Monday, December 14, 2009

Ryan Giggs: A worthy winner?

Was Ryan Giggs a worthy winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year? It wasn't a ridiculous result, as in the years when Zara Phillips and, even more, Princess Anne won, but it still seemed a strange decision to me.

Giggs has been a stalwart member of a hugely successful side, but then so have Paul Scholes and Gary Neville. No one has ever suggested that they should be shortlisted for the award.

My impression is that while Giggs has been a very good player, he never became quite the great one - the next George Best or Bobby Charlton - it seemed he might in his early years. His decision (or his club's) that he should play for Wales rather than England - and not very often at that - may have a lot to do with that.

There is also the point that Alex Ferguson's understandable insistence on keeping him away from the media in those early years has meant that Giggs has never had much of a public profile. Shouldn't the Sports Personality of the Year have more of a personality?

I am not a great fan of motor sport but Jensen Button's story - the golden boy whose career seemed to be dwindling who suddenly came good as part of an improbable team - is far more compelling.


Hywel said...

Surely the real travesty was awarding the team of the year prize to the mens cricket team (lost to India, lost to West Indies (away), Beat WI & Aus at home, hammered in the ODIs by Aus, beat SA in ODIs)

Rather than the womens team. (Won world cup, world 20-20, Ashes, world player of year etc etc)

Jennie Rigg said...

Well poo. I was going to say exactly what Hywel said.

Anonymous said...

There's a popular myth that Ryan Giggs was eligble to play for England. He never was.

He played for England Schoolboys as he was, um, a boy at a school in England, but he was only ever eligble to play for the Welsh national side.

Anonymous said...

I don't usually pay that much attention to such matters but as I understand it - this was a public vote.

Maybe the public decided that this was a player who - as a result of his national side not being very successful - has not had the international recognition that he might have merited had he played for a more successful national team.

Maybe they decided on that basis to award him some overdue recognition.

I'm also given to understand that his disciplinary record might be better than those of the other players you mention.

Jonathan Calder said...

Anonymous 1: I suspect the myth is that Giggs could not have played for England.

He moved to Manchester at the age of 7. Have you ever heard talk of another player who has lived here since early childhood not being eligible to play for England?
I haven't.

Maybe having four home nations in FIFA complicates things, but I remain to be convinced.

crewegwyn said...

F.1 changed the regulations. As the teams scrabbled around adjusting to the changes Button was loucky enough to drive the only car which still had a forward gear [tiny exaggeration]. He built up a huge lead.

Once the other teams had brought their cars up to scratch, Button struggled.

I voted ABB - anybody but Button!

Oh, and Giggs chose to play for Wales because he is ... er ... Welsh. Hence his multiple titles of BBC Wales S P o t Y.