The Manchester Evening News has been guilty of an extra-ordinary level of parochialism with their nominations for the 2011 Sports Personality of the year.
Rather than recognise the incredible successes of Mark Cavendish, Mo Farah or Chrissie Wellington over the course of the calendar year, they instead felt the contributions of Yaya Toure, Patrick Vieira, Paul Scholes and Dimitar Berbatov warranted nominations.
I suspect that for most City and Utd supporters, the nominations would be viewed as more of an embarrassment than recognition. Despite the teams occupying first and second spot in the country’s top division, the contributions of those nominated with the potential exclusion of Y. Toure have been limited at most. Indeed it’s difficult to see any of those four being awarded Sports Personality of The Year within their own club, let alone the national pan-sport accolade.
Whoever contributed to the decision making process at the MEN needs to seriously consider their motivation here. If they are so immersed in their sphere of work that they are blind to events beyond the M60 then I suggest they abstain from nominating for next year’s event on the basis of being too ill-informed to make a positive contribution.
Alternatively, it is a realistic assumption that these decisions were part of a conscious effort to represent Manchester sport and increase the profile of the region at a national event. This is poorly thought out and poorly executed. The inclusion of Lancashire Cricketers James Anderson and Glen Chapple can be vindicated by Lancashire CC’s championship winning season and the nomination of Keri-Anne Payne (the South African Born and Stockport Based British Olympic swimmer) is justified for her World Championship winning performance in Shangai. These three athletes accurately embody the regions sporting success, and would have been deserving representatives on the final shortlist. But the decision to include an additional 4 nominations that are based in the city, all of whom have made no more of an impact than other team-mates has demonstrates that the tinted spectacles don’t just adorn the noses of the city’s football fans, but of its journalists as well.
Here is the full list of the Manchester Evening News’s nominations for Sports Personality of the Year 2011,