WORTHING got an unlikely namecheck on national television tonight - in tennis ace Andy Murray’s Sports Personality of the Year victory speech.
The two-time grand slam champion told the Belfast crowd his friend had sent him an article which compared his personality with a weekend in the town.
Accepting his award on BBC One, he said: “A friend sent me a message the other day with an article saying ‘Andy Murray is duller than a weekend in Worthing’, which I thought was harsh - on Worthing!”
Murray, who collected the award for the second time, was a key figure in guiding Great Britain to its first Davis Cup win for 79 years.
He beat rugby league’s Kevin Sinfield and athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill into second and third respectively.
Commenting on Murray’s Worthing jibe, town crier Bob Smytherman said he would welcome the Scot to show him the sights.
He said: “Congratulations to Andy Murray on winning Sports Personality of the Year.
“Worthing is a great place to live, work and visit with loads to shout about so I hope Andy will come and see for himself. I will be delighted to show him around town.”
Social media was flooded by comments soon after the speech.
Durrington High School deputy head teacher Shaun Allison urged Murray to visit Worthing for a challenge match with teachers. He said: “No response from @andy_murray yet about a challenge match with Worthing teachers @tennisbloom & @BenCrockett1 - he’s thinking about it!”
East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton hoped the Wimbledon, US Open and Olympic champion would follow fellow Brit Greg Rusedski, who visited West Worthing Tennis Club last summer, to the town.
Club chairman William Naunton offered his congratulations and issued an open invitation for him to visit.
He said: “Greg Rusedski and 55 others joined our club after the Great British Tennis Weekend last May and, who knows, maybe Andy would like to do so as well - we are the leading performance tennis centre in West Sussex after all.”
Murray said he ‘better make a visit’ to the town shortly after the speech, in an interview with BBC Radio Five Live.
Deputy mayor Sean Macdonald was among those to officially invite him to Worthing, as was Mr Loughton and Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley.
Mr Loughton said: “We would be delighted to welcome Andy to Worthing any time and show him how the old caricature of Worthing is very much out of date and that we offer a great place to live, do business or just enjoy a short stay.
“We can also introduce him to some of the finest facilities for alternative sports like kite surfing, swimming and beach volleyball if he would like to diversify.
“I am sure Andy’s wife will have a word or two to say to him as she knows Sussex well, having been born and brought up here, and perhaps they can make an early visit in 2016 once their new child is born and we wish them both well for that and the new year.”
The town was subsequently mentioned on BBC Radio 4 and Chris Evans’s Radio Two breakfast show.
The original article which was referenced appeared in the Mail before the event.
Read the full text here.
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