IF I had a pound for every person who put a note in their Christmas card saying “how on earth will the sport of 2013 match 2012?”, I’d have four pounds.
But fear not, miseries. A vintage 12 months lies ahead, starting with jockey Frankie Dettori winning Celebrity Big Brother, and then after a brief spell at scrum-half for Italy in the Six Nations, and suitably rehabilitated into the public’s good books, winning the Derby two weeks after returning to the saddle following his drugs ban.
A last minute drop-goal by Richie Gray will give Scotland victory in the final match of the Six Nations against France, handing England the title by default.
The British and Irish Lions will then come back from losing the first Test in Australia to win the series 2-1 with a last-gasp try from substitute Stuart Hogg, converted by Toby Flood – another fine example of the Anglo-Scottish accord.
The Ashes will rival the 2005 series, with England stuttering in the opening two Tests, only to triumph 3-2 when captain Alastair Cook creates history, carrying his bat in both innings in the final match at the Oval.
Chelsea will beat Manchester United 4-3 in the greatest FA Cup final ever, Frank Lampard in his final match for the club scoring the first hat-trick since Stan Mortensen sixty years earlier.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, incandescent at only 16 minutes of added time being played, will resign live on television, forgetting that the following week his side are in the Champions League final against Barcelona. Rafael Benitez, sacked as Chelsea boss after the FA Cup Final, will then take charge of United for a single match, when Rio Ferdinand’s last-minute bicycle kick from outside the penalty box will make United champions of Europe.
Andy Murray, third in Sports Personality of the Year in 2012, will be runner-up in 2013 behind Cook, despite winning two grand slam titles, but losing a five-set Wimbledon final to the unseeded comeback story of the year, Lleyton Hewitt, proving the Aussies can at least win one thing. “Next year,” says Murray.
Honest. That’s how 2013 can follow 2012.
And then of course it will be 2014. A year that will end in huge controversy when, following his victory in three of tennis’s grand slams, including Wimbledon, Murray is overwhelming favourite to succeed Cook as Sports Personality victor.
Except Scotland will have just voted to become independent, thereby ruling him out.
You see, pessimists, what the amazing 2012 taught us was that sport has no script. Sometimes you really can’t make it up.