Gary Lineker is set to host Sports Personality of The Year again alongside Sue Barker and Jake Humphrey. Here, he tells us about who he thinks might do well and the special memories he has of being involved in such a prestigious event…

Is it a difficult year to predict a winner?
“It’s always difficult. I’d say Jensen Button is the most notable favourite. Formula One always does pretty well because the driving season always finishes just before the Sports Personality of the Year which is always advantageous as it’s fresh in people’s minds. But not as advantageous as in the past when people used to post their votes. Nowadays the voting happens on the evening so we can remind people about all the stuff that happened in the spring and summer that they might have forgotten about – like the Ashes win at cricket. Andrew Flintoff’s retirement from test matches might play a part, and Andrew Strauss will be popular as the winning captain.”

Any other favourites you can think of?
“Well David Haye recently became world heavyweight boxing champ, so he’ll be up there. And also because he was such a surprise winner against that Russian giant. Boxers always do well – Joe Calzhaghe was a surprise winner a couple of years ago. Of the others, Andy Murray has had a great season although he didn’t get to any finals, he made it into the world’s top three at tennis. Beth Tweddle did so well in winning a world gymnastics gold, too.”

Do you think athlete Jessica Ennis could do well?
“Yeah she won the world heptathlon title this year. Not many had heard of her before that. It was a brilliant performance. She’ll be one of those who benefits from our reminder on the night of her achievement.”

Could any footballers do it this year?
“Maybe Ryan Giggs. Not necesarily for just this year but for what he’s achieved throughout his career. And Wayne Rooney’s had a terrific year. I do think it’s hard for footballers, though, without there being a World Cup or something.”

It’s quite a sophisticated electorate isn’t it?
“Yeah definitely, the sports fans know their stuff. And because it’s by phone vote on the night many more vote then ever did by post, so you probably get a fairer outcome.”

Do the less popular sports get a fair shot at it, too?
“Well cyclist Chris Hoy winning last year proves that. One of the great things about this event is that it does feature outstanding performances regardless of the sport.”

Do you like it better now the event is held in a big arena rather than a small BBC studio?
“Yes it’s definitely much better since it changed a few years’ back. It’s better to present because we used to do it in a cold studio with ‘sports committee’ members from around the country so there was no atmosphere. You used to crack some sort of joke and it would be dead quiet – it was horrible. Now there are thousands there who are really up for the event, and are there because they want to be there rather than to be seen on telly. When I heard the cheer for Chris Hoy last year, I thought: ‘Oooh Hello, he’s going to do well!’. And I was right! Prior to that most people’s favourite had been Lewis Hamilton.”

How important do people in sport consider the award?
“It’s always been a big thing – because it shows recognition for what you’ve achieved. It’s really sought after.”

Can Usain Bolt win the Overseas Personality Award this year?
“Well he won’t be far off storming it again – he went even faster this year didn’t he? He gave an amazing two performances in this year’s World Athletics championships. And perhaps Roger Federer may do it for winning Wimbledon again.”

How long have you been presenting it now?
“That’s a good question. Is it 12 years or thereabouts?”

Who was the most memorable star who came on the show in that time?
“It’s got to be Muhammed Ali. But for me, as a footballer, it was Pele! When I interviewed Pele he went on and on and I was getting shouted at in my ear that I had to interrupt him so the show could go on. But I’m thinking ‘No way! This Is Pele! He can finish what he has to say!’. You can cut down other people’s interview, but not someone like him! I might have got a bit of a b*****king there.”

Is a big star due to come on this year?
“There is – and it’s a surprise and it will be very moving!”

Will you pay tribute to Bobby Robson?
“Well we always do pay tribute to those who passed away in the year. Bobby received the lifetime achievement award not long ago so our memories will drift back to that, especially those of us who knew him so well. I played under him for such a good time. He was a great man.”

The Young Sports star award is always interesting?
“Well yes Wayne Rooney won it when he was 16 and look at him now. It’s always a good predictor of future stars…”

Sports Personality Of The Year will be shown on 13 December BBC1 at 7pm.