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The PFA Awards - what a night! - 16/04/2002

   John Beresford
   Robert Pires
   Craig Bellamy

As the game has moved, and before SKY had regular Sunday and Monday matches, the PFA Awards were one hell of a night out. It was a rare occasion where footballers from all over the country got together and let their hair down.

As a youngster playing for Barnsley I remember travelling down to London and four of us crashing in a twin hotel room. We used to take the mattresses off the base of the beds so we could all get half a bed to sleep on. As the money situation improved, I could then afford a little more comfort, and each year there was a story to tell! I remember Barry Venison having such a skin-full that he couldn’t even remember the Award ceremony itself! David Burrows springs to mind, we were all in Covent Garden and the Liverpool boys were into the drinking games. This particular game was called ‘Jack’, and with Dean Saunders dealing the pack, he stitched up David Burrows time and time again! He drunk all sorts of stuff and you can imagine the result!! Lets just say he never made the hotel.

For me, my Player of the Year is Robert Pires. He didn’t start his Arsenal career so well, but this season he has been awesome. He’s given Arsenal another option and supplied so many goals in addition to one’s he scored himself. As for the Young Player, there’s no doubt that Craig Bellamy deserved it. There were so many doubters at the beginning of the season, and I have to hold my hands up and say I was one! But he’s gone from strength to strength and his pace has had defences on the back foot. It’s just a shame that both of these players have had wonderful season’s tarnished with injury.

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