Old Trafford has produced no shortage of global megastars over the course of the club’s history, with each etching their names in United history. A large amount have also seen their appeal grow beyond the club’s fanbase, to the extent that they have become household names.
One traditional route towards achieving this level of fame is success in the Sports Personality of The Year Awards. This year’s event is under two months away and will once again celebrate achievement and heroism from across the sporting landscape.
In this article, we will reflect on the runners and riders in this year’s race, while also shining a light on three men who have evolved to become true sporting personalities after making a name for themselves as Red Devils players.
Where else to start other than with the man who became the literal poster boy for modern football stardom? Decades on from George Best, Beckham established himself as a legend on and off the field.
The former Tottenham youth academy player made his United debut in 1992 and was a full England international by 1996. However, his recognition as the UK’s Sports Personality Of The Year wouldn’t follow until 2001, less than two years before his career at Old Trafford would end.
Beckham’s glamour factor is perhaps matched in the modern-day by record-breaking Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton. Like Beckham, Hamilton has cultivated popularity on both sides of the Atlantic and it’s perhaps no surprise that the latest Sports Personality Of The Year odds price him as the favourite to win it.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 23, 2014
Arriving on the scene a couple of years before Beckham, Giggs is rightly recognised as one of United’s all-time legends. He made 963 appearances for United at the top level and finished his playing career as a one-club man.
Giggs went on to serve the Red Devils as interim manager in 2014, before working as an assistant until 2016. Two years ago, he snapped up to the opportunity to manage Wales, who he represented as a player on 64 occasions.
Giggs’ own recognition as Sports Personality Of The Year came very late into his career, earning the top prize in 2009 as he approached the autumn of his playing days. Among the veterans on this year’s shortlist is Ronnie O’Sullivan, priced at 9/1. A professional of nearly three decades; could this be the year that the self-proclaimed snooker legend is recognised?
Fast forward to the present day and Marcus Rashford is another Red who is succeeding transcending the game of football. His off-the-field endeavours to feed the UK’s children have won him millions of admirers – and he is priced at 5/4 to be named this year’s Sports Personality Of The Year.
Alongside favourite Hamilton, Rashford faces tough competition from boxing champion Tyson Fury, jockey Hollie Doyle, golfer Tyrrell Hatton, and cricketer James Anderson. However, none of these have come anywhere close to matching Marcus’s achievements away from their chosen sport.
Can’t stop smiling, I’ve waited a long time for that. Just wish the fans were in to experience it with me ♥️https://t.co/FvvpO6JYWX#ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY pic.twitter.com/QJGJxSzTlj
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 28, 2020
Undoubtedly, Red Devils up and down the country will be rooting for Rashford at this year’s ceremony and hoping that United’s number ten can follow in the footsteps of greats like Beckham and Giggs.