This week’s quotes from sport and journalism, by IAN COLE, includes superinjunctions, Manchester United, Rangers and Celtic, Ronnie O’Sullivan, jockeys and whips, and a bold statement of intent from heavyweight world champion David Haye
“I did not come into journalism to go around gagging journalists” Andrew Marr, former BBC political correspondent and national newspaper editor, three years after taking out a superinjunction that gagged journalists over an extramarital affair. At least one Premier League footballer is maintaining his own superinjunction.
“Every single one of the FA directors is a white male and late middle-aged. There is no one who has played the game to a reasonable level and no women or anyone from the ethnic communities. No change is no option. This is not a fight I wanted, but things are sufficiently bad to do something about it and it’s not going to be pleasant. There is going to be an awful lot of backbiting” Hugh Robertson, the Minister for Sport, speaking at the Commons Select Committee’s latest session on football governance.
“‘I don’t think we need a television programme to portray the history of our club” Sir Alex Ferguson refuses to reveal whether he’d watched the BBC2 Munich disaster drama, United.
“We had too much respect for Manchester United; we never got into the game” Manuel Neuer, the Schalke 04 goalkeeper and transfer target, after he managed single-handedly to keep United to just a two-goal advantage after the first leg of the Champions League semi-final in Germany.
“There comes a point when, rather than have to steer a patch so as not to upset supporters who buy season tickets, the gloves have to come off. There needs to be an honest declaration along the lines of ‘This is football. It’s not politics or religion.’ They must disenfranchise themselves from all that” Mark McGhee, the former Celtic player, appeals for a show of common sense from the Rangers and Celtic hierarchy after the latter’s manager, Neil Lennon, is targeted by parcel bombers.
“Don’t ask me about that. It’s called humour. Don’t distract from my team’s performance. Don’t even write about it. It’s just a bit of fun” Neil Lennon when asked to explain why he risked inciting Rangers supporters by approaching them at the end of a goalless draw at Ibrox.
“Look at the message boards of practically any of our major clubs. Hate is again the overriding emotion; the kind of incoherent anger generated by people at lonely keyboards, people protected by anonymity and motivated by irrational malice” Patrick Collins, in the Mail on Sunday, asserts that football hooliganism has never gone away.
“He’s a real top pro, a proper good bloke, family man, role model. Not a moment’s problem, just gets on with it. It’s brilliant to see an English boy win it” Harry Redknapp in praise of the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year, West Ham’s Scott Parker.
“It’s 24/7. I was off on Wednesday and turned off my phone. Isn’t that how you should relax? Couple of beers, game of golf, switch the phone off and throw it in a drawer. But you can’t get away from it. All the time I’m focused on how to win against Wigan on Saturday” Steve Bruce on managerial stress after Aston Villa’s Gerard Houllier is admitted to hospital with chest pains.
“The pitch is going to be the biggest in England because of the way we play. Teams coming here are going to have a problem. They’ll say ‘Oh yeah, two yards, three yards, it doesn’t matter’. No, it does matter. Two yards is a goal. Two yards is a possibility to get away from a defender. I’m telling you, it’s massive” Gus Poyet celebrates Brighton’s promotion to the Championship and looks forward to a new 25,000-seat stadium at Falmer.
“When the seriousness of the situation was brought to my attention I wanted to help and I’ve made a donation which should keep the club in a healthy position for the next few years” John Terry (reputedly on more than £150,000 per week), comes to the rescue of Senrab, the east London boys’ club where he other Premier League players started in the game.
“You can love Savage or loathe him – a bit like me really. But he’s done well to make a living with the ability he’s got. He is long past his sell-by date” Neil Warnock, the QPR manager, after Robbie Savage leads Derby to a point at the Championship leaders.
“He’s doing a lot of work with the strength and conditioning people. His legs are like those floodlight pylons over there” Don Topley, the former Essex bowler, on 6ft 7in schoolboy son Reece, 17, who has had two five-fors in his first three Championship games.
“I’ve won the world title three times and been in a lot of big matches but I would always come off the table relieved the tournament had ended. Out there today, I didn’t want it to end” Ronnie O’Sullivan rediscovers his love for snooker while beating Dominic Dale 10-2.
“I’ll fight him anywhere that’s got a ring and a referee who can count to 10. He will freeze like an iceberg when I hit him on the chin, panic, attempt to run for cover and his big brother will be mopping up the tears with a white towel” David Haye’s world heavyweight boxing unification fight against Wladimir Klitschko is not until July2 – but the hype is under way.
“I was hit by a bar stool and suffered a pretty bad cut. I think I lost about two pints of blood. I needed at least 10 stitches. It was pretty scary” Andy Powell, the Wales No8 who has been suspended by his club, Wasps, after a bar brawl with QPR football fans in Shepherd’s Bush.
“Henson has had an attitude which has been difficult to manage” Mourad Boudjellel, the Toulon president, as former Wales international Gavin Henson is suspended following clashes with team mates in a night club.
“If parents did not want their kids to see what happens they wouldn’t bring them” Andrew Thornton, the National Hunt jockey at Towcester, which plans to ban the use of a whip.
“I don’t think you could hurt a horse if you tried with the design of whips now” John Francome, the former champion jockey.
UPCOMING SJA DATES
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.
All details subject to alteration. Keep checking sportsjournalists.co.uk for updates