Whatever happened to good old, bad old days?

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IT’S getting a bit far-fetched now, all this winning.

Alf Tupper, Roy Of The Rovers, Limp Along Lesley, Raven On The Wing and even Billy The Fish would have trouble keeping up with this lot.

The comic characters that sustained our thirst for heroics for so long are suddenly pale imitations alongside the real thing - apart from Billy the Fish of course.

The cosy, BBC-inspired debate over who might be Sports Personality Of The Year palls as the 2012 deluge of national sporting heroes continues.

After fifty odd years of trying - and failing - to learn to lose gracefully we suddenly can’t stop winning.

The absolute glory of the golfers’ back-from-the-dead win at Medinah on Sunday defies belief - or it would if we hadn’t been defying belief all year long with tale after tale of triumph, world records and firsts.

Does it suit us as a nation? Not sure.

Winning as a national expectation is fine for fresh-faced nations like Australia and the US, great for mildly re-constructed superpowers with money and totalitarian time to burn like China, it’s even acceptable for emerging giants like India and Brazil.

But is it really for us?

Are we really becoming a fist-pumping country of snarling winners, an island of steely-eyed champions where second place really is no-place?

I rather fear we might be.

Just look at what the Brits have won this year.


The England cricket team at number one in the world - ok they aren’t now but just go with the theme - Chelsea European Champions, any number of Olympians and Paralympians - Sheffield golden girl Jessica Ennis, Mo Farrar, Victoria Pendleton, Ellie Simmonds, Johnny Peacock and David Weir.

Now there’s the Ryder Cup team .

That’s without mentioning Tour De France winner and Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins or fellow Olympic gold medallist and US Open tennis winner Andy Murray, or Sheffield’s Wimbledon men’s double winner Johnny Marray.

It’s all too rich a feast for a country usually left to nibble on the meagre crumbs of modest sporting achievement.

Right now we’re strutting about the world stage, in a sensible and responsible way of course, basking in our own success.

And we can’t be blamed for enjoying our glory but surely we are still quietly hopeful rather than fanatically focused when it comes top sport?

Isn’t our national sporting character, even now, more Bash Street Kids than Captain Hurricane?

Nonsense you say? Of course it is.

Britain is back on top because as a nation we have invested in talent. But the caricature Brit lives on in our minds despite a year of evidence to the contrary. No-one could have forecast the golden harvest of medals and success that we’ve enjoyed this year.

Perhaps we’ll have to learn to live with records and titles in future as we get back among the world’s top sporting nations to an extent we’ve not seen for 100 years.

At least we’ve still got the England football team to comfort us with their mediocrity and dissaray.

Turning all that around is still exclusively the stuff of comics and schoolboy fantasy.