Tuesday night saw the celebration of not just another 12 months across all British sports but 70 years of the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award and the full list of winners for 2023 is much longer than just one name.
A total of eight different awards were handed on out the glamorous night over Salford Quays’ MediaCityUK hub, with some big characters and lesser-known faces receiving some much-deserved recognition for their contribution to sport over the past year.
The Manc had the honour of going along this year and it was plain to see just by chatting to some of the nominees, past winners, former athletes and other guests how special an occasion the annual award ceremony is — especially now it’s back here in Manchester for the foreseeable.
This year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year award winners
Let’s start off with our winner of the titular award itself:
Sports Personality of the Year 2023 — Mary Earps
It couldn’t have been anyone else really, could it? Mary ‘Queen of Stops’ Earps rounded a huge year or so for her and women’s football in general with yet another personal accolade that she was quick to insist wouldn’t have been possible without her teammates and the support from her family.
Here’s what the Manchester United keeper and Lionesses hero had to say after lifting the iconic piece of silverware:
Young Sports Personality of the Year — Mia Brookes
The Young ‘SPOTY’ award for 2023 went to snowboarding superstar Mia Brookes, who became the youngest world champion in snowboarding history when she won slopestyle gold in February, Britain’s first-ever in the event, before adding to that a silver at the World Cup in Laax and a big air bronze in Chur back in October.
Still only 16, the Cheshire-born athlete has quite the career ahead of her.
Lifetime Achievement Award — Kenny Dalglish
This year’s Lifetime Achievement award went to none other than footballing legend King ‘Kenny’ Dalglish, who was recognised for his decades of dedication to the sport, English football, work with Liverpool and crucial role at the club in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster.
An icon in Merseyside and across the North West in general, he’s one of the greatest players the UK has ever produced and although his speech was filled with plenty of humour, there was also plenty of emotion on stage as he touched on his past teammates, loved ones and gratitude for the award.
In a similar vein, British athletics legend Fatima Whitbread also took home the Helen Rollason Award, an accolade awarded to individuals for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity: something the champion javelin thrower knows all about as she continues her incredible campaign for children.
Speaking passionately about the award named after the BBC Sports presenter and friend, as well as her experience of the care home system, calling for “fundamental change” to ensure the next generation is “safer, happier and healthier”. Hear, hear.
BBC Sport’s Unsung Hero 2023 – Des Smith
Next up on the night was a multi-discipline award recognizing remarkable work in the community through sport and that honour went to none other than one Des Smith, the chairman of Sheffield Caribbean Sports Club: a safe haven for young people which offers five cricket teams and eight junior football sides as well as netball and hockey teams.
Throughout his time running the club, he has strived to improve race relations and understanding through the club, as well as helping educate locals on the importance of the Windrush generation. An emotional moment for everyone.
Manchester City pick up another treble at the Sports Personality of the Year Awards
Last but not least, it was no surprise to see Manchester City‘s incredible treble-winning campaign recognised at SPOTY 2023 and it was only fitting that such a feat was met with yet another trio of trophies.
Taking home Club of the Year and Team of the Year, as well as Erling Haaland predictably winning World Sports Star for his own record-breaking season, you could say there was quite a big blue moon over Salford Quays on the night.
Man United striker Rasmus Højlund set to miss Manchester derby as muscle injury rules him out for ‘two to three weeks’
Man United have suffered a pretty big short-term blow as their in-form forward Rasmus Højlund has been diagnosed with a muscle injury which is set to see him out for “two to three weeks”, meaning he will likely miss the upcoming Manchester derby.
The Danish striker has been running red-hot of late, scoring seven in his last six league games for Man United and now sitting as the club’s top marksman with 13 goals and two assists across all competitions, but just as Erik ten Hag’s side look to have got going, they will now be without him for a spell.
Issuing an update on Friday, 23 February, United confirmed that a muscle injury is “expected to rule him out for two to three weeks”, meaning he will miss this weekend’s fixture against Fulham, the FA Cup fifth round against Nottingham Forest and most likely the Manchester derby.
The Red Devils are currently unbeaten in 2024 and on a run of six wins out of their last seven, with Højlund making the difference in many of them.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s game at Old Trafford, ten Hag went on to explain: “It is a small injury. That is what happens and the risk [when you are] playing at high intensity and training.”
The Dutchman reiterated, “As I say it is not a big injury, but he has to wait for one, two, three weeks”, though Reds will nevertheless be gutted to see the 21-year-old sidelined after having now started finding the net and putting together such an impressive run of performances.
While he emphasised that it is not a “big injury”, the timing couldn’t be more frustrating for a team that looks to be finally gathering some momentum, not only in and around the European places already but right on the trail of those chasing down the Champions League spots.
Højlund’s injury only adds to the club’s ever-growing list of players on the physio’s bench, including Tyrell Malacia, Mason Mount, Lisandro Martinez and another huge setback in Luke Shaw’s long-term hamstring problems.
In contrast, Manchester City have been lofted by comebacks from both Erling Haaland, who is getting back on the scoresheet once again, and midfielder maestro Kevin De Bruyne as they look to step up the pressure on league leaders Liverpool.
The treble-winners were always going to be putting in a very strong title defence but the return of KDB has reminded football fans just exactly how good he is. The Belgian was left on the bench against Brentford due to “minor niggles” but you can fully expect him to be raring to go come derby day.
Stockport County create a new community mural with young street artists in Edgeley
Stockport County is creating a brand new mural with a group of young street artists from the local area and a little help from one of their squad members.
This past February half-term, the Greater Manchester football club enlisted the help of some schoolkids and aspiring artists, along with local creatives from around the area to create a brand new piece of artwork right in the heart of the community.
With some paint, plenty of spray cans and the expertise of Manc muralist and designer, Oskar With A K, and poet Ruth Awolola, a dozen local secondary school pupils helped write, design and paint the mural — taking inspiration directly from the club and the thriving fan culture in Stockport.
There is no chant more iconic and important to the Hatters than their famous ‘The Scarf My Father Worse’ song and that’s exactly what the local artists have decided to immortalise.
The painting process began on Friday, 16 February and, as you can see, they even managed to rope in County defender Ethan Pye came along to lend a hand with the mural, armed with a can of spray paint to help the young people bring their ideas to life.
Being developed by the Stockport County Community Trust in collaboration with North West organisations, GRIT Studios and The Writing Squad, ‘The Scarf My Father Wore’ project has received £14,800 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Popping in a prime location on the corner of Castle Street and Mercian Way — just metres away from the Edgeley Park stadium and right at the beginning of the local village high street — this vibrant work of art will be passed by thousands of commuters and pedestrians every day.
Being brought to life in brilliant blue and white in line with the club’s colour scheme and proudly printing the title of the famous chant on the wall along with stencils of the County crest, footballs and many other details, it sits pride of place in the Stockport suburb.
Much like the historic chant and the symbolic scarf itself, this brilliant piece of street art will be passed down and enjoyed by generations to come, as well as make sure the club continues to play a key role in local culture.
County’s Community Trust CEO Alison Warwood said: “This project shows how art and writing by young people can make a real difference to the local community, and I can’t wait to see the end result.”
John Macaulay from GRIT Studios added: “We’re thrilled to be involved in such a collaborative and community-spirited initiative. Our young artists will be helping to create a lasting landmark that will become a focal point in Edgeley for years to come.”
With the Hatters currently top of the League Two table and looking at yet another promotion season, there feels like no better time for fans to wear the club on their sleeve, their scarves around their necks and now up on the wall too.