James Corrigan: I'm the sports audience, get the celebrities out of here

View From The Sofa: Our best and worst awards of 2009
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The Independent Culture

Legend has it (not to mention Google) that Jack Benny once stepped up to receive a comedy prize and pronounced: "I don't deserve this award. But then, I've got arthritis. And I don't deserve that either."

Oh, for the recipients of the "Sport On TV" winners to show such a mixture of humility and humour in our awards spectacular, which, as tradition dictates, will take place in the bunker underneath Dom Joly's residence. But there you are. As the sheikhs are often heard to say down at Manchester City, one can only work with what one's got. Here are our 2009 victors...

Best pundit

We can't give it to John McEnroe every year. David Lloyd is not everyone's cup of Darjeeling but to this column he can do no Oolong. Bumble is the one cricket commentator left in charge of a microphone who appreciates that to we heathens, Test match cricket can be a bit, erm, boring. "An Aussie came up to me in the hotel this morning and said, 'Hey, you look like one of The Proclaimers'," piped up Lloyd just as the eyelids were drooping. "I said to him, 'What d'you mean, one of them?' They're identical twins'."

Worst pundit

We can't give it to Alan Shearer every year. Yes we can! Wor' Al is this generation's Denis Law; a striker with magic in his boots and marshmallow in his gob. Bless the BBC for keeping him in the front line even when every instance of cranium-sucking banality demands he be packed off to work with Adrian Chiles and the reserves. It could have been all so different if Mike Ashley had any sense whatsoever and had handed Shearer the millions he said were necessary to return Newcastle to the promised land. But no, Ashley had to be clever. Sell all the best players, promote the janitor. And where do the Geordies find themselves now? Eight points clear at the top of the Championship. The Toon Army's gain is very much the Armchair Army's loss.

The 'I wish I'd said that' award

When Usain Bolt runs 100 metres there is not much time to react. It is the equivalent of calling the dawn shoot-out from Dodge City. Blink and you'll miss it. Blink twice and you'll miss the bodies being carried out. All credit, then, to Steve Cram for coming up with this the instant Bolt had crossed the line on one of our many rainy July evenings. "9.92 into a serious headwind," came the Cram cry. "He laughs, we draw breath and once again wonder at this man. Who can live with him? The flags fly, the Jamaican colours light up Crystal Palace and Usain Bolt continues on a journey, which perhaps only he knows where it will end. He shows he not only has the speed, but also the strength when the gales are in his face. No, not even the weather can slow down Usain Bolt."

The 'I wish he hadn't been allowed to say that' award

It was Saturday at Turnberry and Gary Lineker, the Andrew Marr of the fairways, was leading an in-depth discussion on the reasons Tiger Woods missed his first Open cut. Who better to ask than the well-known radio celebrity and lesser-known swing expert Chris Evans? "Well, in the pub last night we were saying it's because Tiger can't shape the ball." And there we had it. The most numbskulled comment from this or any sporting year. It said everything about the BBC's attitude. Sod the insight, give 'em a face they recognise. The corporation is celebrity-obsessed. Get them the hell out of here.