According to the bookies Jenson Button is in pole position – a virtual shoo-in at 2-1 on – to become Sports Personality of the Year. Not so, hint some BBC insiders, who sense that for the second successive year a Formula One world champion won't get the chequered flag on 13 December. Put your money on a current outsider, they suggest: Ryan Giggs, who would be the first footballer to carry off the trophy since David Beckham in 2001. An escalating Facebook campaign, allied to an anticipated massive vote from Wales, and Manchester United's nationwide supporters, is pushing 35-year-old Giggsy into the frame, so watch for his 40-1 odds to be slashed. We also like the suggestion of reader Anthea Hawkins that Button should be undone by wonder horse Sea the Stars. Keep looking in that mirror, Jenson. There are a couple of thoroughbreds coming up fast on the rails.
Duke overdue at Palace
This is also the time when thoughts turn to which sports bods might be gonged in the New Year Honours. We are told this column helped Britain's oldest football coach, ex-Welsh international Ivor Powell, to receive a belated MBE in his nineties; so here's a nudge for another that seems well overdue. Duke McKenzie was one of our most distinguished world boxing champions (three titles at different weights) who these days devotes his energies to getting scores of unruly kids – some of them tagged and curfewed – back on the straight and narrow by teaching them boxing skills. The successes achieved by the Croydon-based McKenzie 46, are outstanding. He has never been honoured for his achievements in the ring or out but surely should be. Perhaps the Palace think that as a Duke he's royal enough already.
Brown mistimes his tackle
The tardiness of Gordon Brown in congratulating gymnast Beth Tweddle on her world championship victory contrasted sharply with the felicitations communicated to Jenson Button almost before he had finished spraying the Moët. Timing doesn't seem to be the strongest point in Government sports policy these days, as witnessed by the announcement of Sir Steve Redgrave as their new 'sports champion' during the Conservative party conference. This failed to bury the news of the 'defection' of Dame Kelly Holmes, hitherto the Government's prized sporting pin-up, to support the Tories' plan for a Schools Olympics, causing consternation at No 10.
A handbag? No, shorts
England's 2018 World Cup bidders are fighting back, and it's no longer handbags at 10 paces. Boxer shorts are the latest fashion accessory in the PR offensive. Carl Froch's trunks bore the 2018 logo in his world-title fight and there are plans for those worn by David Haye and Amir Khan to be similarly adorned in their upcoming world championship battles. All three are football fans – Froch (Nottingham Forest), Haye (Millwall) and Khan (Bolton). And as suggested here last week, much-needed stardust is set to be sprinkled on the bid, with Gary Lineker given a more prominent role.