“Aristotle and ballet and Chanel and diarrhoea”

IAN COLE’s weekly round-up of quotes from sport and journalism begins with the end of a newspaper and covers the F1 British British Grand Prix, Luke Donald on rankings and majors, Ricky Hatton and Andrew Flintooff on retirement, Bradley Wiggins on crashes, Alastair Cook on victory and Luka Modric on transfers

“Sadly, last night was the final time this team got to work together. It’s been disbanded despite decades of success. As sports editor, I’m proud to be able to run the names of every one of that team on these pages. It’s been an honour and a privilege to work with them all” Paul McCarthy, the News of the World’s last sports editor, signs off with a tribute to his back room staff who got the paper out every Saturday night as the paper produced its final edition.

“I have a harsh attitude to those who, in the modern News of the World, have managed to discard, without any remorse at all, employees like sub-editors, who are the reporter’s greatest friend. Each evening, Daphne and I raise a glass and offer a toast to someone. Last night it was ‘to the old News of the World’” Richie Benaud, star cricket columnist of the now-defunct paper.

“It’s a happy day for lying politicians, dodgy former royals, corrupt sportsmen and drug-taking and philandering celebs” Dominic Ponsford, editor of the Press Gazette, on the closure of the News of the World.

Crunch time: the final lap of Sunday's British Grand Prix and Lewis Hamilton's McLaren (right) makes contact with the red Ferrarri of his critic, Felipe Massa

“You don’t believe it initially, especially when you are so hyped up at your home Grand Prix. It’s a real shock to the system” Jenson Button’s hopes are finished when a wheel comes loose after a cock-up in the pit lane.

“I’ve got a platinum card for the stewards” Lewis Hamiltonafter another controversial drive, finishing fourth at the British Grand Prix.

“This, indeed, was the best of Hamilton. He may not have the most embraceable manner, in either triumph or defeat, but no one ever said he wasn’t a superb natural born racer” James Lawton in The Independent.

“I don’t make up the ranking system. Yeah, the majors are very important, and I would love to win one or many. I’ll continue to compete in them hard and win if I can. There’s not much more I can say. I’d love to be part of the club of people who’ve won majors. But this is a world ranking, not a majors ranking” Luke Donald, golf’s world No1, looking to end his his majors duck by winning the Open Championship at Royal St George’s this week.

“I never have nightmares about the Olympics. My only bad dreams are where I’ve forgotten my goggles or I turn up to race in my socks. Sometimes I dream about walking into a glass door – which is what generally happens to me at major competitions anyway” Fran Halsall, who harbours hopes of five swimming medals at this month’s world championships in Shanghai, and at next year’s London Olympics.

“Blatter meets Mugabe. If Panini did a Sticker Book of Despots this would be a whole page” @henrywinter

“Federer’s balls look like water melons out there” Boris Becker‘s unique contribution to BBC commentary at Wimbledon.

“I realise that complaining about the hype surrounding a heavyweight title fight is like grumbling about all the peanuts in a peanut brittle bar. The hype is what the fight business is all about, which is what made Dave Clark’s question on Sky 3D Box Office to his panel of boxers a strong contender for ingenuous question of the year. ‘Are we all getting too caught up in Fight Week hype?’ he asked Carl Froch, Barry McGuigan and Johnny Nelson” Martin Kelner, on his toes somewhat better than David Haye, in his sport on TV column.

Fran Halsall: good talker as well as an outstanding swimmer

“If you are looking for someone who can talk cheerfully about Aristotle and ballet and Chanel and diarrhoea and kick-boxing and whether or not God actually exists, then Fran Halsall is the girl for you” Donald McRae, The Guardian‘s award-winning interviewer, waxes lyrical about the swimmer who gamely attended last December’s SJA Sports Awards even though on crutches.

“I’ve never had such an easy year, but if I go easy I get lazy. I slacked off doing my back exercises but now I’m working hard again. I don’t remember the last time I ate KFC. I haven’t had a Guinness for about three months. I party less. I’m allowed out sometimes, but it’s no alcohol and back home early to bed. It’s the way it has to be, but it sucks” Usain Bolt, fastest man in the world, who this season is reduced to running “mere” 9.9s.

“I don’t do it to prove anyone wrong. I do it for the satisfaction that we got in that final half-hour of the game. You can’t replicate that. It’s why you play the game” Alastair Cook captains England to a 3-2 victory over Sri Lanka in the one-day series and receives his man-of-the series award from Michael Atherton, who had described him as a “plodder” in one-day terms.

“It’s getting harder and harder for me to pop into the England dressing room. Time moves on. When I quit Test cricket I was looking forward to three or four more years with Lancashire, so missing that was hard. Coming here today, you realise what you are missing out on” Andrew Flintoff, a spectator at the Old Trafford one-day international.

“We feel they have really gone to town on us and there’s not a lot we can do about it. We take discipline very seriously, but it’s a balancing act. We understand the importance of the integrity of the game, but we want our players to play with an edge. We want to play hard cricket and not be a soft team” Paul Grayson, coach of Essex, fined £5,000 and captain James Foster banned for two games for five breaches of on-field discipline.

“I don’t want to see our bowlers opening a kitten sanctuary. I want to see them running up, bowling bouncers and breaking people’s fingers because if you have seam bowlers who can do that, it makes life easier for the spinner” Graeme Swann, England spinner, defends Stuart Broad against criticism for bowling too short.

“Congratulations. Don’t cock it up” Mick Newell, Notts cricket coach, in a text to the county’s all-rounder Samit Patel, recalled by England after years of fitness problems.

“I went back in the gym but it just wasn’t the same after Pacquaiao. I couldn’t get up in the morning to go running, I couldn’t do the sparring and I couldn’t walk past the chippy. I used to love climbing that mountain, but I couldn’t do it again” Ricky Hatton, former world champion, abandons his comeback and retires.

“I couldn’t get up off the floor for love nor money and once I made it to the side of the road I kept saying I wanted to get back on the bike. But there comes a time when you just can’t do it. I feel on top of the world now. I had some fantastic drugs. I feel fabulous. It’s only bike riding at the end of the day” Bradley Wiggins, out of the Tour de France with a broken collar bone.

“Crashes are always going to be part of the game. It just seems that this year we are going down goat tracks. It’s one thing to say it’s for the spectacle, but we don’t want to see people lose their lives” Stuart O’Grady, Tour de France rider, after Juan Antonio Flecha and Johnny Hoogerland are knocked off their bikes by a TV car.

“I’m really disappointed with Mr Levy’s attitude towards me. He was cold and in an arrogant way made it clear he wasn’t interested in anything I had to say. His attitude only reinforced my view that I’m not making a mistake in my desire to move on” Luka Modric’s transfer away from Spurs seems inevitable following a meeting with chairman Daniel Levy.


  • Thu July 14: SJA Sporting lunch with Charles van Commenee, head coach of UK Athletics, one year ahead of the London Olympics. For booking details click here.
  • 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 – Booking now open. For more details, click here.

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