Quotes of the week: 28Nov2007

Football dominates this week, with England’s fate still centre stage, featuring Michel Platini, Alan Shearer, Slaven Bilic, Brian Clough and a mispronouncing opera singer. Plus blackmail threats at Fifa, vote-rigging allegations at the Commonwealth Games and Christine Ohuruogu’s appeal against her Olympic drugs ban

“Familiarity breeds contempt” – Steve Bruce on his reason for leaving Birmingham for Wigan

“I like Alan a lot but I would hate to stick him in there because it could destroy him. I wouldn’t like to throw him in among the pack of wolves awaiting him if he takes the national job” – Tony Adams advises Alan Shearer, pictured, to steer clear of the “impossible job” as England coach

“Look, it’s my fault. The rules are there and the rules were broken. Ultimately, it’s my fault” – 400m world champion Christine Ohuruogu, interviewed in Observer Sports Monthly, ahead of her appeal against her Olympic ban

“The position of Fifa in no way will ever be altered by any threats or attempts of blackmailing” – Sepp Blatter in a secret memo to Jerome Valke, when he worked at a French marketing agency and was negotiating over the world football body’s marketing rights. Valke is now Blatter’s No2 at Fifa

VOTE NOW! Online voting for the SJA Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of the Year is now open – click here for details

“He should quit talking about new players and focus on coaching the players we have” – Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks on his club’s coach, Rafa Benitez

“As always I am focused on training and coaching my team” – Benitez, possibly 25 times, in his pre-match press conference

“They don’t understand the transfer window in Europe” – Benitez’s response, on nhis co-owners, presumably when emboldened after his side beat Newcastle 3-0

“Look Duncan, you’re a journalist. One day you’ll write a book about this club, Or, more to the point, about me. So you may as well know what I’m thinking and save it up for later when it won’t do any harm to anyone” – Brian Clough to Duncan Hamilton some 30 years ago. This week, that book – Provided You Don’t Kiss Mewon the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award for Hamilton. And Clough

“Everyone in Croatia was saying give us England again but I wanted to avoid England. It’s a very, very hard draw because they are by far the best team in the second pot” – Croatian coach Slaven Bilic on the World Cup qualifying draw

“In Europe they laugh at us. The Dutch coaches don’t think we are very good. I travelled around and had two weeks with Fabio Capello at Juventus and I felt, of all the responses I got, that they didn’t value us very much. Tactically and technically they don’t think we are very clued up” – Tony Adams

“There are 95 registered Brazilian players in the Champions League, 94 French players and 45 English players. When you have twice as few players as other countries it is difficult. If you do not have so many players, what can you do?” – Michel Platini, president of Uefa, argues for player quotas

“Apparently I am to blame because I don’t produce enough English players” – Arsene Wenger

“I wouldn’t pay the next England coach £4 million a year. I would get 40 coaches on £100,000 a year and send them into the regions” – Adams, again

“I’ll bounce back – I’m not one to lie on a beach” – Steve McClaren, £2.5 million richer. Next stop: Barbados.

“No wonder that the English FA have spent so long without representation on Fifa because they just are not liked. When a German or an American arrives in a room, they light it up. But the English are so introverted and reserved and don’t make friends” – notorious Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, upset that England has not agreed to play a meaningless friendly in Trinidad

“We call it the Andrex Premiership. Soft and overly expensive” – Lawrence Dallaglio lets slip what rugby players call their football counterparts

From Charles Sale, in the Daily Mail
“South Africans went to great lengths to keep visitors to the World Cup draw away from any potential crime scenes in Durban… Unfortunately, their hard work was undone when Durban’s Sunday Tribune revealed that Austrian Peter Burgstaller, 43, was murdered while playing golf at the upmarket Selborne Hotel Golf Estate, a short drive from Durban. He was found with a bullet through his chest on the 12th tee. Blatter said that Burgstaller was not part of a World Cup delegation. But he was a former professional footballer, having played in goal for SV Salzburg”

“Many have questioned the hurried, panicky decision of the leadership of the federation to destroy the votes immediately the result was announced. Some have even ridiculed the counting of the votes in a separate room far from the assembly hall where the voting took place, adding a tinge of suspicion of a vote count without observers of the two bidding cities” – Nigerian journalist Mitchell Obi, who worked on the Abuja bid, writing on the AIPS website, questioning the voting procedures in the 2014 Commonwealth Games vote

“If they are going to try to impugn the reputation of the scrutineers, then they had better get their facts absolutely right” – Mike Hooper, of the Commonwealth Games Federation, dismissing the allegations

“Hatton’s going to knock on the door and somebody is going to answer him with a baseball bat on the side of his head” – Roger Mayweather, Floyd’s uncle and coach, extends a warm welcome to Ricky Hatton

“England got what they deserved because they were unbelievably arrogant… it’s a real pleasure to kick them out of the European championship” – Croatia and Manchester City defender Vedran Corluka

“Mila kura si planina” – the words to the Croat national anthem sung by opera singer Tony Henry at Wembley. Instead of “Mila kuda si planina” (which roughly means “You know my dear how we love your mountains”) Henry’s inauspicious version can be interpreted as “My dear, my penis is a mountain”

“Me and all the England lads have got to take the criticism. We let the country down by not qualifying” – Steve Gerrard

“If United don’t equalise, they might lose this game” – Mickey Thomas during his radio commentary of Bolton v Manchester United

“I told him how bad I thought he did and he didn’t like it. Some refs don’t like the truth” – Sir Alex Ferguson explains what he said to referee Mark Clattenburg at United’s defeat to Bolton

Join the SJA today – click here for details and membership application form