IAN COLE’s quotes of the week, on football in Manchester, the broadcasting talents of Robbie Savage, and a management masterclass from Karren Brady. Plus David Haye, Andrew Strauss and Matt Stevens
“You have to give credit where it’s due. They’ve overtaken us for the time being but the good thing from our point of view is we are on our way back up and we won’t give up the fight to overtake them again, don’t worry about that” Steven Gerrard, the Liverpool captain, after Manchester United reach 19 Premier League titles.
“Being an Evertonian it’s all the more special for me that it’s United’s 19th title and the one that has taken us past our main rivals, Liverpool” Wayne Rooney, after his penalty at Blackburn secured the point United needed.
“There has never been a weekend like it and we wanted to make sure both United and City were given equal recognition for their magnificent achievements. People say the paper’s one or the other but we’re not. I like them both to win because it’s good for business” Peter Spencer, sports editor of the Manchester Evening News, who resolved the dilemma of which of his city’s clubs to lead on with the toss of a coin. United won.
“We spoke only about money. If you have not won anything for a long time and you don’t buy good players, you can’t win. It is impossible. You can have the best manager in the world, a magician on the bench, but if you don’t buy then all the clubs who have bought good players are going to win” Roberto Mancini discusses football’s facts of life with Manchester City’s owners minutes after their FA Cup win over Stoke at Wembley.
“They can do what they like at Old Trafford. I’m annoyed to be even saying their name because this is about us. It’s about Manchester City winning the FA Cup” Joe Hart is not alone in resenting having to share an FA Cup victory with Premier League games.
“It’s scandalous the final hasn’t got the stage to itself. The whole nation should be tuning in at 10am, savouring the build-up and watching Wembley Way getting busier by the minute. Instead, thousands will be heading to their own games and will miss it. That saddens me” Jim Montgomery, Sunderland’s 1973 Cup-winning goalkeeper hero.
“ We’ll celebrate winning the title at Blackburn and then we’ll get behind those Blue boys. It’s been ages since we’ve won the Eurovision Song Contest” Manchester United fans’ spokesman on Radio 5Live.
“I just don’t understand that at all. It’s only his opinion after all. Every manager has his favourite referees and if I could remember their names I’d tell you mine” Harry Redknapp after Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is charged by the FA for pre-match comments in praise of referee Howard Webb.
“There is more to TV presenting than having nice hair … and pitching Robbie straight in before the dubbin has dried on his boots is an insult to those who have worked at the craft” Martin Kelner‘s weekly broadcast review found ESPN’s FA Cup final coverage presented by Robbie Savage, football’s latest Marmite figure, something of a challenge.
“They need to be more flexible in their formation, not the rigid 4-3-3, using Essien … Is Essien playing? Have we got the team sheets?” Mark Bright, BBC 5 Live’s “expert” summariser, on air to the nation moments before kick-off between Chelsea and Newcastle. Michael Essien was not in Chelsea’s starting XI.
“Coming to Wigan changed my life and made me the person I am. What the chairman has done is a great inspiration for clubs around the world. Having Wigan where we are now is down to his dream and I don’t want to be the one who ruins that dream” Roberto Martinez takes the club into the final match of the season with a chance of avoiding relegation.
“Everything has a consequence. Everything has a ripple effect. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned over these two years” Matt Stevens, the Saracens prop, interviewed by The Guardian‘s Donald McRae about his return to rugby after a two-year ban for cocaine use.
“She must have thought she was still on The Apprentice” Tony Cottee, the former West Ham striker, criticises the club’s vice-chairman, Karren Brady, over her handling of the dismissal at Wigan of manager Avram Grant.
“This is a well-run business that has planned for every contingency and, within 12 months, the club will have been streamlined to be in a far stronger financial state” Karren Brady remains bullish in the face of the big drop.
“He falls in the river like a sardine and they’ll gobble him up – if that’s what Mr Cantona meant all those years ago. It was worse than Shakespeare that, wasn’t it?” Ian Holloway, proving that the Premier League will be a duller place if Blackpool are relegated.
“I don’t know what will happen. Everyone can give an opinion about my job here. The club will judge. If my job was good I will stay. If they think it was not good, I will have to go” Carlo Ancelotti, riddled with insecurity after a second-place finish for Chelsea, just 12 months after winning the Double.
“We are going to be in London next season, where we will be preaching the word of God” Simone Leite, mother of Real Madrid midfielder Kaka, seems to have Chelsea’s shopping list in her pocket.
“Next season you will experience some very special moments. For example, we will be playing in a kit with an anniversary crest that honours our founding fathers” Arsene Wenger with some news of little cheer to Arsenal fans facing a 6.5 per cent hike in the price of the country’s most expensive season tickets.
“It is intolerable any football club, or individual, going about their lawful business in the name of sport, should be subjected to this ongoing campaign of hatred and intimidation. This is Scotland’s shame and it’s about time Scotland addressed it” Peter Lawwell, the Celtic chief executive, after manager Neil Lennon was attacked by a fan during the game at Hearts.
“I can’t stand Wladimir. He’s a fraud and I’m so eager to decapitate him. I could hardly resist nutting him as we were standing there. It’s the only way I could think of to wipe that smile off his face” David Haye continues the slanging match that is the build-up to a world heavyweight title unification fight with Wladimir Klitschko.
“I really want us to push on from the Ashes, achieve something special and create a bit of a legacy for ourselves. The immediate goal is to become No1 in the world. We don’t need to be cruising round Trafalgar Square to know what we’ve achieved” Andrew Strauss, England’s cricket captain, lays down a marker for the summer Tests with India and Sri Lanka.
“You think ‘Will I ever win again?’, ‘Am I finished?’. It flashes through your mind. I sacked everyone, rehired them, sacked them again. It’s the craziness of this sport, you never know what’s around the corner. That’s why we love the game and why we hate it” Graeme McDowell, the US Open winner, lets a third-round lead slip from his grasp in The Players’ Championship.
“Being in first place has no meaning. I will wear the pink jersey, but it will be in memory of Wouter. There is no celebration or glory, only sadness. It’s a sad reminder of the risks we take and the lives we lead” David Millar after Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt dies in a crash during the Giro d’Italia.
“He’s going through the hole, through the gap!” Her Majesty the Queen squeals down the phone to her racing manager as her horse, Carlton House, wins the Dante Stakes at York and is installed as favourite for the Derby.
UPCOMING SJA DATES
Fri May 20: SJA Cricket Day, Whitgift School, South Croydon. Informal get-together at the Surrey v Essex county game. Click here for more details.
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