“I hope I don’t get in trouble for telling you this”

IAN COLE’s weekly round-up of sporting quotes, including the latest F1 scandal, Guinness in golf, and Anfield’s favourite Cockney
“He could light up a room. There was never a dull moment. He dragged snooker from being a working man’s game to becoming a global sport. But he could be a nightmare. I’ve never known anyone who had such incredible highs and lows” Barry Hearn, the head of World Snooker, pays tribute to Alex Higgins who died from throat cancer, aged 61.

“Fernando is faster than you. Can you confirm you understand that message?” Rob Smedley, the Ferrari race engineer, with a thinly disguised order to Felipe Massa to let Fernando Alonso win the German Grand Prix.

“This was the most stupid thing I have ever seen from Ferrari. They did not need to do it. There are eight races left. Why shouldn’t Massa have a chance to win, a year on from the accident which nearly claimed his life?” Niki Lauda, a former world champion for Ferrari.

“Over the last couple of years I’ve been warming up a lot down the touchline and the stick does make me chuckle. I love it. Hopefully, they will be saying nice things about me now. Jamie Carragher says I’m alright for a Cockney. That’s as good as it gets, isn’t it?” Joe Cole leaves London for a new life at Liverpool.

“We need eight medals, including at least one gold. If it doesn’t happen you can wave me goodbye at Heathrow” Charles van Commenee, head coach of the British athletics team, sets his target for track and field athletes at the 2012 Olympics.

“In Africa, when you come from a difficult life, when it’s not so easy to survive, you respect money when you start to earn it and you respect people more” Yaya Toure leaves Barcelona to join the high-rollers at Manchester City in a £24 million deal.

“I’m a sprinter. My job is to win stages. If that’s how I win the green jersey then so be it. But my style of winning the green jersey is to win stages” Mark Cavendish wins the final stage of the Tour de France for a second year, but sees Alessandro Petacchi take the sprinters’ green jersey.

“Football fans don’t care. The players don’t care. Saddam Hussein could own your football club. If he’s putting millions into it they’d be quite happy. They’d be singing ‘There’s only one Saddam’.” Harry Redknapp.

“There are not so many children playing in the park. When they do, it’s in a structure and there’s always an adult there. What happens if that adult is just hollering? You develop a group of zombies who are looking across asking ‘What do I do now?’” Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA’s Director of Football Development , on the problems of youth football.

“I have had a bellyfull in the last few weeks of people telling me young English footballers aren’t good enough and don’t play football the right way. As a nation we are very good at telling people what they can’t do. Tell them often enough and they’ll believe it” Noel Blake, coach of England Under-19s, sees his charges scrape into the semi-finals of the European championship.

“He said a few words and read a poem. It was inspiring. He wrote his own poem ” oh my god I hope I don’t get in trouble for telling you this” Jessica Ennis, the heptathlon world champion, perhaps realising that having banned drug cheat Linford Christie reading poetry to the British track team may not be widely approved.

“I get on great with everyone. It’s part of the way I play and part of what I do. If I’m in charge of the keg of Guinness, that will be great” Darren Clarke outlines his duties as Ryder Cup vice-captain.

“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been a long road with the rehab, but I’m hoping to play again in the next few weeks. I’m back in the nets at Lancashire and from somewhere I’ve found the ability to bat again” Andrew Flintoff, the England cricket all-rounder.

“I missed the life others have, but now I’ve seen it I can only say that normal life is boring” Yelena Isinbayeva, pictured right, is returning to pole vaulting, at which she was world and Olympic champion.

“What we have seen is incredible, the best moment of my life. Everyone who has owned a horse dreams of winning this race. When it happens it brings grown men to their knees in tears” Harry Herbert, leader of a 12-strong syndicate which owns Harbinger, sees his horse romp home in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

“You can’t go too soon with the British public. It’s a slow-burn psychology. We’re getting to the point where one or two are starting to think: ‘This might just be all right’. I think of my mother. I’d come home and say: ‘I got nine As at O level and she’d be like: ‘OK’. That’s how the Brits are.”

Has his mother expressed more enthusiasm for his Olympic role?

“Unfortunately she has quite severe dementia” Paul Deighton, LOCOG’s chief executive, as interviewed by The Guardian‘s Donald McRae.

“My concerns have not been about Hodgson’s ability or ambition, more about what he was letting himself in for. I don’t want to see him flounder. He’s too nice, too good a man. I keep thinking what happened to him at Blackburn” Des Lynam, on his friend, Roy Hodgson, new manager at Liverpool.

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