Anorak News | A Great Year?

A Great Year?

by | 15th, December 2003

‘IT has been a great year for British sport – or at least that’s what they told us last night prior to announcing the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year.

Wilkinson prepares to kick

But when two of the five people in the running for the top award could have walked into the studio without fear of being recognised, then one wonders whether it really was such a great year.

That Jonny Wilkinson actually became the 50th winner of the famous trophy was as inevitable as his World Cup-winning drop goal was in retrospect.

But who can honestly say they knew who Pippa Funnell (the first rider to claim three-day eventing’s Grand Slam) or Neil Hodgson (World Superbikes Champion) was?

That is not the case with Thierry Henry, Arsenal’s French striker who is favourite to beat Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane to the title of world football player of the year later today.

But the Guardian says that such is Henry’s talent that “the clamour for his signature from the world’s richest clubs” has reached fever pitch.

And Arsenal are doing their best to convince the world that the 26-year-old is not for sale at any price.

Chelsea apparently made a formal approach at the beginning of last week and were rebuffed, while Real Madrid are also said to be interested.

Life is pretty good for Henry at the moment – Arsenal are top of the Premiership (and still unbeaten) and in the knock-out stages of the Champions’ League.

Meanwhile, the Times reports that Chelsea were left singing the blues after a home defeat to Bolton.

“When you want to compare Chelsea with Manchester United and Arsenal,” coach Claudio Ranieiri said, “I say ‘No, but we are improving’.

“We are learning something as a team; they are teams – that’s the difference.”

Meanwhile, England’s cricket team “scaled Mount Improbable” and held on for a draw in Sri Lanka, thanks mainly to a century from captain Michael Vaughan.

He batted for 7.5 hours to make 105 runs yesterday for the tenth century of his career.

“For the period I batted and the position we were in on a fifth-day pitch facing Muttiah Mualitharan, I’d say it was my best hundred to date,” Vaughan told the Telegraph.

But he was by no means the only centurion – Brian Lara broke a Test match record by hitting 28 runs off a single over on his way to an unbeaten 178 against South Africa.

And Rahul Dravid and VS Laxman shared a partnership of 303 against Australia – the second time they have reached that milestone against the Aussies, itself a record.

Dravid finished the day at 199 not out.

If only they were British…’

Posted: 15th, December 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink