Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sports Non-Event of the Year

When I were a lad, one of the highlights of my year around Christmas time was the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year programme, which, back in those far-off days, gave us the chance to relive all the great sporting moments of the year gone by.

Sadly, it is now but a shadow of its former self, the absense of real sport on the BBC leaving the programme reliant on gimmickry, chat, and occasional off-colour remarks by the presenters.

The BBC won't even show clips of the sport it still has - notably Wimbledon, football and snooker - presumably for fear of highlighting what it doesn't have.

In short, the programme, and the oddly-named award itself, has become one of those great annual television non-events that we somehow still feel compelled to watch, second in this respect only to the even more meaningless Eurovision Song Contest.

And yet the national press seemingly remains obsessed with the show. Over recent weeks, national sports coverage appears to have turned into a running commentary, (c) all newspapers, into whose name is on the award this year.

Here's a sample from the national media following England's cricketing triumphs over Pakistan, which has propelled spinner Monty Panesar (pictured) into the status of bookies' favourite.

"As the wickets fell at Headingley yesterday so too did the odds on Monty Panesar winning the 2006 BBC Sports Personality Of The Year." - The Guardian.

"Confirmation of Panesar’s place in the national consciousness came with the news that William Hill, the bookmakers, had last night made Panesar their 7-2 favourite to become BBC Sports Personality of the Year." - The Times.

"With so many other big names floundering across the English sports spectrum, the popular Panesar could even be bowling himself into contention to succeed Andrew Flintoff as BBC Sports Personality of the Year." Daily Mail.

"With Andrew Flintoff on the sidelines, Panesar has taken over as the focus of affection for England fans. Now Panesar is one of the top five contenders to follow Flintoff as BBC Sports Personality of the Year." - The BBC.

I don't want to take anything away from Panesar. He looks like the best spin bowling prospect in English cricket since Phil Tufnell and possibly even Derek Underwood. But his achievements and talent should speak for themselves without the addition of this pointless bauble.

It's doubtless too much to expect the BBC to knock their wretched award on the head. But it's surely high time the rest of the media ceased their obsession with it.

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10 comments:

Rigger Mortice said...

have to agree Paul,besides Joe Calzaghe and Ricky hatton who are world champions the rest on betfair are not having a good year,hence young Montys rise.

What gets me is the format they use where they whittle it down to six and the public vote.

If gerrards allowed in then as ever the footballer will win and the people who've achieved something will get sweet fa.

Calzaghe fight against Lacey for the world crown was one of the finest fighting displays I've ever seen.he won't win because he doesn't have a stupid laugh like frank bruno

Daz said...

If David Walliams wins that may kill the whole programme off. Fair play to him for swimming the channel for charity, but he's hardly a 'sportsman' is he ?

I would have thought Jenson Button.

Paul Linford said...

But they'd never let Walliams win it Daz - the same way they blocked Bob Nudd (champion angler) and Justin Fashanu (gay footballing icon) both of whom have topped the popular vote in recent years. That's partly what makes it such a farce in my view.

Anonymous said...

Bob Nudd was the most successful sporting personality what Britain ever have had on the world sporting stage.

World champion countless times, he could beat anyone when he got his long pole out.

He also had a song in then charts called Maggots in my Catapault.

Truly a legend. Shows all what's wrong with these awards, suppose no-one from the Fens is ever going to be allowed to win nothing.

Anonymous said...

One of the most sensible things what I have read on a political blog.

Bob Nudd could give Tony Blair a run for his money on the waggler as well.

Bob was not a one-method angler by any means, he also excelled when that come to fishing at range.

As carp on match pools were driven away from the banks by increased disturbance and wising up to pole fishing tactics, Bob was at the forefront of the bagging waggler.

Versatility was very much his thing.

PAC said...

Hi Paul, Totally agree about Bob Nudd being robbed depsite a landslide vote.

How goes, give me a ring when you're bored.

Chris Bishop

alfie said...

Yeah, 'NuddGate' did it for me as well. Those lofty arsed metro-liberal types in the BBC decided Nudd was null and voided because they reckoned fishing wasn't a 'sport' but a 'pastime'.....

To stop other undesirables like Bristow and good old Jockie Wilson winning, they decided Darts fitted into this bracket as well - but 'Snooker' apparently didn't!!! Why? Because they cover Snooker as much as they can because it's the cheapest event to televise. And Snooker players are mostly boring old buggers with frilly shirts that old ladies like to look at. Unfortunately, Bob Nudd, along with his white flat cap, his baldy bonce, 20 stone frame and his knobbly pullover with 20 years of maggot juice spread over it somehow didn't fit the image of a BBC 'sportsman'......

Monty will get it - not because he's most deserving - but because those self, same Metro types have decided he will. The old media bandwagon is now in hyper drive for Monty. i had to laugh at BBC's reporting of the winning day of the last Test. The reporter said that it was perhaps indicative that England's victory was due to a British Muslim and a British Seihk........... I'd have thought they would have been described as 'English' and not British - seeing they are both Englishmen, playing for England - but the BBC PC machine is already trying to make Monty not an English icon - but a British one - in an effort to garner support from Scotland and Wales etc.........

Sporting awards are rubbish - especially when they give the entire England Ashes winning squad MBEs (or was it OBEs ... or CBEs?) including Paul Collingwood who scored 17 pathetic runs - and Stevie (Genius) Gerrard gets sweet FA.... And while we're on the subject of sport - I would kick out all 'sports' from the Olympics that have to be judged. This includes Synchronised Swimming, Diving, Gymnastics, Boxing, Ice Dancing, Ski Jumping, etc, etc. The Olympics motto is not Swifter, Higher, Stronger and Judgier.......

There, rant over.

skipper said...

Paul
You're being a bit hard on your fellow hacks. Panesar is a rare thing these days- a genuine star who has come from almost nowhere. Not just hugely talented- he could be our Shane Warne- but wonderfully self effacing as well. I for one celebrate that someone may win what has become the premier national prize for sporting talent- and(call me sentimental) as an Asian it's so good for race-relatioins at the same time.

Paul Linford said...

No disagreement on Panesar but my question is simply: why is it the premier national prize for sporting talent when the voting is rigged and the programme on which it is based contains no sport. Admit it, Skip, it's a farce.

Richard Bailey said...

The real question is why Sky don't mount a challenge and do it properly. They have most of the sport from which to draw the clips we all actually want to watch again and they have the money to buy the rights to the clips they don't own (which is all offset by the cost of the call to vote!)

Who won the award was always fairly incidental to me. What made it unmissable was the year's best sporting bits altogether in one two hour sporting feast.

Come on Sky - get on with it!