Laurent Rebours/AP/Press Association Images Pants!
# Illustrious
The Score's first annual alternative sports awards
2011 wasn’t short on moments of historic triumph and breathtaking tragedy. You won’t find any of them here, though.

The lights have been dimmed, a hush has fallen over the crowd of assembled luminaries (and John Delaney). It’s time to begin this evening’s ceremony…

The Rupert Murdoch Award for Services to Journalism

The plight of the jobbing sports hack is a difficult one; a never-ending search for viable copy.

In that light, no athlete has proven quite as charitable with his views and opinions over the past twelve months as QPR’s angry-young-man-in-residence, Joey Barton.

As capable of quoting Nietzsche and George Orwell as liveblogging the X-Factor, he single-handedly kept the industry afloat during those dog days of summer. Godspeed, sir.

The Paul Galvin Award for Sartorial Innovation

Venus Williams has made a career of trolling the tennis establishment’s sense of propriety (and winning loads of titles, obviously), but her exploits at the outer limits of fashion reached an undisputed high-point at Roland Garros this year.

If you looked twice– and let’s face it, you did– it’s game, set and match to the woman in the flesh-coloured hotpants.

The Ryle Nugent Award for Dramatic Overstatement

“I thought… that after the World Cup in South Africa where it was really connecting the people, all different races, all different cultures being brought together through football, that not only in the continent of Africa but everywhere in the world that this was over.”

FIFA’s permanently embattled president, Sepp Blatter, suggesting in November that racism had met its match at last year’s World Cup.

The False Dawn Award, presented by Laserdisc

When Owen Hargreaves scored a dipping, 25-yard scorcher on his debut for Manchester City, it brought the English press to the brink of hysteria-induced breakdown.

Could the man with no knees guide England to next summer’s European Championships? A place in Manchester City’s starting eleven beckoned, surely?

Since then, the Canadian-born midfielder has made a grand total of two appearances for the Premier League leaders, the most recent of which was a less than stellar 79-minute cameo against Arsenal’s reserves in the Carling Cup.

The Chuck Norris Award for Badass-ery

Ireland’s victory over Australia in the group stages of the Rugby World Cup represented a triumph of determination and brute, concussive force over technical mastery, and at no moment in the game’s 80 minutes was that more evident than when Irish openside Stephen Ferris lifted and carried Wallaby scrum-half Will Genia a full ten yards.

Two nations shook their collective heads in disbelief.

The Keanu Reeves Award for Bullet-Dodging

Okay, his short-lived marriage to amateur pornstar and tabloid omnipresence Kim Kardashian may have brought its complications– embarrassing magazine covers, unflattering comparisons– but Kris Humphries‘ festive season of shame is a minor sacrifice when placed in the context of a longer union.

Dignity and a recurring role on Keeping Up With the Kardashians cannot coexist.

The George Costanza Award for Ineffective Excuses

After enduring a trouncing at the hands of Vladimir Klitschko in July, trash-talking heavyweight David Haye prefaced his post-bout remarks by criticising fighters who “make excuses”… before embarking on a long, rambling explanation of a toe injury he sustained in training.

It proved cold comfort to the thousands of fans who’d paid £14.95 to watch his embarrassingly timid performance on pay-per-view.

Shisha-filled Christmas celebrations land Ireland in hot water

Your girlfriend put me off: Nicholson’s excuse for going out of the darts