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Button doesn’t have X Factor when it comes to sports personality
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Button doesn’t have X Factor when it comes to sports personality
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Dec 2009   |  1:13 pm GMT  |  67 comments

Jenson Button collected a trophy yesterday at the BBC’s Sport Personality of the Year award, but not the one he was expecting.

Button: lost out to Giggs (Darren Heath)

Button: lost out to Giggs (Darren Heath)

He was the favourite going into the event, but like Lewis Hamilton last year, the F1 world champion found himself demoted to second place, in this case by the Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs.

The award is based on a public vote during the programme and this year’s Sports Personality event was totally overshadowed by the X Factor talent show which was on at the same time on ITV and which drew an audience of 20 million people. BBC had a mere 4.7 million. This may well have contributed to Button’s demise, as Giggs’ supporters, particularly the Manchester United and Welsh contingents, were more committed to getting their man the vote. Button’s allies were concerned about this before the weekend.

Button will not be the only one licking his wounds this morning. Bookies William Hill took a bet from an individual of £24,560, the largest ever staked on the BBC Sports Personality event on Button at odds of 4/5 – giving the punter a potential return of £44,208.

But it wasn’t a bad weekend for Button; on Friday he claimed his trophy as F1 World Champion.

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Staggered that Ryan Giggs won I mean what outstanding achievement did he get this year. I could have accepted any of the other eight winning over Jenson (just) but Giggs winning made a mockery of the SPOTY who on earth decided he warrented a nomination. I did try hard to get JB to win don’t think hubby will be too pleased with phone bill when it arrives. Like last year the real winner came second.


It seems clear that BBC SPOTY is as outdated as our dear old Sue. What’s needed is a house that all the SPOTY contestants are put into with cameras to watch them interact with each other 24 hours a day for 12 weeks. They’ll be set various tasks to do and in return they’ll get food allowances based upon success. At the end of each week they will have a sing off followed by a public vote that evicts one of the housemates…only then will this old chestnut stand a chance of making a dent on XFactor ratings.


Well, iam happy he lost. He is a rich tax dodger and a driver who has never enthused alot of people. I for once was happy that giggs won….and iam an arsenal fan. Button doesn’t do anything for me iam afraid.


Giggs is a very worthy winner and very deserving. He follows a trend in recent years with people winning after many years at the top (Calzaghe 2007) and Hoy (2008).

With regards to F1 you have to say that it is very healthy in this country at present. Second for the last three years is some going. Football has been in the top three once as has swimming, athletics and cycling. Boxing has featured twice in the same period….


All the way through the show the presence of the X Factor on the other channel felt like the proverbial elephant in the room. If I was in power at the BBC, heads would roll over the utterly dunderheaded idea to put SPOTY up against that show. It may be crap, but The X-Factor’s ability to dominate its time slot is hardly news. The BBC should have known better.

Also, Ryan Giggs? Seriously? It’s Sports PERSONALITY Of The Year. Giggs hasn’t GOT any personality.


They knew, but couldn’t do anything about it because they had chosen to book this massive arena and sell tickets to the public. If it had been the old style show, with a studio at BBC TV Centre with just sporting figures there, they could have put it back an hour or so.


No one could begrudge Giggs the award considering the career he’s had – he’s a worthy winner. Jenson is just unlucky that it was his championship year when Giggsy got it. The same as Hamilton winning it in an Olympic year. Any other year and it was his.


Giggs is a very good Footballer who works hard and has done very well. However, he really has no discernable personality, nor has he done anything of note this year…. So you have to conclude he was just voted in by an organised group of Man U fans and the Welsh, I doubt anybody else would have even thought of voting for him.


SPOTY was a joke last night. What has Giggs done this year, nothing. I think it was an insult to the World Champions present. It says in the title Personality – where does that refer to Giggs, he hasn’t got one!


Well done to Giggs. Button got so much media exposure before the vote (Jonathan Ross etc) I couldn’t believe it either. Was shocked to see such a low turnout to the voting

Can’t believe Ross Brawn wasn’t even nominated for ‘coach’ of the year. Capello hasn’t won any trophies this year has he?

I’m enjoying your book James, brilliant !




When JB was announced as second, I thought David Haye had it…but Giggs was a complete shock, and it clearly was to him also.

Jenson didnt look too bothered and was probably just pleased that it was at least another trophy for the cabinet – and he has certainly collected a few of those over the last 2 weeks!

I do agree that the Beeb should revist the shows format. When it was a panel vote, black-tie do, it had more gravitas.


The audience demographics of Sports Personality of the Year and X Factor are very different, the latter appealing more to families and to a greater proportion of the ladies. Even had I wanted to watch the BBC, which I didn’t, Mrs Werewolf would have made herself a widow if I’d got within a yard of the remote! So I snuck upstairs and read JA on F1 instead.

I also tend to find, certainly among my circle, that many F1 devotees and potential voters have less interest in other (non-motor)sports, whereas those whose passion lies with more traditionally athletic passtimes – and they are greater in number – often seem to view racing drivers as something other than real sportsmen.

At the end of the day, though, who cares? Each to his own.


Who cares who won. Sure jenson would rather have picked up his wdc trophy than this one.

And as for the x factor who cares….. It stopped being any good after the really rubbish people were eliminated. People are jealous that these guys live a life of fast cars beautiful women and loads of money.

I don’t agree f1 drivers are arrogant. Any one given the chance to earn that sort of money would move to a low tax regime.


No surprise at all… Button is a dead horse in F1, and everything else… no talent, no skill should equal no reward – but that’s why the FIA are hated the world over. To fulfil their greed and need for power plays, you end up with lame WDCs, who should never even be in contention for a WDC.

In my book, Button was at best a candidate for leaving F1… now we are stuck with a boring driver in a top F1 seat – what a waste… it should have gone to someone who can really push a car to the limit… it’s cheap stunts like Button’s WDC, that really makes me dispise everything about the way the FIA corrupt proceedings…


Sheesh Ron…you have some issues there mate – Jenson still had to get the car around the circuit you know!!!


I was surprised that Brawn GP did not make team of the year.


Indeed. Brawn not winning that was way more suprising then Jenson not winning all things considered. I’d rather Ross Brawn have got the main award than Jenson to be honest – it was more about his work.


But maybe a gong for Ross in the New Year’s Honours List?


You are not alone.

It used to function so much better. BBC sports personality is presented like a memorial service for world sport with moving tributes after moving tribute. This presentation style suited the intimate black tie gathering that it used to be, but it does not work in a stadium with thousands of people. Next year they should raise the roof and throw a proper party.

Congratulations Giggsy. F1 drivers have definitely lost traction with the british public. Tax dodging ain’t cool.


SPOTY doesn’t really mean anything to me, to be honest. It’s a very arbitrary-feeling award.


I can’t imagine Button cares that much about losing out. As has been said he’s got the trophy he worked all year for, the F1 World Championship. As for Giggs winning a supposed personality contest, give me a break!


Ryan Giggs won it. Christmas has come early for me, I got him at 20/1!


We decided not to bet on SPOTY – couldn’t really spot any value in it – but, if we had, it would have been a couple of quid at most.

That is an eye-wateringly sizeable hit taken by the punter you mention, and no mistake!


When you put things to a public vote then the public vote in a partisan way rather than an objective way. In those circumstances you would expect JB to get more votes than any of the athletes as F1 has a bigger and more vocal following, but F1 just can’t compete with Football.

In that respect I guess it isn’t so surprising.

Any objective test, I am sure, would have returned JB though. Not through any measure of talent, ability, or really deserving it but simply through the media expsosure of his personality which few of the other contenders recieved.

At the end of the day the competition is generally meaningless so, as nice as it would have been to see an F1 driver get it, we shouldn’t quibble too much.


Maybe Button not winning is a reflection on how those voting see F1 and sport ❓ 😕

Let’s face it if Lewis couldn’t win last year after the epic season he’d had and the fairytale last race and last corner action I am glad Button didn’t as to me he was less worthy than Hamilton ❗ :-0


I wonder did Ross spend his evening kicking the back of Jensons chair 🙂

Giggs was a deserved winner a total professional and a great guy. F1 drivers unfortunately dont always come across well to the general non F1 public. I dont think they can warm to them, maybe its due to the arrogance etc.


Am I the only person that couldn’t care less about SPOTY or X Factor?


You and me both mate.

Who gives a monkeys about awards or viewer phone-vote drivel.

I don’t get it, what exactly is the point, am I supposed to now re-evaluate my opinion of Cavendish, Button or Ennis based on how many people could mash at the redial button.

The real point of sport, is that it’s done on the field, it is self-evident, you don’t need an opinion poll or a popularity contest to see who the winners are.


Right on! 🙂 This mediagenic rubbish can rest in peace, 2010 is going to be an awsome year for F1, we should focus on that, not about some sport awards show that clashes with something even worse that the brainless sheep have been dragged into. Besides, I don’t like Button much anymore, he’s a bit of a traitor if you ask me, Barrichello is the best personality/driver combo if you ask me.


Nope, I was playing Assassin’s Creed 2 when all this was going on!


Nope – I was in the pub…


Nope, there are at least 2 of us..!!


nope! 🙂


No disrespect to Giggs, but the SPOTY public vote needs to change.

The award used to be judged by a panel of sporting experts and observers, and reflected the pre-eminent individual of the year. Now, you just get well-mobilised fan bases voting for their favourites.

Giggs is a great footballer. But this season, has he done anything to compare to an F1 world title?



And the great and the good voted for the team of the year and chose the English cricket team…

Madness…. the girls cricket team deserved it tons more and certainly Brawn deserved that a lot more than Jense deserved SPOTY…

But perhaps the great and good felt Jense would win SPOTY so didn’t vote for Brawn for the team…


Nice little earner for the beeb now by getting the public to vote via their mobile phones!


As you point out at the end of your blog, Sports Personality would have been a bonus, but it’s the shiny F1 trophy he’ll be kissing.

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