I have had a long-running dislike of Oliver Holt, who repeatedly wins the Journalist of the Year award, whilst bashing United and Sir Alex Ferguson whenever he can. During the summer ahead of the 2006-2007 season, Holt totally slated our manager, claiming that ‘his judgement is waning faster than everybody thought.
Of course, Ferguson has had the last laugh, winning the title consecutively since then, as well as the European Cup. Turns out his judgement was actually spot on!
The BBC, I imagine, would regard the prospect with undiluted horror. Worse than reuniting Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross for a Christmas special. And getting the Satanic Sluts to do a guest spot.
Well, I’m sorry, but I still think Sir Alex Ferguson should win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award for 2008. I know the BBC has already got a Coach of the Year award as part of its annual show. In fact, they practically invented it so they could give it to Fergie back in the Treble year of 1999. And I know that a coach has never won the main award, which has always gone to a competitor. It would make the presentation interesting, too, because Ferguson doesn’t speak to the BBC and hasn’t done for four years. But don’t tell me Fergie’s not a competitor. Don’t tell me he doesn’t have just as much influence on a United result as any of the players out there on the pitch. And where does it say in the title that a manager can’t win? It’s the Sports Personality of the Year, not the Sportsman or Sportswoman of the Year.
So I still don’t understand why the Manchester United manager hasn’t been mentioned yet as one of the favourites after everything he has achieved in the last 12 months. Plenty of people, myself included, wrote him off after United went three seasons without winning the Premier League and almost a decade without repeating their Champions League triumph of 1999.
When Ferguson won the European Cup with United’s penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea in Moscow, he became only the third manager in British history to win the competition twice. It’s a momentous achievement, shared only by Brian Clough and the great Bob Paisley among British bosses. It was the way Ferguson did it, too. The way that he won the trophy playing fantastic attacking football. The way he built a side of flair and fluidity around the beauty of the creative talents of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. And the flawless way he combined the youth of those stars with the experience of loyal club servants like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.
Giving it to Ferguson, or at least putting him on the short-list so the public can make up their own minds, would represent a welcome admission that coaches ought to be considered as well. The BBC would be bound to get something out of it, too. Either, they’d have the first person in the award’s history who refused to accept it, or Ferguson might start talking to them again.