This column would’t survive without the heroic endeavours of some and the crass antics of many others.
Here are my ‘Heroes and Villains of 2014.
Jo Pavey showed that you can still be an outstanding athlete at 40 and after giving birth to two children by winning gold in the 10,000m at the European Championships.
Darragh MacAnthony for sticking with Posh and ensuring their immediate future by ignoring the crazy talk of his Twitter trolls.
Rory McIlroy for producing high class golf to snaffle two majors and most importantly for helping Europe to yet another Ryder Cup win over the Americans.
Paul McGinley for overseeing the said Ryder Cup. Hammering the Yanks at sport will never get boring.
Lizzie Yarnold (right), who flies down slopes on a tea-tray, for providing the personality at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year programme. Otherwise it was the bland being interviewed by the bland.
Novak Djokovic for being the best player in men’s tennis at a time when the tour is providing an incredible spectacle.
Lewis Bruce, the captain of Peterborough Town CC, for proving that nice guys do occasionally win.
David Moyes for making Manchester United so bad it made millions of football fans deliriously happy.
Kevin Pieterson whose ego won’t let him accept that he’s a spent force at the top level of cricket.
Stuart Lancaster, a coach who does not have a clue what his best England team is as we approach a world cup year in rugby union.
Sepp Blatter, a venemous disgrace leading football into the gutter.
Mike Riley, the chief of the worst bunch of so-called ‘elite’ referees in Premier League history.
Luis Suarez, a footballing genius with flaws that should embarrass him, but don’t.
Alastair Cook is a nice guy, but he needs to stop believing he is even competent in international one-day cricket.
Whoever is the diving coach at Chelsea. Jose Mourinho has built a great, entertaining team who don’t need to cheat as often as they do,
Mrs Roger Federer who turns out to be a heckler of her husband’s opponents.
Gary Lineker for his ‘pun-tastic’ role in making Match of the Day even harder to watch in 2014.
BBC Programme scheduler who takes the Football League show off the air when there are no Championship matches.
Phil Mickelson for his arrogant and embarrassing destruction of golfing legend Tom Watson’s performance at a post-match Ryder Cup press conference. He was right, but that wasn’t the point.
Ched Evans, a lower division footballer, for showing no remorse for his rape victim, but plenty of remorse to his girlfriend, the daughter of a millionaire.
Hero of the Year: Jo Pavey
Mum-of-two Jo Pavey is far from the greatest athlete in the world, but she delivered the most heart-warming story of 2014 when winning a gold medal at the European Athletics Championships, at the age of 40. It’s a brilliant achievement and an even better tale from a very likeable character.
Bah humbug to fixture planners
On the last 20 Boxing Days Posh have played at home three times.
Swindon Town have been given away games on Boxing Day in each of the last eight years and Newcastle United have played away on December 26 on 11 of the last 13 years.
It’s unfair for many reasons. Clubs can expect a bumper gate on Boxing Day for a start so it’s a big financial disadvantage for clubs to have to travel away from home so regularly.
Travelling can be an issue as well so why aren’t their more local derbies? Just this season Posh were losing at Chesterfield despite the presence of Marcus Maddison (above) and Notts County hosted MK Dons.
Why aren’t Posh playing their nearest rivals MK leaving Chesterfield to play County which is just up the road?
And another thing...
MOURINHO LOSES THE PLOT
More post-match brilliance from Jose Mourinho last weekend. The cheeky chappie had the gall to moan that his side weren’t given a penalty at Southampton because ‘there is a campaign to turn referees against Chelsea’.
Guilty as charged m’lud. Chelsea players have cheated so often this season I’m not surprised that the trip on Cesc Fabregas (above) at Southampton was ignored. Cry wolf too often and this is what happens.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL
Feedback keeps this column going so thanks to those who take the trouble to comment on my utterings, even those who love to slag me off for daring to have an opinion. The ‘Fanmail’ is often the best read on this page so a happy new year to you all!