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  Sunday, 9 December, 2001, 22:08 GMT
Beckham lands BBC honour
Ellen MacArthur, David Beckham, Sir Alex Ferguson and Michael Owen at the BBC awards
All smiles: MacArthur, Beckham, Ferguson and Owen
England football hero David Beckham has been voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2001.

The Manchester United star was close to tears as he accepted the honour at a star-studded ceremony at Television Centre in London on Sunday.

British yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur was runner-up, with Liverpool and England striker Michael Owen in third.

More than 750,000 people took part in a phone vote for the award.


There's only only one man that we all look up to
Beckham on Sir Alex Ferguson

A shortlist of six contenders also included boxer Lennox Lewis, tennis player Tim Henman and world triple jump champion Jonathan Edwards.

Beckham thanked his team-mates, family and wife Victoria after receiving the honour.

And he made special mention of club manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who was given a lifetime achievement award during the programme.

Afterwards, he revealed how agonising the wait had been for the awards to be announced.

"I've got a little bit of a headache, that's how nerve-wracking it was, but I've enjoyed the whole night," said Beckham.

The award caps a remarkable change of fortunes for the midfielder, who was vilified after being sent off in England's World Cup defeat by Argentina in 1998.

Beckham was a national hero in 2001 when his late free-kick against Greece earned his country a place in next year's finals.

Ellen MacArthur
MacArthur took the Helen Rollason Award

Liverpool FC manager Gerard Houllier, who underwent emergency heart surgery eight weeks ago, was presented with the Team of the Year award on behalf of his side.

The club won the Uefa, FA and Worthington cups in an incredible season.

"My thoughts and thanks go to the players," said Houllier, speaking via a satellite link.

"But above all, I'd like to thank the fans. No one knows better than me that they deserve it."

Houllier indicated he hoped to return to Anfield in some capacity at the end of next month.

England's Sven-Goran Eriksson was named Coach of the Year, and thanked his players and the fans, saying, "I have never known better supporters."

Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic won Overseas Sports Personality of the Year.

Yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur was clearly moved to pick up the special Helen Rollason Award.

And 16-year-old sprinter Amy Spencer was first recipient of the new Young Personality of the Year honour.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sports Personality of the Year David Beckham
"It's a great privilege to receive this award"
England captain David Beckham
"I've enjoyed the whole night"

Beckham honour

The 2001 show

Winners profiled

Have your say

THE NIGHT IN PICTURES

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


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