Toni Receiving the Manning Award for Services to Sport at the SJA

Christmas Quiz

Q: What have Trevor Brooking, Ian McGeechan, Sir Bobby Charlton, Colin Montgomerie and Toni Minichiello all have in common?

A: They have all received the Manning Award for Services to Sports from the Sports Journalist Association.

Christmas has come early for Toni this year. And Toni is chuffed to bits by his award,

“It was strange really. The presenter was reading out all these achievements and I was thinking ‘I’ve done that’. Then they used a quote about not being Harry Potter and not having a wand. I thought, ‘I said that’. But then I didn’t want to move until my name was mentioned – you know, just in case”.

“Yeah. Imagine if you’d got up and they’d call XXXX’s name (I’ve removed the name for obvious reasons) after they stole your quote!”.

Toni laughs, “Absolutely. So I had a bit of a sweat on until they called my name. I was saying to myself, ‘don’t trip, don’t scratch yourself inappropriately’ and then it was bright lights and the award”.

“What did you say?”

“I said thanks and that I was humbled by the award. Which I was. I was asked about future prospects and I told them that, despite having kids with ability, I didn’t have a crystal ball. I made the point that a career in sport is short and that it’s a coaches’ role to add value that they can take forward in life”.

“A pity more people don’t understand that”.

“Yeah. It’s probably not my place to say it but I said it anyway”.

“And what about afterwards? Parties galore?”

“Straight back on the train and coaching first thing this morning”.

“You’re so rock and roll. Seriously, didn’t you want to mark it?”

“It’s nice to have your past recognised, to have amateur coaching recognised. In many ways I’m no different from club coach…”

“It’s nice to have your past recognised, to have amateur coaching recognised. In many ways I’m no different from club coach…”

“With five Olympians in your roster and world and Olympic Gold medals”.

“I suppose it seems like end of an era.” Toni pauses, “But am I dead?

What’s that saying? The best revenge is massive success. It’s about starting again”.

Except Toni will be starting from a very different place. It will be fascinating to see what happens. But that’s in the future.

“What about Christmas? Training twice?!”

“No my views and values have changed a bit. I want to spend a little more time at home”.

“Are you taking the week off then?”

When Toni answers he sounds aghast at the very notion, “ No. Christmas and Boxing Day off. Back to it after that”.

“In that case make sure you make the most of it”.

“I will”.

I’ll be passing on my Christmas wishes to Toni nearer to the time but to everyone reading this have a fantastic festive period. And try to take a bit more time off than Toni!

Merry Christmas one and all.