More than 200,000 votes were cast, of which 168,933 went to one man,Burnley legend Graham Alexander, who has made more club appearancesthan any player in the Premier League.
He beat Craig Bellamy into second place, with 28,915 votes. And RyanGiggs into third, with 9,915. The common denominator with all three isthat, whatever you think of them, nobody could ever question that theygive 100 per cent to every game they ever play. They are what you call'commitment' players, the kind of guys who never stop running, tacklingor trying.
Vintage Claret: Alexander personifies that rare thing - the genuine, decent old-fashioned pro
I'm thrilled that Alexander won. Because he personifies the genuine,decent, professional footballer. And let's face it, if ever Burnleyfans needed something to cheer them up, then surely it is this week.
For the behaviour of their 'saviour', Alexander's boss Owen Coyle,has been utterly disgraceful. This is a man who knew he carried thehopes and dreams of a whole town with him when he took Burnley into thetop flight. He talked all the talk about how much he loved the club,the fans, the town.
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For a few pieces of mercenary silver, he has betrayed everyone withwhom he worked and everyonewho admired him. Even my old mucker,Alastair Campbell, Burnley's most famous fan, is at a loss to find agood thing to say about this appalling piece of treachery. AND I don'tblame him. What can you say about a manager who seemed to epitomise allthat is solid, reliable and loyal about the game but who turned out tobe Judas Iscariot in a claret-and-blue scarf?
Treacherous: Coyle's defection has left Piers flabbergasted
In two weeks' time, in a delicious piece of good fortune foreveryone like me who loves seeing traitors meet their victims while thecarcasses are still hanging from the crosses, Burnley play Bolton atthe Reebok. I hope the extraordinary passion that Burnley fans broughtto their voting in my awards for Alexander is matched, if not eclipsed,by their passion in howling their fury at Coyle that day. AndI sincerely hope that come the end of the season, Burnley stay up andBolton go down.
Ego has landed
I'll take you up on that: McCarthy
Mick McCarthy is still bleating about his decision to field a reserve team against Manchester United.
'Don't question my honesty, integrity and morality,' he wailed in a hilariously arrogant interview yesterday.
Then The Ego did what he does best and spoke about himself in the third person: 'I'm one of the fairest blokes to ever walk the earth,' he told us modestly.
'No one will tell you that Mick McCarthy turned the heating up or off, or put cold tea in the visitors' dressing room.' Of course they wouldn't, Mick. But then nobody is suggesting you lacked honesty, integrity or morality by doing what you did at old Trafford. You just lacked courage.
As for apologising to him, as many Wolves fans have demanded I do since I attacked McCarthy last week, I'm sorry I didn't go harder by calling for the yellow-bellied chump to be stripped naked at the next Molineux home game, tarred with feathers and chased around the pitch by real wolves.
Perhaps then he'll begin to show the courage and fighting spirit of Fulham manager Roy Hodgson, who fielded his best team against United and saw them win 3-0.
It's hairdryer time for you, Sir AlexIs there a more amusing spectacle in sport than watching Sir Alex Ferguson start to blow? The worse his team plays, and this creaking shower are churning out some of the most dreadfully mediocre performances I've ever seen from one of his Manchester United teams, the worse the old growler is behaving.
He's raging at everyone and everything but as usual failing to direct any of his bile-spewing ire at the one person who needs it most himself. Because Fergie's the one who sold Ronaldo for £80million and replaced him with players not fit to lace the world's best player's bootlaces.
Time to give yourself a hairdryer, Sir Alex. Or if you prefer, I'll pop up to Old Trafford and do it for you.
Gut reaction: Bell showed he has the stomach for the fight - and how
Bell shows he has true gritNo batsman in recent English cricket history has faced more pressure to save his career than Ian Bell.
It's no exaggeration to say that if he had failed in Durban, that might have been the last we ever saw of him in a three lions shirt. And he responded by hitting 140. Even then, he was still being
lambasted by former stars and so-called experts as a player 'who only scores runs when everyone else does'. But at Cape Town, he scored them when nobody else did in one of the greatest match-saving knocks I have ever seen.
Like Paul Collingwood, Bell rarely getsthe plaudits of Pietersen, Flintoff or Broad. But for me, the guy's notjust the best technical batsman in the side, he's now shown us he's gotguts by the bucketload, too.
As forKP, never has the phrase 'form is temporary, class is permanent' beenmore appropriate. After speaking to him on Thursday, I've had a big beton him being top scorer in Johannesburg, and winning us the series inthe process. And I suggest you do the same. He's in the mood fordestruction.
Life's not enoughFlavio Briatore orders his Grand Prix driver, Nelsinho Piquet, to crash his car deliberately, thus risking his life and potentially that of every other racer on the track.
Yet he has now had his lifetime ban from Formula One rescinded. What more does this repulsive little man need to do before he IS banned for life? Take an Uzi sub-machine gun out to the first corner in next season's opening race and mow down Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button?
Before you laugh, the end result would be the same as what might have happened with the order he gave Piquet.
To all those David Beckham fans who bombarded me with emails after his match-winning performance in AC Milan's 5-2 scintillating rout of Genoa the other night, thank you for your thoughts.
I'm far too obstinate to admit that I'm wrong about anything, so will continue to insist publicly that he is an over-the-hill donkey who shouldn't be let near the England World Cup team.
But, privately, let's just say there have been some severely uncomfortable moments of self-reflection since I watched that game. Because Beckham was brilliant.
Bellissima: Beckham dazzled at the San Siro - why did Piers ever doubt him?
As everyone else seems to be picking their world team of the Noughties decade, here is mine: Seaman, Carlos, Cannavaro, Ferdinand, Cafu, Zidane, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Makelele, Henry, Bergkamp.
I'm sure you will disagree with some of my choices but I'm equally sure that my team would beat yours.
Now have your sayYour hero, 'KP', is as big a phony as you! I've been watching Test cricket for 50 years and I have seen some great batsmen. Pietersen isn't even close to that status. A quick 40 (on a good day), a wave to his wife/girlfriend/the crowd and inside for the interviews. It's a sad indictment of the state of English Test cricket that his place is secure.
Piers says: 'Oh Robin, what a crashingly pompous little bore you are. Pietersen averages 49 in Test cricket at the moment, putting him just outside the Top 20 of all time. Making your argument the only really phony thing around here.'
Did you not think that Roberto Mancini's handshake with Tony Pulis after Saturday's match looked a bit limp and ineffectual? I believe a person's success is pre-determined by the confident and firm quality of their handshake.
Piers says: 'I couldn't agree more. Mancini's resembled a wet cod.'
MOST City fans say the sacking of Mark Hughes was disgraceful. But isn't 10 points out of 30 relegation form? Is 27 goals conceded a good return on investment, especially when Villa have conceded far fewer, with a City 'reject' playing out of his skin at the heart of their defence?
Piers says: 'Totally agree. Hughes was given squillions and wasted it. End.'
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