2016 wasn’t a bad sporting year. Great Britain ruled the Olympics, England’s rugby union team went through the year unbeaten and a little club won the Premier League.
Can 2017 top it? I doubt it, although the following would deliver good cheer to the Swann household at least.
1) Mercedes should get Max Verstappen to drive their Formula One car. Hiring an unknown like Valtteri Bottas to be Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate would confirm Mercedes want a procession rather than a contest in next year’s Drivers Championship. Verstappen would trounce Hamilton on a level playing field which would be lovely to behold.
2) The 2018 World Cup Finals will be removed from Russia and taken somewhere less corrupt, like North Korea for instance.
3) The bonkers idea of a 48-team World Cup Finals is kicked into the long grass for good. Who on earth wants to watch Scotland v DR Congo?
4) Joe Root becomes England captain and leads them to seven Test match wins in the summer. Green, seaming wickets and regular visits to Lourdes for Jimmy Anderson will help.
5) The first-class cricket counties sign a pact not to employ overseas players for a season. You never know a decent English spin bowler might turn up.
6) The British Lions win in New Zealand to stop ludicrous claims the All Blacks are the best sporting team in the history of the world. They’re not, they play in a sport with four adequate international teams.
7) Sir Dave Brailsford leaves Team Sky before he does cycling permanent damage with his prevarications, cover-ups and downright stupidity.
8) Peterborough United win promotion to celebrate Darragh MacAnthony’s glorious (mainly) 10-year reign as chairman. He and manager Grant McCann are then awarded the freedom of the city for a true achievement in a proper sport.
9) Posh regain ownership of their London Road stadium. Progress is tough when paying obscene and absurd amounts of rent.
10) Spurs to finish above Arsenal in the Premier League. Surely Arsene Wenger would then have to be put out of his misery.
11) Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri leaves the club while his stock is still high. Fans are fickle. They’ll soon be blaming the boss for a predictable return to mediocrity.
12) Andy Murray wins the Australian Open and the French Open to complete a career Grand Slam. He isn’t going to reach a double figure amount of major victories, but he can still join a reasonably exclusive club of players who have won all four Slams.
13) Gary Lineker retires from television to work on behalf of the underprivileged thus practicising what he preaches. It’s easy to issue sentimental and caring tweets. Far harder to give up a gilded lifestyle to do good for others.
14) I finally get to watch the PDC World Darts Championships live. It looks so much fun.