Honours even - if only they were

PUBLISHED: 09:13 31 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:57 11 May 2010

THE DAYS between Christmas and New Year are always a bit of a funny time. Little goes on in the world, with many people still at home playing with their Christmas presents, while others of us are unlucky enough to already be back at work - not that I m b

THE DAYS between Christmas and New Year are always a bit of a funny time. Little goes on in the world, with many people still at home playing with their Christmas presents, while others of us are unlucky enough to already be back at work - not that I'm bitter or anything!

One thing that does always happen at this point in the calendar is that speculation mounts about who will be rewarded in the New Year's honours list.

At the time of writing, 2009's first batch of appointments from Her Majesty have yet to be announced, but early rumours suggest that, unsurprisingly, members of the successful Great Britain team from the Beijing Olympics last summer are set to feature prominently.

Cyclist Chris Hoy, who picked up three gold medals, is tipped for a Knighthood, while yachtsman Ben Ainslie and swimmer Rebecca Adlington are among others likely to be recognised for their achievements.

I have no problem with these valiant sportsmen and women receiving permanent reminders of their success.

Many of them will have worked hard over a number of years to prepare for the games, and made many sacrifices in their personal lives along the way.

Many Olympic sports are also devoid of the kind of funding afforded to the more major sports such as football, rugby, and cricket, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown hit the nail on the head during his visit to Beijing in the summer, when he said: "I think the country will want to see our athletes honoured.

"The country will want to celebrate their success and give them the permanent recognition they deserve."

However, I do think that in general the way in which the honours are dished out needs to be looked at.

In my opinion there are too many figures from the worlds of entertainment and professional sport who are given gongs which they don't deserve.

Take Jonathan Ross for example, who was made an OBE in 2005.

Now I have no problem with Ross, who is a talented and, at times, funny broadcaster, but is that enough to warrant an OBE?

There is also the little matter of his bumper "golden handcuffs" contract with the BBC, which is reportedly worth £4.5million a year. Surely that is enough recognition of his talent?

Then there are footballers such as David Beckham and Stephen Gerrard, who are both OBEs, despite having been part of an England team that has consistently failed at major championships over the last 10 years.

Should they really be rewarded for their "services to football"? Granted, both have excelled for their clubs at various times, but is that really an outstanding achievement when they receive such massive financial rewards for doing so?

In my mind, if you are going to recognise these public figures in such a way, it should be because they have done something which is completely extraordinary, like Hoy, Adlington, and the rest of the Olympians, rather than the likes of Ross and Gerrard, who were simply doing their respective jobs.

And if I had my way, more honours would be given to people such as Royston's Neil Wragg, who was recognised last year for his tireless work for charity Youth at Risk, rather than these celebrities, who don't need them, and probably don't give two hoots about them anyway.

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