THE lights are shining in the Legend’s Lounge, Swindon Town’s glitterati are out in force and Simon Ferry’s wearing a suit and tie. It can only mean one thing. Yes, that’s right ladies and gents, it’s the completely fictional 2012 STFC Awards.
Some of the most famous faces in town are congregating in SN1 for an evening of celebration of the last 12 months. And no expense has been spared.
Matt Ritchie is sporting a brand new Adidas tracksuit cleverly disguised to look like a tuxedo, Aden Flint and his dog have had matching tattoos inked for the occasion and Andrew Black has even sent a representative.
It’s the most glamorous evening of the year and, with guests seated and tucking into their £3.50 burgers, the show gets under way.
The first award of the night is the much coveted “Performance Of The Year” gong, which this year will be presented by Asda’s Jahmene Douglas and Nicole Scherzinger, who is wearing a figure-hugging Town away shirt.
Scherzinger praises Robins boss Paolo Di Canio for his “shamazing” efforts with Swindon. Jahmene giggles once before looking at the floor.
The nominees for performance of the year are: Paolo Di Canio - for his collaboration with Toploader at the County Ground in May.
The entire Swindon Town squad - for their efforts in the Capital One Cup win at Stoke.
Simon Ferry, Alan Connell and Alan McCormack - for their display of general knowledge on Soccer AM And the winner is...Paolo Di Canio.
Scherzinger mentions the Italian should stick to football. Di Canio chirps up from the front row, saying he doesn’t care what Sherzinger thinks as she’s no Madonna.
Melinda Messenger is making her way on stage now to hand out the “You Don’t Know What You’re Doing” gong for the moments of 2012 we’d all rather forget.
Messenger, who appears to be giving members of the audience copies of her CV as she strides through the audience, finally gets round to opening the golden envelope and reading out the nominees. They are: Simon Ferry - for giving his two-month-old baby son Frankie custody of his Stephen Ireland shirt for the stroll up Drove Road in October.
Paolo Di Canio - for making the bizarre decision to switch from his trusted green matchday jacket for an apparently cursed red anorak.
Wes Foderingham - for proving water bottles are more resilient than you might think at Preston.
And the winner is...Wes Foderingham.
Ferry’s son Frankie makes a surprise appearance, sliding down a zipwire in his buggy, to help Messenger present the award.
After a brief interlude, when the assembled players, staff and celebrities are treated to Jahmene and Rockin’ Robin’s Gangnam Style duet, we’re all set for Keith Chegwin to skate on stage to present the award for “Best Attempt At Distracting A Teammate During An Interview”.
Unfortunately, Cheggers had to pull out at the last moment due to pantomime commitments, and Alun Rossiter has taken his place on the podium.
Rosco announces the nominees, who are: Gary Roberts - Matt Ritchie did well to keep on track when Roberts chucked a pair of socks at his head during a pre-match chat.
Simon Ferry - it must have been pretty disconcerting for Andy Williams to have the Scot nibbling on his ear during a live radio Q&A in Italy, but he managed to keep his composure.
Paul Caddis and Simon Ferry - again out in Italy, the former Celtic pair turned to explicit art to try to distract their colleagues in front of the microphone. Needless to say, they didn’t succeed.
And the winner is...Simon Ferry.
Dennis Bergkamp and Mr T emerge hand in hand through an unscheduled cloud of dry ice to present a special award to Troy Archibald-Henville. Event organisers look confused until they see Ferry returning from changing his son’s nappy with a fire extinguisher lodged in the bottom of his buggy.
Unperturbed, Bergkamp and T hand Archibald-Henville an Airfix Supermarine Spitfire kit to commemorate the defender’s phobia-beating flight to Italy for pre-season.
A second dose of entertainment is provided by a “gentleman versus food” showdown. Darren Ward is challenged by Adam Richman to eat 30 yams in 30 seconds. He stops after three and downs the lot with a glass of reverse osmosis water.
And so it’s time for the grand finale - the Swindon Town man of the year.
Paul Bodin is on stage to make the presentation and it appears things might get a little awkward but Ferry inadvertently comes to the rescue by setting off the fire alarm in the kitchen.
It’s a crazy end to a crazy evening and a crazy year.
- SO, farewell then 2012 - the annus mirabilis for Swindon sport.
It’ll be hard to wave goodbye when the clocks tick past midnight on Monday and the unknown 2013 introduces itself.
We’ve all become really quite accustomed to success over the past 12 months, not that I’m complaining, and it will take something truly special for the next year to match its elder brother for drama, romance and glory on football pitches, speedway tracks, golf courses and cricket pitches, and in swimming pools and boxing rings across the region.
So let’s take the remaining minutes we have left of 2012 to treasure the memories of an extraordinary year.
Let’s revel once more in the title celebrations of Swindon Town, the Swindon Robins, our county golfers and Swindon Dolphin.
Let’s pay tribute to the success of Supermarine Rugby Club, Tilly Gray, Lechlade Cricket Club and Nicky Henderson, let’s recognise the resolve and resurgence of David Howell and the continued development of Swindon Rugby Club.
Let’s cheer for the minnows who defied the odds - Goatacre Cricket Club, Paolo Di Canio’s giant-killers and Johnny Haines - and those who battled hard in their pursuit of victory - Said Eltuyev and Patrick McDonagh.
Let’s celebrate our Olympians - Pete Reed, Steve Rowbotham, Jade Faulkner, Andrew Nicholson, Jonelle Richards and many more - and our Ryder Cup caddie Jason Hempleman.
In 12 short months the sportsmen, women and children from Swindon and the surrounding area have made an indelible impression locally, nationally and internationally.
It’s been an incredible year, and what a pleasure it has been for us to bring it to you.
Bring it on 2013. Happy new year to you all.