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banner Sunday, 9 December, 2001, 22:25 GMT
Is Beckham the right choice?
David Beckham has enjoyed a superb year for England and Man Utd
David Beckham is voted BBC Sports Personality Of The Year for 2001.

Has the public made the right decision?


The Manchester United midfielder has flourished for both club and country this season, and will captain England in next year's World Cup finals.

His international performances have been widely acclaimed, and at club level he played a major role for Man Utd as they won their seventh League title in nine seasons.

The 26-year-old has beaten a host of world champions to the award, including yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur, boxer Lennox Lewis and snooker star Ronnie O'Sullivan.

He is undoubtedly a hero to millions, but did Beckham get your vote for Sports Personality Of The Year?

Who was your selection? And is Beckham a worthy winner?


Beckham was the right choice because the viewers decide, but the real losers were the viewers themselves. The programme hardly showed any highlights of the year. It appeared the producers were trying to produce an "arty" programme. Please BBC next year return to the winning formula, giving us a unique look back at the years sporting events.
David Potter, England

I am utterly disappointed with this year's choice. Beckham was in no way a deserving winner, the achievements of Ellen MacAurthur outweigh Beckham's achievements by far. I suppose the only reason why "Becks" won was because his millions of adoring female groupies probably were in cahoots together and all phoned in on the night of the so called awards.

The public is too narrow-minded to be allowed to vote.
Ed, UK

It looks like a kicking a ball around a field is more important than exploring the world and taking risks. Is that the example you want to set for the younger generation? It is truly sad that the world has come to this. Preposterous!
Vincent Depuis and Julliana Demorea, Cannes, France

Of course Ellen MacArthur should have won it. The only trouble is that the females of this country did not bother to vote for her and it was left to the football supporters throughout the country to vote for David. Nice bloke that he is, it was the great publicity which won him the Sports Personality of the Year,

There is always another year, when I hope that the females of this country and a few of the males will vote for Ellen, so she can finally win what she should have won this year.
Ronald Nuttall, England

Oh dear. The year's best team, apparently, was a football team; the best coach, a football coach; the lifetime achievement award went to another football coach; and the sports personality of the year was, surprisingly, a footballer, as was the third-placed sports personality. Beckham did less for England in football than Wilkinson does in rugby union. Please reverse the trend towards democratic awards - the public is too narrow-minded to be allowed to vote.
Ed, UK

I see that the David Beckham fan club phoned up en masse on Sunday night. Ellen MacArthur was the most worthy on the show. David Beckham? Well he kicked a few balls at the right time! Do we ever get to see the results of the voting?
Jeremy Radcliffe, UK

I'm more annoyed at Sven-Goran Eriksson winning 'Coach of The Year" over Martin O'Neill
Robert McDowell, Scotland

Delighted that a sailor and woman got second place. I'm sure she is in top place in the hearts of her country men.
Charles D. Leavell, United States

I'm not too bothered about Beckham winning anything, but I'm more annoyed at Sven-Goran Eriksson winning 'Coach of The Year" over Martin O'Neill. Martin O'Neill took over the reigns at Celtic in July of 2000 and turned the team from a club in desperation, to an unstoppable force in Scottish football, sweeping the board in his first season as boss. When England go out of the World Cup next year in the first round, they'll be asking for Eriksson's head.
Robert McDowell, Scotland

I was not surprised to see Beckham being voted the new Personality of the Year. He is the hero of the masses and therefore truly deserves it.
Kiki, France

Ellen would of been a much more worthy winner than David Beckham, Whilst not taking anything away from Mr Beckham I feel that he has not done anything out of the ordinary for football over the last year. Ellen on the other hand has achieved what no other woman before her has and showed great courage and determination, and in my view would have been a much more worthy winner.
Liz, UK

MacArthur risked life and limb in one of the hardest sporting events on earth
Graham Orr, UK

David Beckham is the most over-rated player I have ever known. He won the award because he scored a jammy goal in the last minute of the match. What would have happened if he missed. No one remembers that he had eight or nine other chances and they were all rubbish.

The award should have gone to Michael Owen. He scored a HAT-TRICK against Germany. The last person to do that was Geoff Hurst. Plus he helped Liverpool to win five trophies. He is world class. I don't doubt Beckham is a good player, but that's all he is, a good player.
Owen, Conwy, North Wales

Beckham's award was bound to happen as most voters would be interested in soccer. What irritated me was your bad taste item on rugby league. Another example of the establishment showing its dislike for the sport.
Alan Wilkinson, UK

Beckham may have deserved an award considering his comeback from the shame of France '98. But for goodness sake, MacArthur risked life and limb in one of the hardest sporting events on earth, BY HERSELF! Beckham scored an equaliser, not even a winner, MacArthur deserved it by a mile. Simple as that.
Graham Orr, UK

Give David Beckham the credit he deserves, he has turned from villain to hero and taken England to the World Cup Finals.
Michelle, Dubai, UAE

I thought you had to have a personality in order to win an award for it!
Caroline Langdon, UK

David Beckham fully deserves the award. For those who believe the BBC are biased to football would do well to remember it is the PUBLIC'S vote. As sailing is not seen as a national sport performed by millions it is good for the public to recognise Ellen MacArthur achievements at all!
Adam, UK

It's the same old story - our real WORLD champions do not get the recognition that they deserve. Just look back to four times World Superbike champion, Carl Fogarty. All he ever got was 60 seconds of interview during the program. Ellen MacArthur was this year's real champion.
Simon, England

I thought you had to have a personality in order to win an award for it! It appeared a foregone conclusion, the BBC have for the past week or so been sending out the "Vote For Beckham" message and the rest of the country like sporting sheep have gone with it.
Caroline Langdon, UK

I think the best man won, yes we have seen a lot of great personalities victorious in their own fields. But has anybody turned the emotions of the nation more than Beckham did when that free kick hit the back of the net - Becks isn't my hero, he's a national hero.
Rob Mc, England

Beckham won the award after being head and shoulders above the rest in the most competitive sport of all. Ellen MacArthur excelled in a minority sport enjoyed by a few. There is no comparison, Beckham deserved to win.
Adam, UK

I am a big fan of David Beckham - he has had a great year, but the achievements of Ellen McArthur are far in excess of anyone else's - she should definitely have won. People like Lennox Lewis and Tim Henman should not even have been in the running.
Peter Chiswell, U.K.

Ellen is very young so hopefully the opportunity will come her way again
Paul Stacey, England

How can anyone say that it's biased towards football? Only four footballers have ever won the prize. Also I don't think there's any point in complaining after an award ceremony particularly when you've had at least six weeks to vote. Why didn't the people who felt MacArthur deserved it not rally their friends and family to vote with them? She may even have won it!
Nafisa, England

Football is for the masses and the masses voted for Beckham. When sailing becomes our national sport then Ellen MacArthur might win it. I voted for her, I think what she did is amazing. However, I have more chance of emulating Becks with a 2.99 football than I do of emulating Ellen with a 4m pound boat. Therefore Becks is the right choice for the masses and Ellen was the right choice for the Helen Rollason award.
Andrew, UK

In Ellen MacArthur Britain has a true champion. Her story is one of real dedication. Whilst I do not begrudge Beckham the award, his real test will come next year in the World Cup finals. Ellen has passed every examination set her this year with flying colours. Ellen is very young so hopefully the opportunity will come her way again. But any contestant up against the massive money machine that is football will be disadvantaged.
Paul Stacey, England

I think Beckham fully deserved to win the award. Never have I seen such a passionate performance in the game against Greece from an English player. Beckham has been outstanding in both club and country this year and I'm sure he'll lead by example in the World Cup.
James, Kenya

Beckham is a great footballer and should probably win European footballer of the year. However, he is not a world champion. Britain has Jonathon Edwards, Richard Burns and, most impressively, Lennox Lewis, who are world champions in their fields. I believe Lennox Lewis should have won the award for the great courage and skill he showed in defeating Hasim Rahman - Lewis is a true champion in the hardest game of all.
Graeme Hind, England

This is long overdue, Beckham has had a tough ride with the press and he thoroughly deserves this award!

I see that everyone thinks that it's a fix as usual, but it is actually chosen by public vote not by the BBC. So if you wanted Ellen to win then you should have phoned and voted for her! There can only be one winner, David's performance in the Greece game deserved the accolades he received.
Paul, UK

The problem with this type of award is that it is merely a popularity contest for individuals who manage to maintain a profile in public life. In Beckham's case it would seem that the tabloid obsession with his lifestyle has achieved this for him regardless of actual achievement. Others far more worthy would have fared better if the voting had been more objective. Real achievements such of those by Steve Redgrave (last year) and Ellen MacArthur need to be recognised so that young people get the right message about sporting excellence.

I think this is long overdue, Beckham has had a tough ride with the press and I think he thoroughly deserves this award!
Ryan O'Neill, UK

Like many of your other respondents I am happy to acknowledge that David Beckham has been generally superb as England captain and has played a full part in our qualifying for the world cup finals. However I find it ludicrous that anyone can put his achievement in standing out within what is still a mediocre team on a level with those of Ellen MacArthur. Anyone who watched the incredible scenes of her return to port at the end of the Vendee challenge can surely be in no doubt as to who is the real sports personality of the year.
Neil, UK

I'm sure what Ellen MacArthur did was very impressive, but the fact is the majority of people don't know much about sailing. However millions have watched the last few England games and been amazed at the transformation of the Beckham and by that token the entire team. As for Michael Owen not winning it, don't forget he has won it before, so let Beckham have his day, he has earnt it.
John, England

I can understand why, but I don't like it. Jonathan Edwards and/or Ellen MacArthur were the obvious choices. Let the footballers wait 12 months until they may have actually done something.
Allister Webb, England

Could we have a separate event for sports other than football in future?
Ben H, UK

I feel that Ellen MacArthur should have received this award. Does Beckham, or indeed football, need the recognition. Surely a sport that has really been brought to the public's attention this year is sailing - and in particular women's sailing. The achievement made by Ellen (not only battling against the elements, but against a male dominated area) deserves more recognition. This result sadly reflects the amount of coverage given to football by the media at the expense of a lot of other far more interesting sports.
Fiona, UK

Given that the lead award is a popularity contest rather than a "personality" contest, it's no real surprise Beckham won. What was scandalous was the football under card judged by the "panel". Liverpool as team of the year? They failed to win the two big competitions - the Champions League and the Premiership - whereas the Leicester Tigers won both of theirs and a third trophy to boot. Could we have a separate event for sports other than football in future?
Ben H, UK

The programme told the story itself. The highlights of Ellen MacArthur's circumnavigation with all the courage, self-determination and skill displayed versus the protracted 'highlight' of two seconds of Beckham kicking a ball. The achievements of MacArthur belittle those of Beckham to a ridiculous extent. In terms of personality, well, need I say more?
Duncan Jeffery, UK

Surely Beckham is not the right choice. Why are we forgetting Michael Owen, who has inspired both Liverpool and England? He scored vital goals against Germany in that historic win. Moreover, he helped Liverpool win three titles last season. Guys, what else are we looking for?
Joel Maina, Kenya

Beckham really deserves this prize because of what he has done for English football. Without him we wouldn't be in the world cup finals.
James Forshaw, England

David Beckham thoroughly deserves the award and is a true role model
Paul Helsby, England

Ellen was robbed. When has Beckham ever risked his life during a game of football or fought alone without ten teammates for backup? Women's sporting achievements were almost totally ignored for two hours. Do we have no women golfers, football teams, cricket teams, athletes? It's a wonder Ellen got a look in. She looked annoyed off and I don't blame her. What more could you expect of any human being, male or female?
Pippa, England

This award can only assist in taking Beckham to another level. His performance in World cup qualifiers has been an inspiration to the team and to the public. His genuine hunger to win games has marked him out to be a great player and led the countries optimism for a successful World cup bid. The award is one that Beckham deserves. However lets hope that he will be the first to pick up an entirely different trophy in 2002.
Jonathan Powling, England

What a fiasco, surely this was just an exercise in how many Man Utd fans can use a phone rather than a well deserved award, this has ridiculed what once stood for a worthy honour.

What did Beckham do this season, other than encroach on every photo of England goal celebrations. If the award has to be given to a footballer (only because it's the most popular sport) then surely Michael Owen couldn't have achieved much more, and he actually has a personality. DISGRACEFUL!
Robert Lea, England

What a joke. Michael Owen won five medals and scored three against the Germans. If he played for Man Utd he probably would have won it.
Withheld due to disgust, England

Sports 'personality' of the year? This should be renamed. My reason for this is that the 'personality' element implies that the winner of this award should have some (personality that is!). I feel that Beckham may have been a contender if the award was for 'most popular' or just 'sportsperson' of the year'. There are many sporting heroes out there with charisma and personality and I don't feel that Beckham (bless!) has any!
Tina Kirby, UK

The real winner was Ellen MacArthur
Sam, UK

Beckham is a good footballer but does not deserve the accolade. Yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur has worked harder with much less financial reward and global recognition for her exploits.
Alan, UK

David Beckham thoroughly deserves the award and is a true role model.
Paul Helsby, England

I would have given Ellen MacArthur the Personality of the year by a mile due to the difficulties she faced. David Beckham, I feel, won the award on the basis of the England-Germany game more than anything. Also why were 2/3 of the prizes awarded to footballers? Come on BBC, this is not a fair representation!
Steve, UK

David has proven himself as an athlete, a role model and a rhino-skinned press target. This award not only acknowledges his professional talents but also praises him for not giving in to the tabloid attacks that have harassed instead of encouraging this unique talent.
Paul Andrew Cargill, Scotland

No problem with Beckham as Sports Personality of the year. After that fine last minute goal against Greece, would we think of anyone else? But why call the show 'sports' personality of the year. It was all football - Beckham, Owen, Sir Ferguson, Houllier, Eriksson etc. Football personalities of the year could be more appropriate.

R Albia UK

No I don't think they've made the right choice. I personally voted for Ellen MacArthur due to her outstanding achievements, Beckham lives the life of luxury earning loads of money. Ellen's achievement is unique, and because of that I think she should have got it.
Toby, UK

The real winner was Ellen MacArthur. Beckham would have gone up in my estimation if he had handed the trophy to Ellen.
Sam, UK

Sorry - he might be a hero to millions, and be talented in his chosen sport but he is one of a team as is Michael Owen - and both of them (and football generally) totally over hyped by the British (and overseas media!). Look at the Radio times for this programme - totally biased in Beckham's favour! Football and football players are completely over hyped and overpaid!

Ellen MacArthur got my vote this year, given that Matthew Pinsent (and James Cracknell) didn't make the top six- strong, driven independent and a brilliant team player as well and brave - she has a Personality!

Very disappointed BBC.

Links to more Sports Personality stories are at the foot of the page.

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