“The fat lady is singing and I do not like her tune”

The week in sport and sports journalism in quotes, by IAN COLE. Including non-Survival Sunday for Blackpool, Birmingham and Ancelotti, more corruption allegation at FIFA, Henry Moore sculptures and rugby league, doping allegations and Lance Armstrong, and a record innings by Graham Napier

Ian Holloway: a star fallen from the Premier League

“The fat lady is singing and, unfortunately, I do not like her tune” Ian Holloway and his Blackpool team receive a standing ovation from a packed Old Trafford after relegation from the Premier League.


“Each upheaval brings new practice methods, new relationships at the training ground, different managerial likes and dislikes and often an altered tactical approach, all of which the players must learn. Chelsea’s senior players have been unusually resilient in the face of these repeated culture shocks but must be reaching the point where their powers of adaptation are stretched to twanging point” Paul Hayward in The Guardian on the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti, just 12 months after he had led Chelsea to the Double. Owner Roman Abramovich is now seeking a seventh manager in eight years.

“I went through the wringer. I feel like I should be dancing up and down with my drawers on my head. I can’t do that, because I have to stay professional, but that is how I feel” Mick McCarthy sees his Wolves side survive despite a 3-2 defeat to Blackburn.

“It was like being in a trance. I thought we’d done it by getting back to 1-1. I’ve been relegated before, but this feels worse because it’s my team. I’ve been in charge for the whole year. They are my lads, I picked them, I built the squad” Alex McLeish after his Birmingham side goes down after losing at Spurs.

“We loved Blackpool for what they were. But if they never pass this way again there will be others, fed through the wringer just the same. They will come to places like Old Trafford and play 11 against 11 on the same expanse of grass. And we will look on as if it is a level playing field. As if” Martin Samuel, SJA Sports Writer of the Year, in the Daily Mail on a nerve-tingling final day.

Sepp Blatter: well worth the FA's vote?

“There are a well-reported range of issues, both recent and current, which make it difficult to support either candidate” David Bernstein, the FA chairman, as the organisation contemplates abstaining from the FIFA presidential election.

“It is a bit strange when the No1 association in the world, the FA, have two candidates to choose from and they cannot make a decision on which they support” Sepp Blatter.

“The biggest source for tickets for the secondary market, which I call it, is people inside FIFA, people high up in FIFA” Atle Barlaup, a Norwegian ticket agent who sells World Cup tickets obtained from FIFA Ex Co members on the black market, on Monday’s Panorama.

“Until I walked into the courtroom, I hadn’t told a soul. My testimony went on for six hours. For me it was like the Hoover Dam breaking. I opened up; I told the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And I felt a sense of relief I’d never felt before” Tyler Hamilton, the American cyclist, on admitting his drug use to a US Grand Jury, in which he became the latest to implicate seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.

Tyler Hamilton: finally, the truth?

“I am happy if the under-21s do well because I want England to do well. I think it is not the right decision but I will respect it and let him go” Arsene Wenger wants Jack Wilshere to have a summer’s rest rather than play in the European under-21 championship. When the final squad was announced, Wenger had got his way.

“The final is at Old Trafford, I’ve played there, my dad is manager there and it would have been horrible for me to see Huddersfield and MK Dons there” Duncan Ferguson steers Peterborough into the League One play-off final.

“I feel lower than a snake’s belly at the moment. But the fire is still burning inside me, don’t you worry about that” Dave Jones‘s Cardiff loses in the Championship play-offs for a second successive year.

“We could not be seen to have a financial relationship with a club that has a fascist as manager” Andy Newman, spokesman for the GMB Union, sponsors of Swindon Town, who appointed Paolo Di Canio as manager.

“At least by having di Canio as manager means Swindon will have the training run on time” Anonymous Twitter feed on the Swindon appointment.

“She opened the show among the Henry Moores at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (great park, if you’ve never been), shoehorning in a tenuous link or two. ‘Following the Challenge Cup is a joy,’ she said. ‘It is in itself a work of art.’ Eh? ‘Fought for by men who have chiselled their bodies and sculpted their muscles.’ Ah, I see” Martin Kelner‘s must-read weekly TV review turns to the BBC’s coverage of rugby league, and Clare Balding.

“Could you all please sit down on the chairs rather than throw them” Ben Shephard tries to calm a scuffle at West Ham’s end-of-season gala dinner.

“It’s been hard mentally these past 11 months and there were low points when I wondered if I would get back out on the field again. But you play mind games with yourself in an effort to stay motivated. Part of what I was telling myself was that I would enjoy every single moment if I did get back out there again” Graham Napier, the Essex all-rounder, returns after a year out with a stress fracture of the back and equals the first-class record 16 sixes in his 196 against Surrey.

Groves (right) and De Gale: they like one another really

“I can’t lose to this joke. I would lose my street cred and have to move house” James DeGale ahead of his British and Commonwealth title fight against his West London neighbour George Groves.

“He’s like a child. Every time the slightest thing goes wrong he’s a baby who needs mothering” George Groves is quick to retaliate. Groves won the fight on a split decision.

“You don’t often see fires in Formula One these days. That’s why young drivers became a little blasé about the need for balaclavas and fireproof underwear” Martin Brundle as Nick Heidfeld walks unscathed from his Lotus-Renault during practice for the Spanish Grand Prix.

“We rode like madmen to try to stay inside the time limit. If I stop to pee, if I crash and change a wheel, I always have a race official – as well as an ice cream truck and a marching band – all watching me. If I can cheat them I’m David Copperfield” Mark Cavendish is accused of hitching a lift up a mountain in the Giro d’Italia.

“Had this type of offence happened in the high street, the offender would have been prosecuted in the criminal courts” Judge Jeff Blackett, the RFU disciplinary officer, imposes an eight-week ban on Leicester’s Manu Tuilagi following a series of punches on Northampton’s England wing Chris Ashton.


Mon Sep 12: SJA Autumn Golf Day, Muswell Hill GC. Click here for more details and to book yourself in for the day.

Wed Dec 7: SJA 2011 British Sports Awards – note the date in your diary now.

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