Gareth Bale wins PFA awards but comedian sparks race row
Reginald D Hunter's use of the N-word does not go down well and Suarez gets booed
GARETH BALE was crowned king of English football on Sunday night as he became only the third person to win both the Professional Football Association's player and young player of the season awards on an evening that was almost overshadowed by a race-related controversy.
Bale (above) followed in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo and Andy Gray by scooping both prizes at the annual event at the Grosvenor Hotel in London. But the game's capacity for tying itself in knots over racism was in evidence after the event when there were complaints about the performance of comedian Reginald D Hunter.
Hunter, a black American, used the "n*****" word several times during his routine and according to the Daily Telegraph his "use of the word did not go down well with some members of the audience, most of whom were professional footballers".
According to The Times, Hunter's routine will be "a source of embarrassment" to the PFA. "Although the context appeared to be one of social comment rather than racism, the FA has recently made clear that they view all such terminology as abusive, no matter what the context," explained the paper.
Bale's acceptance speech was rather less controversial. "I couldn't have done it without the team," he announced, before paying tribute to his "fantastic" manager, Andre Villas-Boas.
Among the players he beat to win the award was Liverpool forward Luis Suarez whose name was twice booed at the event, according to the Telegraph. "The first time came when he was named in the team of the year, and secondly when his name was read out on the short list for Player of the Year, in which he finished second," explained the paper.
The Uruguayan began a ten-game ban this weekend for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
The PFA team of the year included four members of Manchester United's title-winning side, David De Gea, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick and Robin van Persie.
Premier League Team of the Year: David De Gea (Manchester United); Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Leighton Baines (Everton); Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Juan Mata (Chelsea), Gareth Bale (Tottenham), Eden Hazard (Chelsea); Luis Suárez (Liverpool), Robin van Persie (Manchester United).