Brian Viner: Jacklin's bunker mentality unfair on a National treasure

The Last Word

Share
Related Topics

The problem with a printed account of what someone has said is that the tongue in the cheek can't be seen, the ironic tone not heard. I hope this was the case with a report earlier this week of an encounter with Tony Jacklin, the former Ryder Cup captain, who for a few weeks in the summer of 1970 held both the Open Championship and US Open titles simultaneously.

Jacklin was lamenting the way in which golfers tend to be overlooked in the coronation of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and he certainly has a point in relation to himself, for in 1970, having become the first Brit in 45 years to win the US Open, he was pipped to the main award by Henry Cooper. A year earlier, when he ended 18 years of British failure to win our own Open, he was runner-up to Ann Jones. Moreover, his towering achievement in winning the US Open was utterly eclipsed by the media coverage of the 1970 World Cup final between Brazil and Italy, which happened to fall on the same day. Like C S Lewis, who made the mistake of shuffling off his mortal coil on the same day as President John F Kennedy, or Farrah Fawcett, who drew her last breath in synchrony with Michael Jackson, Jacklin never got the column inches he deserved.

So he can be forgiven a little sourness, but you'd think it might have dissipated after 40 years. Not so, if last week's interview is anything to go by, but then he was surely being ironic when, in considering those who might win this year's BBC award ahead of Graeme McDowell, the likeable young fellow from Northern Ireland who last month became the first Brit since Jacklin to win the US Open, he rejected the claims of a Tony like himself, and indeed an Ulsterman like McDowell. "Tony McCoy? I can't say I've ever heard of him," said Jacklin. "Won the Grand National, did he? Surely it was the horse that did that. Of course I'd like Graeme McDowell to win, but it seems we're a minority sport. That's just how it is."

As a resident of Florida, Jacklin perhaps wasn't to know that in dismissing the right of McCoy to be anointed the 2010 Sports Personality of the Year, he had misdirected his shot more woefully than any Sunday morning hacker, for if anyone embodies the absurdity of the BBC's annual award-fest it is the man known as AP, who last year, the year in which he rode his 3,000th winner and became champion jump jockey for the 15th successive time, didn't even make the BBC's 10-person shortlist. Third place in 2002 remains the nearest he has got to the famous trophy shaped like a television camera. But everyone in sport (with the exception, obviously, of Jacklin) knows that the Sports Personality award can't be considered the real McCoy until the real McCoy's name is on it.

How a curve ball turned things around for Davey the giant-killer

On Tuesday, at the Rankin social club in Leominster, our nearest town, I chaired an evening of questions for the engaging new chairman of Hereford United, David Keyte, and the manager he recently appointed, Simon Davey. It was as Barnsley manager that Davey masterminded the two greatest FA Cup upsets of recent years, beating Liverpool away and Chelsea at home to reach a Wembley semi-final in 2008, so it is apt that he should find himself installed at Edgar Street, which witnessed the greatest FA Cup upset of yesteryear, non-league Hereford's famous 2-1 defeat of Newcastle United, in 1972.

On stage at the Rankin club, I asked Davey about Barnsley's thrilling FA Cup run, and he said that at Anfield, Rafa Benitez had been the least gracious of losers, while at Oakwell, Avram Grant could hardly have been more gracious. Nor, apparently, could John Terry. The erstwhile England captain has received consistently (and not exactly undeserved) bad press these last few months, so I'm pleased to report that at the end of that crushing defeat to Barnsley, he made his way to the home dressing room and offered the exultant players his congratulations, telling them they had thoroughly deserved their great victory and that he hoped they would go on to lift the Cup.

The new Hereford manager also told a lovely story about an even more celebrated England player, albeit before most of us had heard of him. In 1995, Davey made his home debut for Preston North End in the same game, against Doncaster Rovers, as a youngster by the name of Beckham on a month's loan from Manchester United. Davey had come from Carlisle United, where he had taken all the corners and free-kicks, so both he and Paul Raynor, the dead-ball specialist at Preston, were miffed to be told by manager Gary Peters that shy, young David was to be given all corners and free-kicks. They were both still sulking when the lad made his way over to take the first corner, which he promptly bent directly into the goal. In the next game, when a free-kick was awarded just outside the box, Davey eventually stood down after a little tussle with Beckham for the ball, then watched it fly into the top right-hand corner. "I have often wondered," said Davey, with a comedian's timing, "what would have happened to my career if I'd taken that free-kick."

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

John Rentoul
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...