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  9. minimal says:

    i think the most deserved player this year vidic, but of course some people look it the other way round just because its manchester united, these two awrds(bale and parker)is a complete irelevant to reality – pure southern nonsense – this year was tones of players who who deserved more than them (especially bale)

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  10. Daniel says:

    havent northern players won award for last 5 years

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  11. Hammersfan says:

    Spot on. The award should have gone to Nolan. His 12 goals and 7 assists have kept Newcastle up!

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  12. Mancunian Red says:

    Comment by Daniel — April 24, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

    Its not a question about north or south as much as the factors I’ve tried to address. I mean I wouldn’t have complained had Lampard won it a couple of times because I think he has been critical to Chelsea winning trophies as was the goalkeeper before the head injury.

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  13. LiamH says:

    I was hoping to see Lee Clayton’s response, you put over an impressive argument. I would be interested in his reasons for voting for Parker before I state my agreement with you though.

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  14. Ian says:

    It’s not bias that’s got Parker the award, he’s just the darling of the football writers at the moment. And that’s who wins.

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  15. matt says:

    @ mancunian red

    I only used Messi as an example, but I think my argument still holds (the three seasons being 08/09, 09/10, and the current season)
    Messi was brilliant in the Champions League last season, and finished as the top scorer. In the league, he carried his team to the title. With Barca’s other main attackers (Ibra, Henry, and Iniesta) all injured or out of form, Messi was the only source of goals, and he consistently delivered. With his country, he was the main/only source of creativity on a team that scored goals for fun in their first four games. Argentina lost because of imbalanced tactics, not because of Messi.

    Just to clarify my methodology, the first criteria isn’t as dependent on trophies as it is on individual moments of magic. Think about it this way. In 08, pretend United lose to Chelsea in Moscow and also fail to win the League. Ronaldo no longer meets characteristic 2, because United aren’t the best team. However, his consistent moments of amazing ability mean that he still would have deserved the trophy under characteristic 1. Even if United had gone trophyless in 08, I would have voted for Ronaldo for player of the year. Likewise, even though Messi didn’t win the two biggest team trophies last season, I would still have voted for him.

    The best argument for Sneijder is the second, that he was the best player on the best team. However, that argument has some flaws, especially since Holland didn’t win the World Cup. With Sneijder, you could argue that Inter’s key player was actually Diego Milito (or Cambiasso, or any member of their defense for that matter) and that Robben was Holland’s best player. For me, Sneijder didn’t stand out as a dominating player, except for his destruction of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

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  16. Mancunian Red says:

    Comment by matt — April 25, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

    Sneijder won the CL and his own prem and got to the final of the world cup in which he was instrumental in whatever competition or he played.

    No one player is going to be the only difference, he is going to have bad games and ordinary games however the best player in the world is going to make a big difference and is going to be consistent and win trophies, he doesn’t have to win them all but he does need to perform when the pressures on and produce.

    Moreover I hate it when players are rated but people make excuses for them, the reason Ronaldo, Messi didn’t perform for two season s for their country was X opr Y or the reason Cantona was poor in the CL for United was due to the European regulation on none English players.

    The best argument for Sneijder is he produced in every competition he played won two and got to the final of the other. He was consistent, he was the main player for club and country, I( do not need to make excuses why he didn’t perform. He produced when it mattered on many occasions.

    Being the best team isn’t that critical although Maradona wins it because he turned an average Argentina in to World Cup Winners. I don’t think there is one criteria for judging, what I do believe is that the reasons you are voting for player X have been thought through and taken to a conclusion.

    I disagree with your thoughts as I think Sneijder for the reasons I give and and I don’t like making excuses for players ie Messi.

    I agree Sneijder had games where he wasn’t the stand out player and he was average but I’ve never seen any player be consistently very good every game.

    PS I think Messi will probably go on to be the greatest ever

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