WIGAN Athletic defender Maynor Figueroa won Match Of The Day’s Goal of the Season award for 2009/10. I mention it now because it was only revealed last night, more than four months after last season ended.
At least Gary Lineker was honest. “And a little late, possibly because we forgot all about it, the Goal of the Season winner was Figueroa with his brilliant long-range effort at Stoke,” he said.
Forgot all about it?! This would never have happened during the Des Lynam era, I tell you.
Then again, the MOTD Goal of the Month/Season competition is in a bad way these days. There was a time when you’d get Le Tissier, Klinsmann, Cantona and Shearer banging in goals from impossible angles while The Life Of Riley trilled along in the background, occasionally accompanied by hilarious dubbed-on-after-the-event commentary. (“He’ll never score from there. Oh, he has! I can hardly believe it! That’s a goal of the season contender!”)
Then Lynam would urge us to call some 0898 premium rate line, chipping in with a witticism or two – “and if a lady called Mandy answers, you’ve got the wrong number” – and promising us two tickets to a Premier League game of our choice (Swindon v Coventry please, Des).
If Lynam couldn’t be bothered presenting that week’s show, Ray Stubbs would slip uncomfortably into the chair, grimace at the autocue and just wish us the very best of luck instead (Wimbledon v Oldham please, Ray).
But now, there’s not even a competition involved. When the Goal of the Month montage pops up these days, Lineker is compelled to remind us of this, adding: “Please don’t phone or text.”
I can’t help but feel this is a belt and braces approach from Lineker, given that there are no numbers on the screen to phone or text anyway. Perhaps he’s worried that we’ll be so keen to register our vote that we’ll phone any old number.
“Hello, emergency services. Do you require police, fire or ambulance?”
“Goal C: Theo Walcott!”
The competition element was put on the back burner during all those investigations into alleged phone vote and competition rigging a few years back. And I for one was devastated when I discovered that a competition to name the new Blue Peter cat in 2007 had been fixed. (Although not as devastated as the Daily Mail, who ran a magnificently furious article about it.)
But I was under the impression that had all been sorted out now, that the relevant checks and balances had been put in place and that the British public could safely go about coming up with names for Blue Peter pets without any fear.
Goal of the Month/Season, however, remains a vote-free zone. And it really does seem that no one cares any more. I have to admit that, until Lineker mentioned it last night, I hadn’t noticed that last season’s winner hadn’t been announced.
I’d not seen protests on the streets, campaigns on Facebook or angry letters to the Daily Telegraph demanding the BBC reveal which lucky player had claimed the Goal of the Season trophy.
Indeed, I’m not even sure there is a trophy any more. Perhaps it will be some battered old tinpot thing found at the back of a cupboard in the BBC props department.
I hope there is a trophy. Because surely Figueroa deserves something for scoring from his own half.
Last night’s final match: Birmingham 0 Wigan 0
Commentator: John Roder
A trophy presentation to Figueroa might have livened up a goalless draw at St Andrew’s memorable largely for Birmingham midfielder Craig Gardner’s sending off and a bit of booing directed at Charles N’Zogbia.
Wigan striker N’Zogbia was on the verge of joining Birmingham in the summer, only for the move to fall through when he apparently asked for an extra £10,000 a week.
(Footballers, as everyone knows, are paid by the week. And while most of us get our salary transferred directly to our bank account, footballers get theirs in a pay packet. It’s just the way it’s always been.)
Otherwise, the main significance of the game was a statistical one. Birmingham, in drawing the match, completed a year unbeaten at home in all competitions. (And by being last on Match of the Day, they move up to joint seventh on the Gubbometer.)
That’s very impressive, but I don’t think it’s worth a trophy. And I’m sure Figueroa would agree.
1. Fulham: 2 (2L: 1, 3L: 0)
2. Wolves: 2 (2L: 0, 3L: 1)
3. Wigan: 2 (2L: 0, 3L: 0)
4. Everton: 1 (2L: 2, 3L: 0)
5. Blackburn: 1 (2L: 1, 3L: 3)
6. Sunderland: 1 (2L: 1, 3L: 0)
7=. Birmingham: 1 (2L: 0, 3L: 1)
7=. Bolton: 1 (2L: 0, 3L: 1)
9. Newcastle: 1 (2L: 0, 3L: 0)
10. Stoke: 0 (2L: 2, 3L: 1)
11. West Brom: 0 (2L: 2, 3L: 0)
12. West Ham: 0 (2L: 1, 3L: 1)
13=. Chelsea: 0 (2L: 1, 3L: 0)
13=. Tottenham: 0 (2L: 1, 3L: 0)
15=. Aston Villa: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 1)
15=. Blackpool: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 1)
15=. Manchester City: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 1)
15=. Manchester United: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 1)
19=. Arsenal: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 0)
19=. Liverpool: 0 (2L: 0, 3L: 0)
2L=On second last (Fulham 0 Everton 0)
3L=On third last (Blackpool 1 Blackburn 2)
(Teams are awarded one point every time they appear last on Match of the Day. Teams level on points are separated by the number of times they are on second last, then by the number of times they are on third last. Teams still level at the end of the season will be separated by the drawing of lots at a glittering ceremony in Manchester, hosted by Sepp Blatter, Tony Gubba, Ed Miliband and David Miliband, with music from Steve Miliband. Ho ho.)