ENGLAND cricket hero Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff and union leader Paul Mackney have both been named Beard of the Year in a close shave for the title.
The Beard Liberation Front said polling was so tight between all-rounder Flintoff, now playing in the second Test against South Africa, and Mr Mackney, leader of college lecturers' union NATFHE, that the title was made a tie.
The front is an informal network of beard wearers.
Its organiser, Keith Flett, said: "It has been both an exhilarating and a difficult year for beard wearers and the vote for Beard of 2004 reflects that.
"Freddie Flintoff has demonstrated just how cool beards can be.
"By contrast, Paul Mackney has been steadfast in defending the rights of beard wearers.
"A sympathy vote for David Blunkett was not enough to see him win."
Previous winners have included Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and Charles Clarke, now Home Secretary.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, won the title for "Organic Beard" 2004, awarded for a naturally-looking beard.