The trophy will soon adorn the bar of the Original Farmers Arms in Ecclestone, Lancashire. Bradley Wiggins, the Tour de France and Olympic champion and newly-crowned sports personality of the year, said that – after a spell on his nan's mantelpiece – the silverware had been promised to his local.
There were only a handful of stick-on sideburns in evidence and fewer union flags in sight in the cavernous ExCel Centre. But the support for Wiggins from the 16,000 in the arena and the millions more watching on television was as feverish as it has been for the cyclist throughout a stellar year.
"It was something to remember for the rest of my life. You can control what happens when you're out on a bike but you can't control what happens when you're sitting on a leather seat in front of the country's greatest sportsmen and sportswomen," said Wiggins, the longstanding favourite to win the award, afterwards.
When Mo Farah wasn't named in third or second place, Wiggins said he thought he had lost.
Lord Coe, London 2012 chairman and recipient of a lifetime achievement award, called him a "rock star" after seeing him receive the prize to loud chants of "Wiggo, Wiggo". Wiggins certainly looked like one, in a bespoke velvet double-breasted suit by Soho tailor Mark Powell. But, if that's the case, he's a reluctant rock star.
For a man with a self-confessed ambivalence for the limelight, Wiggins has spent 2012 hogging it with his towering achievements. They have stretched from the Champs-Elysées to the Olympic Stadium, where he literally rang in Britain's golden summer of success with a giant bell, to the scene of his time trial victory at Hampton Court and now, finally, to London's Docklands.
After a year in which he became the first British man to win the Tour de France, followed by his fourth Olympic gold in the time trial a few weeks later amid a riot of red, white and blue, Wiggins found himself again centre of attention and the focus of much celebration.
It was belated reward for a career of consistent success that exploded into the wider public consciousness with his Tour victory.
"I'm just very grateful. I'll do other things within this sport, but I'll never top this year and I don't mind accepting that," he said. "It's something to tell the kids when they're older. When they're giving me grief and they're teenagers, I can put the old DVD on and say 'look what your father did'. It's never going to get any better, is it? Let's face it," he said.
All night in the arena, yards from where the likes of Nicola Adams and Luke Campbell won their medals in the summer, the crowd noisily acclaimed the 12 nominees as they relived the highlights of a sporting year unlikely to ever be equalled.
The glittering field was widely acknowledged as the most competitive ever. "For the first time in a long time, it made you proud to be British," said Wiggins of 2012. "It was quite something, I just hope that continues."
Some of the themes of that glorious summer, now already tinged in sepia tones, were reflected in the shortlist.
There were five women to showcase the boost given to women's sport by the likes of Ennis, Adams and Katherine Grainger.
And there were three Paralympians, including four-time London gold medallist David Weir, who provided a memorable finale to London's sporting summer when he surged to victory on the Mall in the wheelchair marathon and celebrated with his son Mason.
Wiggins was the longstanding favourite and withstood a late surge of support for second placed Ennis, the face of London 2012 who won gold on Super Saturday amid extreme pressure, and Andy Murray, the US Open champion, who came third.
For the athletes, the public and the sporting administrators present, it was once last opportunity to wallow in the achievements and emotions of an incomparable year.
The 70,000 volunteers, or "gamesmakers" who did so much to ensure the success of London's Games were present in force. The Duchess of Cambridge and Beckham, Olympic summer standbys in the stands, were also on hand.
If the first half of the award's title was justified by Wiggins' historic sporting achievements, the second half was probably as much to do with the public seeing him as an antidote to the distant celebrity of other stars.Whether looking askance at Lesley Garrett as she warbled the national anthem on the Champs-Elysées or bursting free from the VIP enclosure at Hampton Court so that he could find his family and greet the crowds outside, his unaffected honesty struck a chord.
He struggled last night to find words to sum up his appeal. "I don't want to give you an easy headline," he said.
The Belgian-born, Kilburn-raised cyclist has also overcome adversity. Many doubted whether he could combine winning the Tour with Olympic success, yet he proved them wrong.
"Over the years, since he was a young lad, his capacity to work hard was unbelievable, off the scale. Over the years he has learned how to manage himself and how to manage his sport," said David Brailsford, the British Cycling performance director who was named coach of the year. His margin of victory in the Tour was crushing. Aided by his Sky teammates, especially Chris Froome, he wore the yellow jersey for 13 consecutive stages to become the first British winner of the race in its 99th edition. With his recognisable sideburns, sharp suits, Fred Perry tie ups and fondness for Paul Weller, Wiggins has also brought cycling – always a sport that has had a sense of style – out of the sports pages and onto the fashion and celebrity spreads as well.
But there is an irony in that because Wiggins has struggled to a degree with his new found celebrity and the demands it has placed upon him and his family.
He has admitted he hates being the centre of attention off his bike, calling himself a "shy bloke" who "hates" the word celebrity. While others wrung the last drops of publicity out of their Olympic feats, Wiggins was knocked off his bike by a white Astra van outside a BP garage.
Brailsford also took the time to pay tribute to the ability of Wiggins, Chris Hoy, Mark Cavendish and Victoria Pendleton, saying he hoped it would inspire a new generation of cyclists.
From a fringe concern, the sport has delivered up a succession of national heroes and inspired an upsurge in participation nationally. Wiggins was the third cyclist in the past five years to win the award after Hoy in 2008 and Cavendish last year.
Brailsford said: "When I got into cycling, it seemed like an odd thing to be doing. All my friends thought it was an odd thing to be doing.To go from that to where the sport stands in British culture now is remarkable.".
For Wiggins, the spotlight is unlikely to move away from him for some time yet.
To further evident discomfort, he is highly likely to be knighted in the New Year's honours list. And, following an encouraging training camp in Mallorca, he said he was targeting another tilt at the Tour.
"I've always wanted to win a second Tour. I'm the defending champion. I want to try and win the Giro D'Italia and win the Tour de France behind it. People say it can't be done, winning two Tours. So let's have a go at it."
With that the people's champion, the reluctant rock star was off to celebrate. "There's a free bar, isn't there? It would be rude not to."
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