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ESPN's Christmas Wishlist

Ben Blackmore December 21, 2012
We support Sir Alex Ferguson to continue his work at Manchester United © PA Photos

As the year of 2013 looms, we at ESPN decided it was time to offer up our New Year's wishlist, highlighting ten things we would like to see happen over the next 12 months.

You've got the Tiger in you, Rory

Rory McIlroy has impressed us all over the past 12 months, not only for his golfing prowess but more importantly with his ability to bat well above his league with Caroline Wozniacki. It seems it's impossible nowadays to watch a golf event without the Danish tennis player following her man, but what if Rory became a player (in the dating sense of the word)? Imagine him going all Tiger Woods on us at Augusta and turning up with a rival to Wozniacki's affections? Imagine, even, that it is a fellow tennis player?

Note. This scenario is no longer appealling if Kim Clijsters is inserted

Fraudley v Freddie

Quite simply, we speak for one and all when we say Audley Harrison needs to retire from boxing in 2013. His quotes before the 82-second loss to David Price were: "If I lose to David Price, I've got no future. It's over." However, it seems the veteran 'boxer' now plans to fight on. If he does, there's no better rival for Fraudley than the other slightly farcical figure of Freddie Flintoff. Imagine the lack of quality, imagine the lack of chin, and imagine it probably coming down to first-punch-wins. You've got to admit, you wouldn't miss it.

Four more years for Fergie

Every journalist's nightmare is to be assigned to the job of covering the day when Sir Alex Ferguson retires. The tributes, the comment pieces, the photo galleries... the media wheel will go into overdrive. As a result, we'd quite happily see Fergie pen a new deal at Manchester United, giving us at least four more years before we have to go searching for the first image of him stepping off a plane on English soil. And if it so happens that, during those four years, his United team suffer one or two more comedy final day heartaches... well that's just a bonus.

It's not an exclusive, according to Sky sources

We at ESPN Towers are actually big fans of the people at Sky Sports News, who hopelessly stand outside closed football grounds all day, pretending to be on the front line of breaking news in the hope that they will at least get a cough from the man who drives by in an unmarked black car. However, there is one thing Sky needs a slightly better grasp on - namely the word "exclusive". Jim White, legend that he is, needs to be told that if you're reading a statement from a club's website, it is not an "exclusive", the club have not "informed us at Sky Sports News", and it is most certainly not the result of "Sky sources".

Having said that, none of this was aimed at Natalie Sawyer, Millie Clode or Olivia Godfrey.

Murray not to be mint

You have to ask the question, what was more memorable during 2012: Andy Murray's reaction when he won the US Open, or Andy Murray's reaction when he lost in the Wimbledon final? We vote for the latter. Those tears, the exceptionally high voice, it was priceless and it did far more to boost the Scot's popularity than any number of backhand winners. So another moment of Murray heartache, perhaps at the hands of Greg Rusedski, would be the ideal scenario at Wimbledon 2013.

Not the man for City

A story emerged this week that David Villa's odds of a move to Swansea had been slashed drastically after large sums of money had been placed on the transfer. Which set us to thinking, wouldn't it be good for football if a high-profile player - a Mario Gotze perhaps - turned down the mega bucks of a Man City for a heart-warming switch to a Norwich in 2013? Wouldn't it be great, just for once, for a high calibre player to sign his contract and cite the impressive demeanour of Chris Hughton as his reason for joining?

Having said that, if Stewart Downing joins Norwich, that doesn't count.

If only Kevin Pietersen could be left alone © Getty Images

Olympic chop for dressage

Horse dancing to most people, you have to wonder how this is a sport. On a planet where the Steve Redgraves of this world have to bust their bodies to the maximum to earn their gold medal, how on earth do Olympic titles get handed out to the best dancing horse? It's awful to watch, it utterly goes against what sport is and, to be honest, even the horses don't seem to enjoy it. Only Tom Daley's swimming trunks are more offensive to the eye.

For Piet's sake

Andrew Strauss - one of the greatest England captains of all time - has somehow managed to retire without anybody shedding light on what his future holds. A sweeping statement from "Straussy" that he would "pursue future projects" appears to have satisfied everybody - allowing his true plan to sneak under the radar. We'd like to see him take revenge on Kevin Pietersen in 2013, opening a new parody Twitter account to test KP's fragile mind once more.

And if he's not particularly educated on the Twitter world, we're pretty sure Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad and Tim Bresnan can help.

Price is right for Henson

The year of 2013 is the year of the British and Irish Lions in rugby, so you can bet Gavin Henson attends at least two training sessions in order to put his name into the hat for the final squad. There's little going for the former Wales international nowadays - other than the sublime technique of his Cha cha cha, but he was recently spotted having a drink with Katie Price, so at least he'll have someone to drown his sorrows with.

Messi marvel

We end with the world's greatest: Lionel Messi. Scorer of 90-odd goals in 2012, wouldn't it be phenomenal to see him break the century in 2013? It'd be worth it just to see Cristiano Ronaldo fanboys struggle desperately to maintain their argument that he is better than Messi, which is increasingly like comparing Emile Heskey to Gabriel Batistuta.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ben Blackmore Close
Ben Blackmore is deputy editor of ESPN.co.uk