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2013 had the biggest of boots to fill, after what could only be described as a monumental 2012 for British sport. Despite our football team’s inevitable failure at the Euro’s, the 2012 Olympics birthed a new era of legends for British sport, on top of a historic Tour de France win for Bradley Wiggins and the incredible last minute title win for Manchester City.
How on earth could 2013 top all that? Well it had a bloody good go.
On the back of Wiggins’ incredible feat of taking home the yellow jersey, it was the much more reserved Chris Froome who took up the mantle in his absence. Froome dominated the proceedings with all the composure to be expected of a man who gives every last ounce of effort when on his bike.
Incredibly, Britain has two tour winners in two years and the Kenyan-born British rider will go down right next to Sir Bradley in the history books, even if he doesn’t quite get the adulation he deserves.
2012 was certainly a good year for Andy Murray, winning both Olympic gold and the U.S Open after his Wimbledon heartbreak at the hands of Rodger Federer. In 2013 however, he was the biggest winner of all.
Andy Murray at the US Open in 2013. Photograph: Marianne Bevis
After 77 years of failures and near misses, Murray finally broke one of Britain’s longest sporting jinxes by becoming the first Brit since Fred Perry in 1936 to win the Wimbledon men’s singles title. The confident way in which he dispatched world number 1 Novak Djokovic was spectacular, as the country rejoiced one of Britain’s finest ever sporting achievements in the same way we had done with Wiggins the year before. Murray was rightly awarded Sports Personality of the year after a landslide victory in the voting, as people wished to reward the man who ended our Wimbledon hoodoo.
It was a better year for England’s footballers who navigated through a tricky qualifying group to book their place in the World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014 as Hodgson’s men secured a 2-0 victory over Poland at Wembley.
Cup action was intense and frantic as we witnessed a year of the underdog with two new faces lifting the Carling and F.A cups respectively. Swansea got the better of surprise packages Bradford City, who knocked out Arsenal and Villa on their way to Wembley; the Welsh side running out 5-0 winners on the day.
The biggest shock of all however came through Wigan Athletic, who won their first major domestic trophy and booked a place in the Europa league after stunning Manchester City in the F.A Cup final, thanks to a Ben Watson header in the last minute.
The Premier League was once again in full swing, as Manchester United regained the Premier League trophy from their “noisy neighbors”, but there was to be no last day drama in what turned out to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge.
The exit of Ferguson saw a huge management reshuffle as “The Special one” returned to the Bridge, while Moyes was “The Chosen One” as Ferguson’s replacement. Ferguson’s retirement was the end of an era at Old Trafford and sent shockwaves through the sport, as he retired as one of the most successful managers ever in the game during his 27 years at the helm.
The footballing roster in the Premier League also got quite the reshuffle as Welshman Gareth Bale became the most expensive footballer ever, as Real Madrid paid Tottenham a world record £85million for his services. Across London at the Emirates, Arsenal made the £42million deadline day move for Mesut Ozil.
It’s been a surprisingly mixed year for English Cricket, as England regained and then lost the Ashes in the same year. A 3-0 series win in the summer saw them brush aside what appeared to be a lacklustre Australian side without playing particularly well themselves.
The Aussies had a second chance in the away series this Winter as they aimed to finally win back the urn at the third time of asking. England’s recent toils have been well documented and they now find themselves 4-0 down to a similar looking side to the one they beat earlier in the summer; how quickly things change in just half a year.
Closer to home, Lancaster were beaten in a competitive Roses series away at York despite some fine individual and team performances at the home of the white rose. 2014 sees the 50th anniversary of Roses hosted at Lancaster and promises to be an incredible event for all involved, as we look to win back the title.
2013 had a lot to live up to in the sporting world, but after a massive 2012- it didn’t disappoint.