The inaugural news.bwin.com/en/ Back Page of the Year award has been won by Mirror Football, we can exclusively reveal today.
All the major national newspapers were invited to submit their best back pages of the 2010-11 football season and we asked you, the readers, to vote for your favourite.
The response was pretty conclusive, as the Mirror’s ‘Pea 45’ effort received an impressive 26% of the total vote to beat off some stiff competition from rival publications.
In fact, the Mirror dominated to such an extent that they managed to lock out the top three with their three entries – quite an endorsement for their talented array of scribes and sub-editors.
The lucky journalist who penned the winning headline will soon be rubbing shoulders with Galacticos such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Xabi Alonso as he joins them on Real Madrid’s private jet for a money-can’t-buy La Liga away trip next season.
Dominic Hart, sports editor at the Daily Mirror, was delighted to see his newspaper land the award ahead of the Sun, the News of the World, the Daily Star, the Daily Express and the Daily Mail.
“The Daily Mirror always takes pride in writing great, original headlines,” he said in an interview with news.bwin.com/en/.
“To be recognised as the leaders in such a competitive field by the customers of bwin is a tremendous honour and hugely appreciated.”
Experienced judging panel James Richardson, Ray Parlour and Micky Quinn were also full of praise for the winning page, which focuses on Manchester United’s crucial Champions League quarter-final, second-leg victory over Chelsea in April.
The result was viewed as the beginning of the end of boss Carlo Ancelotti’s tenure at Stamford Bridge, with most observers expecting him to be ‘handed his P45’ by Roman Abramovich as the trigger-happy Blues owner’s obsessive quest to win the famous trophy came up short again.
Of course, United’s first goalscorer at Old Trafford that night was Javier ‘Little Pea’ Hernandez, hence the additional pun on the striker’s nickname to form a headline which evidently caught the imagination of the voting public.
And sure enough, the former Milan boss, who won the Double in 2009-10 in his first season with the club, was then ushered out of the exit door following a final-day Premier League defeat to Everton.
“Congratulations to Mirror Football for winning the first-ever bwinbetting Back Page of the Year award,” added Chris Bryant, chief editor of news.bwin.com/en/.
“Their headline is worthy of this accolade as it clearly struck a chord with our readers from the outset and ended up leading for the whole competition.”
The Mirror’s second-placed entry was ‘His name is Rio and he snubbed me in the stand’, which received 23% of the total vote.
A play on the famous Duran Duran song, the title was inspired by Rio Ferdinand’s decision to reject a meeting with Fabio Capello about being relieved of the England captaincy.
Meanwhile, ‘Abidal’s Party’, a clever pun on the BBC’s satirical 1970s stage and television production ‘Abigail’s Party’, finished in third with 10% of the vote.
The headline referred to the wild celebrations which ensued when defender Eric Abidal returned to action just a few months after being diagnosed with a liver tumour to help Barcelona win La Liga.
In fourth place was the Mail’s ‘Perfect 10’ salute to Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, while the Telegraph grabbed fifth for its ‘Disaster/Disgrace’ take on England’s failed World Cup 2018 bid and the decision to award the 2022 tournament to Qatar.