So we have come to the most glamorous sporting event of the year – SPOTY. At least it’s the most exciting moment of the sporting year that is also named after a skin condition. If ITV were running this whole she-bang, they would have got the sponsorship deal with Clearasil tied up in no time.
I write this on a Saturday, before the winner is announced. You will most likely be reading this on a Monday, after one of Andy Murray, Lewis Hamilton or Jessica Ennis-Hill have won the trophy.
I predict it will be one of those three, because of different reasons – Murray for being the most dominant factor in a genuinely historic and unexpected British sporting triumph; Hamilton as people seem to like fast cars; or Ennis-Hill as the liberal twitterati rise up and show nasty old Tyson Fury exactly what they are about. There is online voting this year, so that may not be a pipe dream – they won’t even have to leave their keyboard, let alone their house.
By the way, it took this Sports Personality article 138 words before Fury’s name popped up. That may be some kind of record.
Fury, incidentally, genuinely could win on a three-pronged basis – managing real sporting achievement, having a personality, and the inevitable fact that people will gravitate around complete bastards. I think he will fall short, but it will make the ceremony – in a rare moment – worth watching.
Who I want to win? Mo Farah. Because he’s awesome.
Now halfway through, I finally start talking about football, as is inevitable. I am delighted to see England’s best player from their highly admirable World Cup run, Lucy Bronze, get a nomination.
(I’ve just realised that England finished in the bronze-medal position with a player called Bronze. Did anyone else notice that? Or am I slower than Per Mertesacker in lead boots?)
There is a dearth of footballing talent on the 12 person list though. It has been a good year for football all told – high quality and unpredictable on it, and signs that the shit may finally be shovelled away off it.
A big part of that unpredictability has been the astonishing rise of Leicester in the Premier League. I would have liked Jamie Vardy to get a nod. His is a great story, he has played sport of the highest quality, and the nomination of Fury has proven that the Beeb are not averse to honouring those with despicable personal and cultural opinions.
The wonderful footballing year for Wales and Northern Ireland should also have been highlighted – Gareth Bale for Wales (or even Wayne Hennessey, as it was the Welsh defence that got them to the Euros really); and Northern Ireland’s key man should have been nominated too. Yes, I am raging because Kyle Lafferty did not get nominated for Sports Personality of the Year.
Finally, I would have favoured a nomination for Laura Bassett. Because we English love a glorious national failure, and that own goal by Bassett in the World Cup semi – particularly in hindsight – was the most tragically glorious of them all.