There’s only one Mary this Christmas

It wouldn’t be Christmas without SPOTY (that’s the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year) and for the first time ever I actually voted because I couldn’t consider anyone else winning than England England’s Number 1, England’s Number 1 – the 5ft 61/2ins goddess between the posts that is Mary Earps.

The accolades have come thick and fast over the past few months and why not? What a fantastic role model she is for young girls. After being frozen out of the England squad by Phil Neville following the 2019 World Cup, Mearps persevered and ultimately under Sarina Weigman prevailed to be named the world’s leading goalkeeper a couple of weeks ago at the age of 30.

Her steely determination and unbridled passion on the field set an example to her England and Manchester United teammates and that ever so slightly crazy goalie temperament she has – the face pulling, the Gordon Banks acrobatics, the comedy swearing – that makes every game she is involved in a treat to watch.

The latest batch of replicas of her shirt sold out within five minutes such is her popularity, which is unheard of for a keeper even in the men’s game.

Well done Mearps. Soak it up. You deserve all of it.


Of course there had to be one (well two this time, actually) dissenting voice to Mary’s latest accolade and it came from professional irritant Piers Morgan via a posting on his X (formerly Twatter) account in which the odious egotist, rather than keeping his head down following the judge’s comments regarding Prince Harry’s successful case against Mirror News Group, postulated that the award should have gone to someone who had actually won something in 2023.

I wonder if they show SPOTY in prison…

Morgan’s spiteful aside echoes that of Joey Barton (mental age 8) a man not known for self control, who seems to have a real bee in his ballbag when it comes to women’s football.

His claim that he could score penalties against Mary any day of the week was missing just one thing (and he is obviously feeling very threatened) – a petulant “so there!”


Comedy chops to the Icelandic foreign minister this week for his crisis? What crisis? attitude over the volcanic eruption on the south west of the island which anyone not Icelandic has been given the impression that hell itself has come to the surface.

His nonchalant, smiley interview with Sky News about life going on as normal while images of a feiry apocalypse are projected behind him was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in ages.


You know that saying about really small dogs being snappy little bu***rs? Try asking Richy Rish when he’s going to stop the boats. But keep your fingers out of reach. The woman at the Liaison Committee grilling him this week almost lost hers.

Stupid TV quiz answers of the week

All from one guy on Tipping Point in the space of just 45 seconds

Q: Equestrian Life is a magazine for loveerss of which animal?

A: Dog

Q: The board game Time Of The Daleks is based on Which long running TV series?

A: Star Trek

Q: Canterbury Bite is a body of water located off the coast of which antipodean country?

A: Egypt?

Another Tipping Point:

Q: How many months are there in half a year?

A: Two

This is the last column of 2023. Here’s to what is likely to be an interesting 2024.


Edward Case