McCoy takes pride of place on alternative SPOTY shortlist

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Jenson Button is the favourite to be BBC Sports Personality of the Year tomorrow night but our writers offer a few candidates not on the shortlist.

Chief Sports Writer James Lawton picks Tony McCoy

Arguably the greatest, but certainly the bravest, practising professional is Tony McCoy who could have won SPOTY with supreme justice any year from the mid-Nineties, when he first annexed the champion jump jockey title, to today. The man from Moneyglass, Co Antrim is, at 35, the most phenomenally driven sportsman. Not for him the dopey pilgrimage to Belgrade for cow's placenta when injury threatens his daily business. McCoy submits himself to regimes guaranteed to glaze the eyes of the strongest men, and he is in a class of his own.

Football Correspondent Sam Wallace picks Wayne Rooney

Where's Rooney? How can the BBC leave out the raging bull of the England football team; the man who puts the Manchester United side on his back and carries them through their most difficult moments? Ryan Giggs deserves his place, but he would admit that at United it is Rooney who is the most important player. His run of five goals in five games at the start of the year began United's push for their title. He equalled the goalscoring record for an England player in qualification. Last season he quelled his attacking instincts so Cristiano Ronaldo could prance about. He may turn up at the awards chewing gum. But so what? He does things his own way.

Cricket Correspondent Stephen Brenkley picks Charlotte Edwards

Just two women on the shortlist is some sort of sick BBC joke. In overlooking the achievements of the England women's cricket team, the Beeb has failed in its duty. Only by ensuring that they are the team of the year can compensation be made. No member of the team which has come to dominate world cricket can find a place. Earlier this year, England, already holders of the Ashes, won the Women's World Cup and destroyed New Zealand to lift the inaugural Women's World Twenty20. The player who led them, the blessed Edwards, should have been nominated and, if not her, then the world's top female batsman, Claire Taylor, who scored 76no from 53 balls in the World Twenty20 semi-final.

Golf Correspondent James Corrigan picks Lee Westwood

Why is Andy Murray included and not Westwood? Both are world No 4, but last year Westwood was outside the top 10 and Murray was No 4. "But Andy went all the way to the semi-finals of Wimbledon," they will scream. Westwood missed out on the Open Championship play-off by a single shot. If it's about personality, how about this. Nine years after first winning the European Tour money list, Westwood did it again, exorcising the ghosts of that slump which saw him drop out of the world's top 250. The 36-year-old has at the very least been Murray's equal. I won't even mention Giggs.

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