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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Bacon's Bites: Now I remember why I gave up watching SPOTY!

PUBLISHED: 19:41 20 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:09 21 December 2018

Geraint Thomas poses after winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 at Birmingham Genting Arena. Photo: PA

Geraint Thomas poses after winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 at Birmingham Genting Arena. Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

In his weekly column Mike Bacon looks back at another glitzy SPOTY and wonders why some sports are seemingly considered irrelevant!

Billy Monger receives the Helen Rollason Award the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018. Photo: PABilly Monger receives the Helen Rollason Award the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018. Photo: PA

I lost interest in Sports Personality of the Year many moons ago.

And although I always took interest who won an award that strangely includes the word ‘personality’ – and yet invariably fails to deliver on that – I thought I’d give it one more hoorah last weekend.

I wish I hadn’t bothered.

The show has turned more into an Oscar ceremony than a warts-and-all look back at the sporting year.

While for a strange reason, there remains a fascination and appreciation to teams and individuals who actually haven’t won anything!

There were plenty of good bits, especially the England Netball team awards and young Billy Monger’s chat.

But again SPOTY was dominated by the ‘big sports’. And for those of us with a more varied outlook on sport, it failed to deliver.

Tyson Fury (left) is interviewed on stage by Gary Lineker at SPOTY. Photo PATyson Fury (left) is interviewed on stage by Gary Lineker at SPOTY. Photo PA

SPOTY has become a look back at year we knew all about, rather than one that could also inform of us of sports achievements we missed.

Take speedway for instance.... Now, now – hear me out!

It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does exist, and when I last looked it is classified as a sport – just like netball, football and F1.

Indeed if Formula One is a sport – ie. one that depends on an engine to get said competitor around the track – then speedway, like MotoGP, is the same.

Lewis Hamilton, F1 world champion was second overall.

So, what am I moaning about?

Some sports and sports stars not even getting a mention, that’s what I’m moaning about.

Take Tai Woffinden, world speedway champion.

I have no great affinity to him. He has never ridden for Ipswich Witches, in fact he doesn’t ride much in England at all, which I find a bit annoying, but that’s another story.

However, born in Scunthorpe, Woffinden won his third speedway world title in 2018 to become the most decorated British speedway racer of all time. That’s ALL TIME.

So, perhaps the powers-that-be at the Beeb could take time out to explain to the thousands of speedway fans up and down the country, why Woffinden didn’t’ even warrant a mention! I didn’t expect him to be on the short-list.

I get sick to death of sports that are not the most popular being ignored.

I’m no big fan of darts or boxing.

However, I appreciate what the likes of Phil Taylor, Michael van Gerwen, the late Eric Bristow et al, did, do, and still do for darts.

World champion and Britian's best performing speedway rider ever, Tai Woffinden. But not a mention on SPOTY. Picture: Ian BurtWorld champion and Britian's best performing speedway rider ever, Tai Woffinden. But not a mention on SPOTY. Picture: Ian Burt

I do appreciate what Chris Eubank, Frank Bruno and Tyson Fury have given, and are giving, to boxing over the decades.

My outlook on sport is varied, unlike some, who don’t even appear to know speedway exists. Or if they do, they choose to ignore it.

It surprises me not then that Sky and BT Sport are gobbling up all sport on our TVs.

Sadly, as well as the BBC do Poldark and Luther, their sport’s coverage, in my eyes anyhow, is becoming more and more irrelevant, as SPOTY in many ways demonstrated.

Satellite channels have recognised the existence and potential audience growth the likes of darts, speedway, snooker, rallying, MMA and other less populist sports offer.

Then again they have to work hard for their revenues.

As for SPOTY. That’s me done.

England's Eric Dier scores his sides fourth and winning penalty in the penalty shoot out during the FIFA World Cup 2018, round of 16 match at the Spartak Stadium, Moscow. A highlight of 2018. Photo: PAEngland's Eric Dier scores his sides fourth and winning penalty in the penalty shoot out during the FIFA World Cup 2018, round of 16 match at the Spartak Stadium, Moscow. A highlight of 2018. Photo: PA

England coming fourth in the World Cup made it a summer of great fun for the nation.

I haven’t enjoyed a World Cup like that for decades.

My sporting highlight of the year was Eric Dier’s penalty against Columbia that saw England win a penalty shoot-out for the first time in yonks!

The weather was good, Brexit was forgotten, even our cat Pikachu was on his best behaviour, spending hours outside enjoying the weather, rather than annoying me to go out at 4am.

The non-league game here in Suffolk and north Essex continues to grow, although sadly for Ipswich Witches fans 2018 was not one to remember.

A right curate’s egg of a sporting year in some ways – good in parts.

Freddie Sears salutes the North Stand after Town's 1-0 victory over Wigan. Hopefully more and more wins for Town in 2019.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMFreddie Sears salutes the North Stand after Town's 1-0 victory over Wigan. Hopefully more and more wins for Town in 2019. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

Here’s hoping 2019 brings better success for the Witches and better success for Ipswich Town Football Club.

We don’t want Ipswich Town relegated. It would be so hard to bounce straight back from League One.

One last shout out... To Ipswich Eagles and Kesgrave Panthers cycle speedway teams. After 10 years of racing for both, my teenage lads have ‘retired’ from the sport, with education and other sporting options taking centre stage.

What a blast cycle speedway has been in our household, one of our boys was a British Champion, the other rode for England and Great Britain.

We all loved it and I recommend it thoroughly. Thanks to all the friends we have made.

Ipswich's Pierce Bacon leads Max Evans (Astley and Tyldesley) and Ben Clarke (Ipswich). Cycle speedway - a great sport to get involved in. Picture: PHIL CLARKEIpswich's Pierce Bacon leads Max Evans (Astley and Tyldesley) and Ben Clarke (Ipswich). Cycle speedway - a great sport to get involved in. Picture: PHIL CLARKE

On the subject of thanks, thanks to the many of you who read this column in the EADT or online!

Apparently Bacon’s Bites’ ‘web hits’ are ‘impressive’ – which I assume is good.

Keep supporting sport at all levels, from the professionals at Ipswich Town, Colchester United, Essex cricket and Ipswich Witches, through to all our wonderful local sporting talented men, women, boys and girls.

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