5097 Are James McFadden and Cristia
by : Antony Melvin
The BBC sports' personality of the year award is on again this weekend, the annual suited-and-booted homage to a years sport. The actual award is mostly comprised of viewers votes which will be counted on Sunday based on a shortlist of 10 sports people. Despite the seeming domination of football in everyday life this year no footballer will win the award because none were considered popular enough.
The shortlist is created by calculating the 10 most popular names from those nominated by 30 national and regional newspapers and magazines plus a panel of experts (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tv_and_radio/sports_personality_of_the_year/7096040.stm); in all each candidate could receive a maximum of 31 votes from almost anyone from Nuts and Zoo magazines to The Observer or The Voice. That no footballer could raise more than 6 votes is very interesting.
A season in which no British national team qualified for the major tournament on offer for the first time in a decade must have contributed; but possibly the game is simply not as popular with journalists as with the general public. Perhaps journalists are bored of the constant overkill of coverage and the media trained blandness of the players?
If you are looking for a winner then the candidates with most nominations are almost certain to prevail; but if Ricky Hatton beats Floyd Mayweather in some kind of Rocky remake on the 8th then he will drop to odds on favourite.
31 Joe Calzaghe, Lewis Hamilton
29 Ricky Hatton
23 Justin Rose
22 Paula Radcliffe
16 Andy Murray
14 Jonny Wilkinson
11 James Toseland, Jason Robinson
10 Christine Ohuruogu
The odds on offer at William Hill, mostly track the nominations:
4/9 Lewis Hamilton ( Motor Racing )
5/2 Ricky Hatton ( Boxing )
6/1 Joe Calzaghe ( Boxing )
20/1 Paula Radcliffe ( Athletics )
50/1 Jonny Wilkinson ( Rugby Union )
50/1 Christine Ohuruogu ( Athletics )
50/1 Justin Rose ( Golf )
80/1 Andy Murray ( Tennis )
100/1 James Toseland ( Motor Cycling )
100/1 Jason Robinson ( Rugby Union )
The top footballers on the list betray the growing regionization of the UK; with James McFadden boosted by almost exclusively Scottish backers, John Terry getting the Evening Standard's vote, Ryan Giggs boosted by Welsh papers etc. But it is clear that in 2007 no footballer grabbed the consciousness of journalists sufficiently. Of the top footballers only Ronaldo and Fabregas will be going to Euro 2008 and perhaps they will be most likely to make the shortlist in 2008.
Top Footballers 2007
6 James McFadden (Daily Record, Daily Post, Scotsman, The Herald, Scotland on Sunday, Nuts)
6 Cristiano Ronaldo (The People, Guardian, Independent, Sport Magazine, Zoo, News of the World)
5 Ryan Giggs (Mail On Sunday, Sunday Express, Western Mail, Wales on Sunday, Times)
4 Wayne Rooney (Nuts, Daily Post, Daily Star on Sunday, Independent on Sunday)
3 Cesc Fabregas (Independent, News of the World, The People)
1 Frank Lampard (The Voice)
1 John Terry (Evening Standard)
1 Steve Gerrard (Times)