Looking ahead to 2007 on the BBC
I spent a chilly afternoon earlier this month at the New Den with my mate Rod, watching his team Millwall play my team Bradford City.
I hope Colin Todd forgives me, but Bradford were pretty wretched and 2-0 down after half an hour. Why do we put ourselves through watching it? Well, I suppose it beats being in the Saturday checkout queues at Sainsbury’s.
It’s also about the endless battle between hope and reality – the belief that one day in sport we’ll make it, however much the odds are against us. But this past year has tested the optimism of English sports fans to the limit. From Twickenham to Perth via Gelsenkirchen, 2006 was a catalogue of disasters.
As someone who was at Murrayfield when Scotland deservedly beat England, and who watched Northern Ireland beat Spain in a Euro qualifier, I know there were reasons to be cheerful in other parts of the UK. But we face a new year in which no home nations are certain qualifiers for Euro 2008, and the All Blacks are odds-on favourites for the Rugby World Cup - which will be the showpiece of BBC Radio Five Live's autumn.
So at BBC Sport we’ll try to cheer you up with our coverage in 2007 even when the results are against us. The FA Cup has some cracking ties to get January off to a lively start. We'll be at Anfield, Old Trafford - and Tamworth. Every Six Nations rugby match will be live in its entirety on the BBC starting on February 3rd; and then our Cricket World Cup coverage on radio, online and television will bring some Caribbean warmth to March and April.
We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for Andy Murray at Wimbledon – and this year, surely, a European has to win one of golf’s majors? We’ll be at Augusta in April and Carnoustie in July. August brings the contrast of World Athletics from Osaka and the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final.
Then it’s a tense autumn for England’s footballers with the decisive battles against Israel, Russia and Croatia live on the BBC. From Wembley, we hope! All that with more digital choice of BBC Sport than ever before – plus the launch of a sports news show for BBC One presented by Gabby Logan.
So hope and reality may be at odds on the field of play, but we’ll do our best to give fans an entertaining journey through 2007 – and we’d love you to be with us all the way.