Parker takes prestigious prize
Scott Parker has been awarded the prestigious Footballer of the Year award for 2011 by the Football Writers' Association, becoming only the second West Ham player to be honoured after the great Bobby Moore.
Parker took the award ahead of Tottenham star Gareth Bale, who last week was named as the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year, and will receive his award at a dinner at the Lancaster London Hotel on May 12.
The award is recognition for the excellent form that Parker has displayed despite playing for a team in West Ham that has battled against relegation all season. The midfielder has also enjoyed a resurgence in his international prospects with England of late.
Parker's achievement in securing the award, first won by Stanley Matthews in 1948, is made all the greater by the fact that he is the first player from outside the traditional big four to be recognised since Tottenham's David Ginola was named Footballer of the Year in 1999.
West Ham's only previous winner was former England captain and World Cup winner Moore, who took the award in 1964.
FWA chairman Steve Bates, chief football writer at The People said: "Scott Parker has been so consistent this season with his performances in a West Ham team battling for Barclays Premier League survival and as such has forced himself back into the England national set-up.
"He has been an inspirational figure for the Irons and hopefully his professionalism will be rewarded with West Ham staying up at the end of the season.
"In what was one of the tightest votes of recent seasons, Scott is certainly a worthy winner and follows in the footsteps of a long line of superb footballers who have been given this prestigious honour."
Parker, currently suffering from an Achilles injury, is having a series of injections to try and speed up his recovery given that West Ham are fully embroiled in a relegation battle.
However, the club have failed to convince the FA that they are able to mount a compensation claim over the injury. Parker played after returning from international duty with England so the FA is refusing to pay Parker's wages while he is sidelined with his club.
West Ham manager Avram Grant believes Parker is a worthy winner and feels the acknowledgement is positive for football as a whole.
"You know I think he deserves it,'' he said. "It is good for him, it is good for football. Not every time you need to choose players from the top teams. Everybody is interested in the top teams but he did a lot for the team, a lot for football.
"He was also good in the games he played for the national team, but for us he's not just a good footballer but a good person. I think today everybody who is involved in football and is watching all over can see it is good to be a good footballer but it is important to be a positive person.
"And he is the second man from West Ham to win the award after Bobby Moore, which says something. Bobby Moore was one of the greatest ever.''
His performances this season have led to reports numerous clubs are after his services in the summer, but Grant remains confident Parker will stay at Upton Park.
"Until the summer we have a very long time but I am very positive that Scott will stay because he knows what the future of the club is,'' he said. "He knows we are going to try and do things better to moved forward and he is a big part of it so I think he will stay."