What a week in sport – the Ashes victory, ashes to ashes for Roy Hodgson’s Anfield ambitions, followed by the return of King Kenny, and under fire managers at Ipswich, West Ham, Chelsea and, after Cup giant killers Stevenage did their stuff, Newcastle
“Get back on The Muppet Show” Shane Warne to everyone’s favourite sports diarist, Charlie Sale, in Sydney for the Daily Mail.
“You wouldn’t know the final Test is on because my team mates have not said a word about the cricket since Boxing Day” Robbie Fowler, playing his football in Perth, where he displayed a replica Ashes urn before a game.
“The performance of the elite team over the past few weeks has been very disappointing. But I think it’s important we look a fair bit deeper into Australian cricket than just the last couple of weeks” Ricky Ponting.
“He’s grown in stature in this series, and considering the high position he started, that’s saying a lot about him” Andy Flower, the England cricket coach, on his captain, Andrew Strauss.
“Cook has got a great head on his shoulders and when he gets in he just wants to keep batting; as a captain, he’s a dream made from heaven” Mike Gatting on the Ashes man of the series, record-breaking batsman Alistair Cook.
“We must look back in this with pride and satisfaction but there will be a moment to draw a line and move on” Flower sets his side’s sights on world No1 Test team status.
“It’s been a tough couple of months and we’ve been outplayed in all facets of the game” Michael Clarke, Australia’s stand-in skipper for the Sydney Test.
“The way they’ve stood up, all of their players really, throughout this whole series has been very impressive” Shane Watson, the Australia opener, gives credit where it’s due.
“This lad Johnson – I say he’s fragile but it’s like Boris Johnson bowling at times” David Lloyd assesses Mitchell Johnson’s contribution to the series.
“It was a penalty. Dimitar says he was definitely clipped” Sir Alex Ferguson, after his Bulgarian striker went down in Liverpool’s penalty area in the first minute of the game against Liverpool, earning his side the decisive penalty.
“The penalty is a joke. I have seen the replay and unless they have changed the rules it is no penalty” Kenny Dalglish on the incident in the first minute of his return to football management.
“People who have played in quarter-finals of World Cups looked as if they were amateurs” Steve Bruce reflects on Sunderland’s FA Cup exit.
“Chelsea have done what they did to Mourinho, to Ancelotti. They’ve left him totally and utterly isolated, they’ve undermined his authority in Chelsea Football Club amongst all the staff and the players and the players now look at him and think he’s a dead man walking” Rob Beasley, The Sun‘s chief sportswriter, talking on Sky’s Sunday Supplement.
“Drogba looks like he did under Felipe Scolari – he looks like he is waiting for the manager to get sacked before he starts trying again” Tony Cascarino.
“I am not the sort of player to do it, but I own up to it and apologise. It is something I don’t want to see in my game” Theo Walcott admits he dived in an attempt to win a penalty during Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Leeds in the FA Cup third round.
“You just fuel it and put two and two together and come up with about 949, which is wrong” Paul Lambert, the Norwich manager, refuting rumours that he is about to take the job at Burnley.
“You had 11 lads from Stevenage who probably wanted it a bit more than us and that’s the most disappointing thing” Kevin Nolan after Newcastle’s FA Cup third-round exit.
“The focus before the game was how we would win 5-0. We established that if we did just 20 per cent of what it would take to win 5-0 we would still win the game. Our game plan was to get to five. Three wasn’t five, but it was a decent result” Graham Westley, Stevenage manager, after 3-1 win over Newcastle.
“It is unfortunate circumstances because a very good man, with great dignity and integrity, has lost his job” Dalglish pays tribute to his unlucky immediate predecessor as Liverpool manager, Roy Hodgson.
“I am very sad not to have been able to put my stamp on the squad, to be given the time to bring new players into the club in this transfer window and to have been able to be part of the rebuilding process at Liverpool” Hodgson on leaving Liverpool.
“Comments from alcoholic drug abusers are not really gonna upset me and who is Paul Merson to judge players, he was average at the best of times. The only reason he’s on that show is coz he gambled all his money away. The clown!” @glen_johnson‘s Twitter rant, the Liverpool defender clearly touchy about criticism of his own performances on the day Roy Hodgson left Anfield.
“Results haven’t been as good as I’d have hoped so far this season and when results aren’t good the manager gets the sack, that’s the game” Roy Keane, now the ex-manager of Ipswich.
“I make no excuses – everything went wrong” Avram Grant after seeing his West Ham side thrashed by Newcastle in the league.
“As for Clare, she once took me to task for a piece I wrote about the Grand National, focusing on her hairdo to the detriment of the innovations the BBC had introduced into their coverage. Sorry, Clare, but this time your hair was by some distance the most interesting thing on view. It was beautifully cut and styled differently each day. I particularly enjoyed Wednesday’s style: gelled to within an inch of its life and slicked back in the style of Gene Vincent. I think there may have been a touch of “I dare you, AA Gill” about it” Martin Kelner‘s television review in the Guardian of Famous and Fearless, co-presented by Clare Balding.
“Watching the opening game of the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar, I was struck by two things. Firstly that the host nation’s football team are useless and full of imported ringers, secondly that FIFA president Sepp Blatter appeared to be perched on something resembling a throne. All falls into place now, doesn’t it?” Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail.
“I’ve had defining fights and beaten the best in the world as a cruiserweight, but, without me, Wladimir can never say he’s done the same as a heavyweight” David Haye, announcing that a planned bout with the Klitschkos now would not be taking place.
“We’ve all descended from the monkeys… and we’re still descending” Navjot Singh Sidhu speaks from experience at the IPL auction.