Jon Dunham – Do some deserve it more than others?

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
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It could be argued all day long whether knighthoods and sport belong together. After all, those playing in their respective fields are only doing their jobs.

But there are, of course, times when some sports people go beyond the norm and achieve great things that are deserving of more prestigious awards.

However, it dawned on me this week that there may well be a class struggle in all of this.

No sooner had Andy Murray won Wimbledon, we had Prime Minister David Cameron telling the media “I can’t think of anyone who deserves one more.”

Murray himself played down that quote and he was right to. Winning Wimbledon is an incredible achievement for any tennis player but why should the subject of a knighthood come up just because of that. You could argue that his US Open success was even better and a lot harder as well.

Maybe Mr Cameron, like others, was simply caught up in the moment. It’s understandable.

Chris Froome will, no doubt, be touted to become a ‘Sir’ following his supreme display in the Tour de France. I find that hard to argue with. There really can’t be many more gruelling sport competitions to excel in.

But getting back to my point, the reason all this has come into my thoughts is darts. Yes darts. A sport.

I don’t mind admitting it, I am a big fan of the darts and like others, I have been glued to the PDC World Matchplay in Blackpool this week.

And on Tuesday we had the privilege of seeing the greatest ever player showing why he is just that.

Time and time again, year after year, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor has shown himself to be one of the greatest sportsmen this country has ever produced.

His display against Terry Jenkins in midweek was incredible. He looked to be cruising, then he looked to be heading for defeat and then he came back again and did what he usually does when he simply squeezed the life out of his opponent with exceptional scoring and finishing.

Go right ahead and tell me darts isn’t a sport. I won’t listen. It is a sport and that is fact.

If we go by the merit of ‘grand slams’ then 16 World Championships, 13 World Matchplays, 10 World Grand Prix and six Premier League wins suggests he is far and away the best achiever in British sporting history. In fact, he will never be matched.

He was, of course, made an MBE back in 2001 but that was retracted and annulled in 2002 following a conviction for indecent assault for which he was fined £2,000. That may well mean he will never be considered for a knighthood.

Nonetheless, I get the feeling that he wouldn’t be considered anyway. He is, after all, ‘only a dart player’.

I guess what I am trying to say is that if the Prime Minister believes a tennis player deserves a knighthood after winning two grand slams then surely there is a good argument to be put across for another sportsman who has won over 50.

But tennis is tennis, cycling is cycling and darts is darts...