Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

The Punter: Only Zara and Joe deserve Beeb gong

What does the BBC Sports Personality of the Year really mean?

Not a lot, I would hasten to add, as the television channel has so little sport these days.

At one point, it was reaching the state of the ridiculous when Little Britain star David Walliams was being talked up as a possible winner after splashing about in the English Channel for 10 hours.

Thankfully, he did not make the final 10 but then neither did Tony McCoy who this year reached the British landmark of 2,500 winners, won the Champion Jockeys' title for the 11th time in a row, and took the Champion Hurdle on Brave Inca.

But then that comes as no surprise as racing has never really figured in the BBC line-up - not even the great Lester Piggott or the charismatic Frankie Dettori.

Dettori and McCoy did get a third sport in 1996 and 2002 respectively.

And don't forget, Dettori in his year, landed that magnificent seven winners at Ascot in 1996 - something that most likely will never be repeated.

Our own Darren Clarke is 2-7 favourite to land the award late tomorrow night but even he knows that it is not about what he achieved on the golf course despite being a member of the successful Ryder Cup team.

If anything, Darren is slightly embarrassed about the emotionalism surrounding his nomination in view of the dramatic year he has endured.

On sporting achievement, the only two that can be seriously considered are Zara Phillips (world three-day eventing champion) and Joe Calzaghe who has made 19 successful defences as WBO and IBF world super middleweight champion - six short of the all-time record held by the great Joe Louis. Calzaghe who has not been beaten in 42 fights produced one of the most comprehensive displays ever seen in the ring against American Jeff Lacey. He was quoted earlier this week at 6-4 (Hill's) without Clarke and Phillips and if it's still there, break down the doors!



England can have a big say in the Champions League final

England are 2-7 with totesport to be represented for a third consecutive year in the Champions' League final.

And it is 1-7 (Bet365) that an English and Spanish team will clash in the second round, the draw for which is next Friday.

As for another English-Spanish final, it is 8-11 with totesport who make an Italian team 7-4 and a French one 3-1 respctively, to contest the final.

For those who think Celtic can be one of the last two, can have 40-1.

Paul Petrie, totesport spokesman, commented: "English teams are on a roll in the Champions League and we see no reason why that won't continue this year. If the betting is to be believed then we will once again be watching an England v Spain final come May."

Lyon are great value at 9-1 with Paddy Power to win outright, having been supported in from 20-1.

Skybet are holding Barcleona at 4-1 preferring to install Chelsea as their favourites at 3-1.

Barca are due to face a tough second round draw and will come up against either Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Lyon, Man Utd Arsenal or Milan. They are 11-10 to meet United, Liverpool or Arsenal.

Don't be surprised to see the holders bow out at this juncture.

Jose Mourinho is foccused on this event and he will never have a better chance.

What odds on them drawing Celtic next week?

Actually, 6-1 from Betfred who also make the Bhoys 6-4 to be in with English opposition which is not a bad bet as the only one they are guaranteed to miss is Man Utd.

An all-Engish decider will appeal to many at 4-1 while it's 150-1 that they fill all four semi-final spots.

Meanwhile, make Chelsea a banker at 8-11 to end Arsenal interest in the Premiership tomorrow.

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