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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 18:01 GMT
Sports Personality of 2007?
Jenson ButtonJoe CalzagheSteve GerrardLewis HamiltonAmir KhanAndy MurrayMonty PanesarPaula RadcliffeWayne RooneyJohn Terry

By BBC Sport's Honest Frank
Our resident betting expert

A new year, and a perennial debate is up and running quicker than an English batsman heading for the pavilion.

Just who might be voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year - in 2007?

We will be taking a completely unscientific look at some of the award front-runners at random times throughout the year, and start by looking at the top 10 according to the bookmakers.

Last year's winner Zara Phillips was barely in the betting 12 months ago but already two candidates stand out.

Andy Murray (the new McEnroe) and Paula Radcliffe (the new mother) are rated favourites to have the honour of being "amazed, yah, really amazed" when the big prize is awarded in 11 months' time.

And remember folks, it's just for fun! The real vote is much later in the year...

THE EARLY FRONT-RUNNERS

ANDY MURRAY (Tennis)
4-1
New balls please. With Tim Henman's era as a Sports Personality contender over, it's time for Andy Murray to fill his nearly-man shoes.

Henman was twice runner-up for the BBC prize, without making a major final. The Scot may do better, though he's still only a teenager.

As a so-called wizard of odds, I'd be happier than a Big Brother publicist to see Murray hailed the Wizard of Oz by winning at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Key dates: 28 Jan Aussie Open final, 8 July Wimbledon final, 9 Sep US Open final (his favourite slam)

I can see the headline now:
"MURRAY MINTED - Great Scot wows Wimbledon"

PAULA RADCLIFFE (Athletics)
8-1
A new mum with China in her hand. Whoops, got ahead of myself there, but with the Beijing Olympics in 2008 almost round the bend, she is bound to be chasing medals, and probably just months after having her baby daughter Isla.

A win at the world championships would be the mother of all victories, you could say.

A worthy contender - the nipper, I mean. She must be in the running for Young Sports Personality of the Year after that marathon birth.

Key dates: 25 Aug 10,000m or 2 Sep Marathon, World Athletics Championships, Osaka, Japan.

I can see the headline now: "You've run a long way, baby"

JENSON BUTTON (Motorsport)
10-1
One Grand Prix win and he made the 2006 shortlist. To be fair, it was at the 113th attempt. A near certainty if he wins the world title. If.

Anything could happen in a big year for British Formula One drivers - with Lewis Hamilton, David Coulthard and Anthony Davidson giving the UK nearly a fifth of the grid.

I can see the headline now: "Button a glutton for glory"

Key dates: 18 Mar F1 season starts - Melbourne GP, 8 July British GP, Silverstone

WAYNE ROONEY (Football)
12-1
Imagine those smug Red Devils if Rooney fires United towards a treble at the new Wembley. A former Young Personality, although some might argue his Mersey beau Coleen has more personality.

Mind you, Coleen - what does she do exactly? I mean what is her job description...personal shopper, footballer's wife, model. On second thoughts, what are the odds on her winning...

Key dates: 19 May FA Cup final, 21 Nov Euro 2008 final qualifier Croatia v England

I can see the headline now: "Wayne's a Wembley wonderboy"

LEWIS HAMILTON (Motorsport)
14-1
With Schumacher gone, Formula One is entering a new era and there's a buzz about the British prospects.

But the 22-year-old Hamilton, breaking ground as the first black F1 driver, has a baptism of fire in his first season, alongside McLaren team-mate and world champion Fernando Alonso.

Key dates: See Button.

I can see the headline now: "Schuey? Lewis makes the news"

AMIR KHAN (Boxing)
16-1
How did Bolton become so fashionable? Peter Kay, Vernon Kay and now Amir K.

The Olympic silver medallist has the world at his feet, and that's exactly where he'll put some of his opponents. The first Asian to win the Sports Personality award?

Key dates: 17 February, next fight - Wembley Arena.

I can see the headline now: "Khan a knockout in Rocky 7"

STEVEN GERRARD (Football)
18-1
Football's our national game, right? Yet only four footballers have ever been crowned Sports Personality - what's that all about? Moore, Owen, Gazza, Becks - sounds more like a Take That reunion.

Gerrard needs to repeat his heroics of Istanbul, and then some, to feature.

Key dates: 23 May Champions League final, Athens, 21 Nov Euro 2008 final qualifier Croatia v England

I can see the headline now: G-FORCE - Gerrard's a Euro star again (OK, I can't really see that one)

JOE CALZAGHE (Boxing)
20-1
The Welsh/Italian Dragon was no doubt breathing fire after a gymnast called Tweddle finished ahead of him in the 2006 award.

Judged on that, would probably have to knock out Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis to get the verdict this time.

Key dates: 7 April WBO title defence v Peter Manfredo Jr, Cardiff

I can see the headline now: "Smokin' Joe packs Personality punch"

JOHN TERRY (Football)
25-1
If only JT was a winning athlete. Terry's all gold. I can see it now. Or even a Dutch footballer. Terry's chocolate orange.

I digress, but was there a Terry in Take That, or am I thinking of Brotherhood of Man?

Key dates: See Rooney and Lampard.

I can see the headline now: "Terry's all..." - you get the picture

MONTY PANESAR (Cricket)
25-1
Save all your misses for me. OK, Monty's fielding has improved, and he boosted England's battered pride in Australia better than any spin doctor.

Winner of 2006 Beard of the Year. That wasn't a close shave.

Key dates: 13 March Cricket World Cup starts, Caribbean, 23 April Day before semi-finals (Flight home)

I can see the headline now: "Monty's revenge"

BUBBLING UNDER

ANDREW FLINTOFF (Cricket)
33-1
Freddie oversaw a humiliating Ashes defeat down under. And he didn't even say sorry. Thankfully, we don't have to go through that again for at least two and a half years.

A rightful winner after his 2005 heroics, but more chance of winning Rear of the Year two years on.

Key dates: See Panesar.

I can see the headline now: Er, no I definitely can't

FRANK LAMPARD (Football)
OK, I hate to labour (no pun intended, Paula) the point but more athletes have won the award since 1990 than footballers have in the trophy's 52-year history.

And Chelsea, the club who spent their way to the title with a multi-millionaire international galaxy of talent, are falling out among themselves. Shame.

Key dates: 13 May, last day of Premiership season. Man Utd are at home to West Ham.

I can see the headline now: "Jubilant Jose - Frank's for everything"

RICKY HATTON (Boxing)
A popular Manchester sporting icon is likely to take America by storm in 2007.

But that's enough about Ricky Hatton, who should have a few cards up his sleeve for his first Vegas bill-topper against a Colombian opponent on Saturday. David Beckham is also due in the States in 2007.

Key dates: 20 Jan, IBF light-welterweight title v Juan Urango, Las Vegas

I can see the headline now: "The Hitman's last tango for Urango"

OUTSIDERS

With the real World Cup more than three years away, we have to make do with the cricket and rugby versions.

The cricket we can safely write off, but the rugger is more interesting, and I don't mean the crocked Jonny Wilkinson, who was Sports Personality after England's heroics in the last tournament four years ago.

Clockwise: Hook, White, O'Sullivan and Rose
Clockwise: Hook, White, O'Sullivan and Rose

Fly-half James Hook is the talk of Wales - he's the new Gareth Edwards. That's a small joke, by the way, even Anne Robinson knows Edwards was a scrum-half.

For football fans, you'll have to switch sides, and follow the ladies. The English gals are in the Women's World Cup, and Faye White is expected to skipper the team in China.

50-1
For personality, even if it is an unpredictable one, look no further than snooker's Ronnie O'Sullivan. The greatest enigma of the baize since Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins, and even more talented.

But the diamond-patterned shrewdies tell me this could be a big year for British golf, and forgotten man Justin Rose is creeping into form.

OTHER CHAT

To measure who's getting the most column inches, and generally chart the talked-about people, Sportdaq will be one of our ports of call.

The virtual trading game pays out virtual dividends, and the top shares make our monitor. Think interest rates without the mortgage misery.

Sportdaq monitor: Andrew Flintoff, Michael Vaughan, Andy Murray, Alan Curbishley, Frank Lampard.

We'll also be looking at who's wowing the internet world, judging by the number of posts they have attracted in recent weeks in the blogosphere.

No, I haven't a clue what it's all about either (online diaries or something, apparently) but here's who's top for posts from that top 10, according to the Technorati website.

(The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites)
Top of the blogs: Andy Murray, Wayne Rooney, Monty Panesar, Jenson Button, Paula Radcliffe.

606: DEBATE
MS: Murray mania v great golf
And finally, some chat on the other Sports Personality awards.

Darts is the new cricket, so former postman Raymond van Barneveld can deliver the overseas award to Holland. Sorry, I forgot, darts was only talked about for the first fortnight of January.

That lad who doesn't seem to do any homework must be in line for young sports personality. You know, the sailor.

Team of the year? Anything that doesn't have the word England in it, probably.



VOTE RESULTS
Button
 3.28% 
Calzaghe
 7.11% 
Gerrard
 8.39% 
Hamilton
 9.90% 
Khan
 4.77% 
Murray
 36.52% 
Panesar
 8.32% 
Radcliffe
 2.69% 
Rooney
 4.87% 
Terry
 3.65% 
Other
 10.48% 
18854 Votes Cast
Who's your early fancy for 2007 Sports Personality?

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