Great Scott! They're heroes one and all

RETIRING AT THE TOP: Sir Alex, who retired this year, is arguably the greatest football manager to have graced the beautiful game. His Manchester United weren't always beautiful to watch, but they knew how to win.


    Dec 31, 2013

    Great Scott! They're heroes one and all

    IN TWITTER speak, "2013 - What. A. Year. Of. Sports."

    Over the last 12 months, there have been heroes, but, as sure as day turns to night, there have also been a villain or two.

    A definite hero, Adam Scott and his win at The Masters in early April set the tone. Belly putter or not, the Australian was a worthy winner. A longtime "nearly man", he came of age and fulfilled his immense potential on the apple-green fairways of Augusta.

    In May, we said a fond, emotional farewell to arguably the greatest football manager to have graced the beautiful game. His United side weren't always beautiful to watch but they knew how to win.

    They say retire at the top, and that is exactly what Sir Alex Ferguson did with United's 20th top-flight title secured with games to spare.

    Fergie's moving speech at Old Trafford on that rainy, penultimate Barclays Premier League match day ushered in a new dawn that is far from what Sir Alex must've envisaged.

    In July, shortly after Andy Murray had become the first British man to win a men's singles championship at Wimbledon for the first time in 77 years, we welcomed Kenya's Chris Froome to the Tour de France winners' podium.

    On the same day that Froome cycled down the Champs Elysees to accept his Maillot Jaune (or yellow winner's jersey), Phil Mickelson was literally tearing up the links of Muirfield in Scotland - the 142nd Open Championship. Lefty had started the final day five shots back and in a tie for ninth, but his five-under-65 saw him blow away the likes of Masters champion Adam Scott, 54-hole leader Lee Westwood and eventual runner-up Henrik Stenson.

    Next up, Sebastian Vettel's dominance of Formula One continued. Last month, he secured a fourth straight driver's title in his Red Bull and, to be frank, the other teams are not yet making significant-enough ground on the German and his well-oiled team to mount a serious challenge to his dominance.

    Villians? Rumours circulated last month and early this month, five English professional footballers were arrested on suspicion of spot-fixing. Allegations, but worrying nonetheless.

    My look back will end with two gentlemen that hail from Asia, but more column inches have to be handed to Sachin Tendulkar. Purely by weight of runs - without argument the greatest batsman of all time and someone who blessed the game for 24 years. As his wife said on that final day of the second test match against the West Indies in Mumbai: "I can imagine cricket without Sachin but not Sachin without cricket."

    And lastly, in Macau, Manny Pacquiao rejuvenated a recently stuttering boxing career with a victory over Brandon Rios - thus redeeming himself from the loss a year before to Juan Manuel Marquez IV.

    Briefly looking ahead to next year, I've got some names to keep a keen eye on:

    Cricket: South African destructive batsman Quinton de Kock

    Football: Gerard Delofeu (young Spaniard on loan at Everton from Barcelona)

    Golf: New Zealand 16-year-old world No. 6, Lydia Ko (just turned pro and just won in Taiwan)

    I don't know about you, but I'm certainly looking forward to 2014!

    The writer is a journalist and news presenter. You can catch him on Fox Sports Central.