Murray’s Beeb teaser
THE Davis Cup triumph has lifted national hero Andy Murray to second favourite behind Jessica Ennis-Hill to be Sports Personality of the Year, with the Team of the Year an odds-on certainty to go to the Davis Cup winners. That starts the annual guessing game of whether Murray will leave his overseas training base — normally Miami but Dubai this year — to be present in Belfast on December 20. Murray is not scheduled to leave the UAE until two days after the event, but he will surely be persuaded to go to Northern Ireland, especially as his team-mates will be involved and it is being held nearer to Christmas than usual.
SUNDERLAND boss Sam Allardyce was a raffle winner at the Football Writers’ Association North East dinner, only to discover his prize was a signed copy of his recently published autobiography. Big Sam asked that the book be auctioned for a charity and it fetched £200, which would have been a lot less if Sunderland had not just beaten Stoke. Meanwhile, Allardyce’s beleaguered North East managerial colleague Steve McClaren admirably insisted that the two Newcastle award winners, Daryl Janmaat and Ayoze Perez, should attend the function with him despite their weekend drubbing at Crystal Palace. THE FIFA presidential contest is developing into a two-horse race between Bahrain’s Sheik Salman, who has the unanimous support of the Asian confederation executive, and UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino, who has the backing of the South American confederation. With Infantino alongside Sheik Salman in Delhi over the weekend for the AFC 2015 awards gala and singing the praises of Asian football on social media, a dream ticket looks increasingly on the cards. That would see the Sheik as president and Infantino as FIFA secretary general.