Belfast Telegraph

Billy on the Box: Graeme McDowell hopes gunned down by horseplay

Firstly, well done to the best equine-based double act since Roy Rodgers and Trigger, Tony and AP McCoy, who teamed up to win top prize in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

Yes, the man from Moneyglass is so good on a saddle that they named him twice, beating Phil Taylor, who looks like he’s eaten a horse, and Jessica ‘golden (until we get to the nitty-gritty at the Olympics)’ girl Ennis into third.

But the whole thing just leaves a whiff of what Don’t Push It is standing hoof-deep in, and when will we learn that letting the public vote, after taking on board the advice of such sporting experts as Robbie Williams, Jeremy Clarkson and Chris Evans, is a bit like the Daily Mail governing immigration policy.

McCoy is a genius, but the whole campaign waged by racing to get him top was about as comfortable as having a barbecue in Castlederg at the minute.

I have no argument with his win, nor Taylor coming second but it’s for sporting achievement in a year (the clues are there) not the last 15 or 20 years, but that’s the problem, it has now become a vast back-patting exercise.

No harm to the lovely Jessica — just behind the big rabbit-friendly one of the same name now in terms of loveliness — but World Indoor champion (at pentathlon) and European Champion is not a patch on what Graeme McDowell achieved in 2010. Or Lee Westwood. Or Amy Williams. Or David Haye — need I go on?

Mind you, snot-ridden Haye didn’t help himself by his no-show, although temperatures were raised somewhat with the appearance of Katherine Jenkins in a what appeared to be a nosebleed.

“He talks the talk and walks the walk but sadly not tonight because he’s been struck down with flu,” said Jake Humphrey, who resisted the temptation to go ‘awww diddums’ and proving beyond all doubt that Audley Harrison is less powerful than a common cold.

Team of the Year and Youngster of the Year were gimmes for Europe and Tom Daley, with Rafa Nadal justifying the Beeb’s Wimbledon coverage to win the Johnny Foreigner Award, and Sir Frank Williams the star of the evening when he collected the Helen Rollason accolade. True sporting courage in abundance.

But Colin Montgomerie winning Coach of the Year? Give over, what coaching did he do? He wore some tasteless jumpers and made sure the breakfast was ready at Celtic Manor — he’s hardly Jose Mourinho, is he?

The Special One was there though, James Corden, who somehow is still found funny by the BBC. There must be a big warehouse of Gavin and Stacey DVDs gathering dust that they want shot of, and his snogging of Sue Barker was the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen, pre or post-watershed.

Still at least Tony and AP looked genuinely happy and Phil Taylor was happier than a dog with two dangly bits, although looked as if he’d stepped out from a christening at the Kneebreakers to pick up his gong.

It was a shocking night for the Power all round, Robbie telling us that he’d ‘murdered people, not literally because he’s a lovely man,’ but when Cesc Fabregas came on to present the award, GMac must have known he’d been shot down with the Gunners captain there.

We need an Arsenal fan, you say, I know just the pair of boys you’re looking for.

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