Manchester United will not host their annual Player of the Season awards ceremony this year – after the club’s underperforming stars reportedly told staff they weren’t comfortable about attending.
A regular end-of-season fixture at Old Trafford before COVID restrictions saw it halted over the last two years, the glitzy black-tie event recognises the efforts of players at both senior and youth levels over the past year.
However, while United’s FA Youth Cup-winning youngsters absolutely deserve their moment in the spotlight, the same can’t be said for the club’s first-team.
A certain Cristiano Ronaldo aside, few in the Red Devils’ senior squad have delivered on a consistent basis this term – resulting in the club’s worst Premier League campaign on record.
United are already guaranteed to finish with their lowest points total in the Premier League era, having conceded their highest number of goals ever in the competition.
The prospect of Champions League football in 22/23 disappeared weeks ago – and United still need to defeat Crystal Palace on the final day of the season to guarantee a Europa League spot next term.
After a campaign so poor that it has broken records, it’s no surprise that the club’s big names didn’t exactly fancy being centre of attention at a glamourous awards dinner.
According to a report from The Mirror, senior players were “said to have felt awkward about staging the do, which is why club bosses decided not to go ahead with it.”
That the event was scheduled to be broadcast on United’s own MUTV station likely added to the awkwardness of the situation.
Can you name these 15 obscure former Manchester United players from the 1990s?
In the absence of a formal function, United are believed to be planning an online vote for a number of the awards, which will then be presented behind closed doors.
Particularly in the case of the United first-team, it’s a struggle to come up with too many candidates for the Player of the Year prize.
You have to feel for United’s youth team, though. Recognition of their first major trophy in 11 years cancelled because of the failures of the stars they are supposed to look up to. Presumably, alternative arrangements will be made to celebrate their accomplishment.
After such a disappointing season, many at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ are understandably keen to move on to planning for the future under new boss Erik ten Hag, rather than reflecting on the past.
Surely the only way is up for United?
Mbappe to stay at PSG! (Reaction via The Football Terrace)