The heating is on, mince pies are in the oven and Gary Lineker is firing out jokes to bemused sport stars. It can mean only one thing; BBC Sports Personality of the Year is upon us.
With the BBC results already in, what better way to review the sporting year than to compile Nouse’s very own shorter version of the awards with no satellite-delayed interviews and flirting towards Sue Barker.
Sports Personality of the Year – Andrew Flintoff, by a distance. His 24 wickets and 402 runs in the Ashes series tell only part of the story. He was the ‘turn to’ man with ball and the game-changer with the bat. In Pakistan, Flintoff poured everything into his bowling and took a career best haul of eight wickets in the first test. As a crouched Brett Lee said to Freddie at the end of the remarkable Edgbaston test, ‘you’re an incredible athlete, mate’. He is also a national treasure.
Nouse thought long and hard over second place, but Michael Vaughan just leg-glances away the other contenders including Frank Lampard and Ricky Hatton. He demonstrated the art of captaincy brilliantly throughout the summer and made Ricky Ponting look like a confused, currant-eyed novice in the summer.
Coach of the Year – As much as Jose Mourinho has brightened the Premiership it is a lap-topped Zimbabwean that should claim this award. Duncan Fletcher has masterminded the recovery of English cricket since 1999 with the pinnacle thus far being in the summer. A question remains, though. What does he watch on the laptop throughout the days play?
Team of the Year –Liverpool won the European Cup for the first time in 21 years. Chelsea won the league for the first time in 50 years. All very commendable but the England cricket team beat Australia in a Test series for the first time in 18 years. They may have stuttered in the sub continent but the Ashes defined the summer. For so long, England’s cricketers were the butt of the nation’s sporting jokes (even when they were beating everyone but Australia). One summer has changed this. It is a buzz phrase amongst the England team that everyone at some stage ‘puts their hand up’ and makes a major contribution. It is these contributions that should be recognised with a team award.
Congratulations to all the winners. Unfortunately, Peter Crouch did not pick up any awards despite some heavy internet voting. It would take a last minute winner in the World Cup final for the lanky Liverpool striker with ‘a good touch for a big man’ to perhaps stand a chance of picking up a Nouse gong next year.
By Ed Humphreys – Sports Correspondent