Magazine article The Spectator

The Prizes They're All Waiting For

Magazine article The Spectator

The Prizes They're All Waiting For

Article excerpt

It's time for the traditional, muchcoveted Spectator Sports Awards, and this year your judges have been busier than Mitchell Johnson's tattooist as we look back over a memorable 12 months. This has been a year of real achievement: the resurgence of English rugby and, spectacularly, the English cricket team; the continual brilliance of sports stars such as the All Blacks' Danny Carter and India's Sachin Tendulkar; the calm courage of Gareth Thomas in deciding to come out; Blackpool living the tangerine dream and gaining promotion (for how long is another matter); and the man who must surely be the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year, Tony McCoy, winning the Grand National for the very first time.

But our awards look elsewhere, away from the great and the good towards the bad and the ugly. A notable year of World Cup achievement for England both on and off the field perhaps; or some recognition for John Terry, for disproving the view that the only way is up.

No, our first award in this new age of austerity is the Sheikh Mansour Every Little Helps Award (the prize is a Baby Bentley and £250,000 a week petrol money). Our winner showed dedication to easing Britain's woes by limiting the inflation of his own salary to just 78 per cent, and making regular contributions of £1,000 a night to those in Manchester less well off than himself, as well as tipping hotel staff £200 for the odd packet of Marlboros while he was at it, or just after he'd been at it according to the reports. Please welcome Wayne Rooney.

Foresight has always been a mark of sporting greatness, and this sixth sense is celebrated in the What Happened Next award, a monogrammed cagoule made by Sun Mountain, the golfwear company that supplied the US Ryder Cup team with waterproofs.

Before tee-off Sun Mountain tweeted, 'May the team with the best outerwear win.' After the first downpour the Americans legged it to the clubhouse and spent £4,000 on new kit.

Special mention goes to Mitchell Johnson, who said he couldn't wait to test the English top order with some quick stuff Down Under, but with figures of 170-1 was invited to relax with a few VBs when Adelaide called.

But this exciting new prize goes to an old friend, Paul Peschisolido, a former footballer who besides managing Burton Albion also has the job of being Mr Karren Brady. One chilly morning in Knowle last month, Paul went out to his Mercedes E Class to warm it up, turned on the heater and left the engine running, before going back in for a coffee. When he popped out again the car wasn't there. He later added: 'I thought I might be able to catch them, because the fob you need to open the gates wasn't in the car, but they smashed through them.'

On to the Sunderland Beach Ball award for inappropriate use of inflatables in a footballing context. Only two nominations here, both for Danielle Lineker, after an outstanding performance on the occasion of her husband's 50th birthday party. 'Gary likes the dress but I hadn't realised it was so booby, ' she observed afterwards. Mirrors are really expensive these days.

The charming Tzofit Grant, another footballing wife, wins the Stand By Your Man award, presented by Abbey Clancy. When Mrs G's husband Avram was photographed leaving a massage parlour, FuFu's, on a Pompey trading estate, she responded: 'He's the Portsmouth manager. …

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