IAN COLE with his weekly selection of quotes, including true sporting tragedy, an overdue debate into the Hillsborough disaster, plus Wales’s controversial World Cup exit and jockeys and the whip hand
“It looked like a scene from Terminator. There were pieces of metal on fire in the middle of the track, with no car attached. Debris everywhere. It was scary” Ryan Briscoe, Indy car driver, on the 15-car, 220mph crash in Las Vegas in which Britain’s Dan Wheldon died.
“I said before the race that this track is not suitable. People were doing crazy stuff. This is the ugly part of our sport” Dario Franchitti.
“I’m gutted, but there was no malicious intent. As soon as I hit him his body weight took control and, next thing, I was walking off into the stands” Sam Warburton, Wales rugby captain, sent off in the World Cup semi-final defeat to France.
“He put my feet above my head and we have seen since the beginning of the competition that every time that is penalised with a red or yellow card. Whether it is a fair sentence, I would say yes. I feel no anger against him. But we were lucky because we didn’t play well. Wales played much better than us” Vincent Clerc, French victim of Warburton’s tackle.
“Does that mean every time there is a tackle and you lift a player it’s going to be a red card? I’m absolutely gutted. Why spoil a World Cup semi-final by giving a red card?” Warren Gatland, Wales coach.
“Instead of those at fault taking responsibility for their actions, a co-ordinated campaign began to shift the blame and look for scapegoats. It is claimed that truth is the first casualty of war, but the same can be said of Hillsborough. Misdirection, obfuscation and damned lies were all used as smokescreens to deflect attention away from the guilty” Steve Rotheram, MP for Walton, the Liverpool constituency which includes Anfield, opens the House of Commons debate calling for the release of all documents related to the disaster in 1989, when 96 fans died.
“I think Wayne has shown tremendous improvement over the past few years in terms of his temperament, his reaction to tackles and things like that. As maturity comes it brings responsibility and I think he’s improving all the time” Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United boss, defends Wayne Rooney, sent off for England in Montenegro, but then leaves him on the bench against Liverpool.
“Who’s the Scouser in the wig?” Kop humour as Wayne Rooney, complete with hair transplant, prepares to come on as a United sub at Anfield.
“I’ve always said the most important game is the next one. It’s Manchester United this time and next week it will be Norwich City. I don’t have a league table of teams I enjoy beating more than others” Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool manager.
“Blackpool has changed. The Tower is still there but the flame has gone. We were famous for one year and we have to fight harder if we want to be famous again” Ian Holloway, Blackpool manager, after the 4-0 defeat at West Ham.
“I’ve worked really hard for that. I’ve scored goals in non-League when there was nothing behind the goal, just grass and a few houses” Anthony Pilkington, scorer of two goals in Norwich’s 3-1 defeat of Swansea.
“If you’re in Kuala Lumpur there isn’t anyone subscribing to Astro or ESPN to watch Bolton. The majority are subscribing because they want to watch Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal” Ian Ayre, Liverpool managing director, wants to renegotiate the Premier League’s overseas TV rights deal to favour the big clubs.
“You won’t get more money by killing the heart and soul of the Premier League and the heart and soul of English football. We will finish up like the Spanish League with just two teams in it. No competition, no anything. I find Ayre’s comments diabolical” Dave Whelan, Wigan chairman.
“It is one of the greatest days of my life. We gambled our future on believing in our case. The whole process is flawed and little Leyton Orient can hold our heads up because we fought our corner and came out on top. I thought we were going to win on points, but we have won by a knock-out” Barry Hearn, Leyton Orient chairman, after the Olympic Park legacy Company decides not to proceed with a deal which would leave West Ham as co-owners of the Olympic Stadium.
“Why are we favourites? This is an international team who, like us, have made it to the play-offs. All the teams at this stage are strong. Let’s not make the common mistake of underestimating them. Let’s not delude ourselves that we have made it to the finals already” Giovanni Trapattoni, Ireland manager, after the Euro 2012 play-off draw pairs the Irish with Estonia.
“The only gambling I do is on a Saturday afternoon when I might put on two wingers or two strikers” Alan Pardew, Newcastle manager, in response to a suggestion he spends too much time in casinos.
“There are a lot of good friends of mine in that English set-up and, as a fellow coach, I don’t take any pleasure – and the Welsh team don’t take any pleasure – in the criticism being heaped on England. We are no monks. A lot has been made that we are whiter than white. We definitely are not” Warren Gatland, Wales rugby coach.
“Australia must be just about the hardest team to like since Will Carling’s England of the early 1990s” New Zealand Herald comment piece.
“I can’t ride horses knowing I’m not doing justice to myself or the owners. I was always told, as a young jockey, that the last jockey who goes for his whip normally wins. I don’t want to be branded as a fella who wants to hit horses. If the other lads think they can ride within the rules, good luck to them” Richard Hughes hands in his jockey’s licence in protest at new rules governing the number of times jockeys can use the whip.
“It’s like cutting off my head and my legs. We are civilised people. It is 2011, not 1800” Christophe Soumillon, French jockey fined £55,000 and banned for five days at Ascot for breaching the new whip rule.
“I am willing to be criticised for being flexible. Margaret Thatcher used to have a way of negotiating. She just said no. I’m not like that” Paul Roy, chairman of the British Horseracing Authority, under pressure to review the rules.
“I don’t use my whip much. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t hit a horse more than six times – it happens easily… I shut down completely to everything when I’m riding. People say, ‘When you won the Derby did you hear the crowd?’ I can’t hear a thing. I’m locked in my own world. And you expect me to count how many times I hit a horse? It’s crazy” Kieren Fallon, former champion jockey, in an interview with Donald McRae.
“I hate fucking interviews” Fallon in the same interview.
SJA WORKING LUNCH: Baroness Grey-Thompson on the 2012 London Paralympics. Thu Nov 17: click here for booking details
- Who will you vote for as Britain’s Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of the Year? See Ian Cole’s overview of the leading candidates by clicking here.
- Follow news of the SJA British Sports Award on Twitter with the hashtag #SJA2011
- Mo Farah’s historic claim on your votes By Randall Northam
- Mark Cavendish keeps his promise in his race of his life By Richard Williams
- England’s Ashes-winning cricket team are top of the world. By Ian Cole
- Laura Davies gets back on song with Solheim. By Patrick Kidd
- Alastair Cook’s tour helped drag England from the brink. By Ian Cole
- Chrissie Wellington is an Iron Lady who deserves your vote.By Steven Downes
- Nick Matthew, squash’s heir to Barrington. By Rod Gilmour
- Sarah Stevenson gets a big kick from taekwondo. By Trevor Baxter
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