Simon Reed

Wrong year for Murray to win SPOTY

Simon Reed

View gallery

.

Andy Murray kisses US Open trophy

I would love it if Andy Murray won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, but I just can't see it happening.

On a personal level I would be delighted if Andy took the award, as anything that's good for tennis is good for me. But, despite winning the US Open and the Olympics — and the tears following his Wimbledon defeat — I don't think he will win it.

There is the argument that the cycling vote could be split three ways, with favourite Bradley Wiggins perhaps losing some people to Sir Chris Hoy and Sarah Storey.

While this may happen to a smaller extent, last year's SPOTY — when Mark Cavendish stormed to victory — shows how enthusiastic and obsessive the cycling community is. They will be out in force, and they will mostly vote for Wiggins.

There is also the impact of Wiggins's triumphs, both of which came on terrestrial TV.

Eurosport showed his Tour de France and Olympic time trial wins, but so did ITV4 and the BBC respectively; Murray's greatest triumph, the epic five-set win over Novak Djokovic at the US Open final, was in the small hours of the morning, on Sky Sports.

Strangely I think his defeat to Roger Federer at Wimbledon - and the tears that followed - hold him in better stead than the win at Flushing Meadows, simply because it changed a lot of people's preconceptions about the man, and more people would have seen it on the Beeb.

Although Murray has been installed as second favourite behind Wiggins, I also see Mo Farah as having a better chance.

View gallery

.

Farah does the mobot

Mo's achievements came at the height of Olympic fever, on the BBC, on Saturday night prime-time. An Olympic distance double is quite some achievement too, and if we're talking about personality, I don't think anyone captured the public imagination more than Mo — his smile, his humour, his reaction to victory. Even Usain Bolt was doing the Mo-bot!

He will get a huge chunk of the youth vote, something which has less of an impact on the betting market, and I'm not sure Murray or Wiggins really have as much power there.

The only thing going against Mo is that the athletics vote could be split with the hugely popular Jessica Ennis.

View gallery

.

Ennis wins gold

There was a lot of controversy last year when no women made the shortlist, and I can see a lot of younger girls in particular going for Jess, who is an icon in women's sport.

This may sound strange coming from a tennis commentator and Murray supporter, but I also don't think he should win the SPOTY award. Wiggins's was the greater achievement — the Tour de France is the pinnacle of cycling, and he doubled up with an Olympic gold.

He was the first man to do that double and it will be very difficult to do again. While several people have done 5k-10k doubles before, Mo's back story is quite incredible. And he has also managed to break the Kenyan-Ethiopian dominance over those distances, in front of his home fans, and in such style.

The circumstances of Murray's wins and their scale should not be dismissed — remember, no British male had won a Grand Slam since the 1930s — but we're talking about once-in-a-lifetime achievements for the other two.

I can also see some of the Paralympians getting a greater share of the public vote than anticipated — if we're talking about achieving things against all odds, you can look no further than the likes of Ellie Simmonds and Davie Weir, who captured the public consciousness and are hugely recognisable, particularly Simmonds.

In any other year Andy would have been a shoo-in — 2009 and 2010 were very weak years comparatively, and for all Cavendish's achievements and popularity I think a Grand Slam title would have seen Murray win last year's award.

But this time I think it will go to Wiggins, or perhaps Farah — and rightly so.

View gallery

.

Wiggins kisses the Tour trophy

View Comments