Wednesday, 2 December 2009

SPOTY Time Is Here Again...

Once again the BBC has announced the shortlist for their flagship sports review show, no longer called Sports Review of The Year. It’s an interesting list full of semi-obscure faces that are at least champions or have won something this year. Yet there isn’t really a stand out obvious winner.

The BBC will of course push for Jenson Button to win. They paid out a lot of (questionable) money to capture the rights to Formula 1. In the first season of that contract, long time favourite of the British motorsport press Button won his second Grand Prix. Then kept on winning… and winning until his team suffered a mid season slump, by which time it was probably a question of when he would win the Championship rather than if. Button will get a lot of press, I wouldn’t be surprised if he won.

Andy Murray will do well, but he isn’t the cast iron certainty he would be if he filled that Slam sized hole in his trophy cabinet. The Heavyweight boxer David Haye might do well, especially as he has been promoting himself recently in the mainstream media, with appearances on Jonathan Ross. However if Lewis Hamilton’s tax affairs was an issue for some last year, surely Haye’s tax affairs should be an issue this time around. Ryan Giggs will pick up votes from Manyoo fans, if no-one else. Cavendish, Daley and Tweddle will struggle for votes outside fans of their own sports.

Outside of Button, there are a couple of candidates who might win, especially as Athletics provides more than its fair share of Sports Personality… winners. Jessica Ennis won the Heptathlon at this years World Championships, the first British athlete to win a major Heptathlon since Denise Lewis became Olympic champion in Sydney. Phillips Idowo also struck gold at this year’s World Championships, finally coming out of the shadows of Triple Jumping great Jonathan Edwards. However Button’s main challenger may well be Englands Cricket captain Andrew Strauss.

This time last year, Strauss was preparing to head off to the West Indies as part of a squad led by Coach Peter Moores and captain Kevin Pieterson. Then with days before the tour departed Moores and Pieterson had a spectacular falling out. Moores left his post and Pieterson quit as England captain. Strauss was given the job as England captain. It looked to be a short term affair as England inexplicably lost by an innings at Sabina Park, and continued to lack a cutting edge on the flat pitches across the West Indies. But the reason Strauss is here is because he survived to take England into the Ashes, as things turned out a victorious Ashes series. Strauss’ himself made a vital contribution to the series, he was the leading run scorer of the series, with 474 runs at 52.66, he made 1 century (his 161 helped set up victory at Lords) and 3 50’s.

I think Button will win, Strauss may well finish second. Either Ennis or Idowo might make it into the top three. Haye might well make it into the top three as well. But I suspect that the public relations push for Button will be too strong.

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