Sports quotes of 2010: “Lio is playing kick-about with Jesus”

The second batch of quotes from sport and journalism over the past 12 months looks at cricket, golf, drugs cheats, more on football, and ahead to the 2012 Olympics. Compiled by IAN COLE and STEVEN DOWNES

“The longest, truest sponsor that sport has is the Press. We’ll be doing everything we can over the next year or so to make sure you can tell the stories, buttressed by our operations” Lord Coe, chairman of LOCOG, at the World Press Briefing, where a “reasonable” £150 internet access fee for media at the 2012 Games was confirmed, making the organisers at least £1.5 million.

Fateful moments: Nodar Kumaritashvili's final training run in Vancouver

“The international federation said what happened yesterday was human error. With all due respect…one thing I know for sure is that no sports mistake is supposed to lead to death” Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia, after luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died hours before the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Vancouver following an horrific training crash.

“We were machine-gunned, like dogs. There was blood pouring down the bus” Thomas Dossevi, the Togo footballer, after three people died when rebels in Angola attacked the team bus in January, before the start of the African Nations Cup.

“In fact, there are no dog kennels at his home and thus no underfloor heating has been installed” The Sun corrects a story about the non-existent underfloor heating in the non-existent kennels in Wayne Rooney’s house.

“You create the god and you create the monster. I live the same when you write well of me as I do when you write badly of me” Fabio Capello.

“I have a photo of George Best on the wall of my office at Blackpool and how his life went is one of the saddest things ever. He was one of the most brilliant players of all time, but he was the world’s first superstar footballer and it cost him. I think we may have a lot more George Bests around if we’re not careful” Ian Holloway.

“The media call me controversial because I talk straight. They slag me off from their ivory towers. Sports writer of the year? What does that mean? A load of plonkers voted him the least worst of the rest of them” Ken Bates, the Leeds chairman, in interview with Brian Viner, shows that his contempt for those who question his approach to business and football remains undimmed.

  • Ashes to Ashes: cricket’s often turbulent 2010
Andrew Strauss: only fourth Englishman to captain Ashes-winning sides home and away since 1945

“I always maintain that when the ball is swinging there is no better bowler in the world than Jimmy” Andrew Strauss, Jimmy Anderson’s captain, pays tribute to the bowler after his 6 for 17 in the second innings and match figures of 11-71 in England’s first Test against Pakistan at Trent Bridge, which they won by 354 runs.

“A whitewash is absolutely possible. There’s no reason why not. It’s all in our hands. It’s how well we play and how well we take charge of different situations” Ricky Ponting, the Australia cricket captain, before the Ashes series started.

“It’s the silly season starting, with all sorts of predictions. Predictions mean nothing. Ultimately, it’s what you do on the field on the first day at Brisbane that counts. Until then, what people say doesn’t interest me” Strauss responds.

“We haven’t deserved to win this week, there’s no doubt about that. They’ve really showed us how to bat in Test match cricket, not only in this game… they’ve out-batted us, out-bowled us and pretty much out-fielded us right the way through the series” Ponting as the Ashes is finally put out of his team’s reach.

“There’s a saying that used to kill me when I was growing up. ‘It’s the taking part that counts’. No it isn’t. If I turn up and lose I’m distraught. You turn up to win. If I get a hundred and we lose, what does it mean?” Stuart Broad arrives in Australia for the Ashes series brandishing English steel.

“The scoreboard has asked for salt tablets. It’s in danger of cramping up” Kerry O’Keeffe on Australian radio as England piled up 620-5 in Adelaide.

“We are deeply concerned that our integrity as cricketers has been brought into question. We refute these allegations completely and will explore all legal options open to us. Under the circumstances we have strong misgivings about continuing to play the last two games of the current series. We urge the Pakistan team to distance themselves from Mr Butt’s allegations” Andrew Strauss replies to Pakistan Board chairman Ijaz Butt’s claim that England players “threw” the one-day international at The Oval.

“A lot of them are just looking for money, women and food” Mazhar Majeed, the cricket “agent” at the centre of the News of the World‘s spot-fixing allegations, during a taped interview with the paper’s undercover reporters.

“Cricket has to use this crisis to re-examine its priorities. Time and again it has shown itself to be a greedy, grasping sport. From the administrators who cram itineraries to bursting point, to international players who hold counties and even their countries to ransom. It has become a sport where integrity is in short supply” Michael Atherton, the SJA Sports Journalist of the Year, writing in the News of the World about the Pakistan spot-fixing scandal.

“Maybe the anti-corruption unit should be disbanded and they should hire the News of the World to do their investigations” Darrell Hair, the former international umpire.

“They discovered that what people who didn’t like cricket didn’t like about cricket was cricket. The rest of it – fresh air, falling asleep in a deckchair, drinking heavily, burgers, family fun, general rowdiness – was rather appealing. Find some way of removing the cricket and the counties would pack them in” Martin Samuel argues that Twenty20′s time has been and gone, quickly.

“He will be remembered as an exceptional cricketer who had one great series. Ian Botham, for example, was a great cricketer. Full stop” Nasser Hussain on Andrew Flintoff’s retirement.

“It’s hard to keep getting beaten and keep picking them up. But this is unbelievable. I would have thought England are capable of beating anyone. Now my players realise they can beat anyone” Jamie Siddons, coach to Bangladesh, savours their five-run victory over England in the one-day international at Bristol, their first in 21 attempts.

“Yep.. Done for rest of summer!! Man of the World Cup T20 and dropped from the T20 side too.. Its a fuck up!! Surrey have…” Kevin Pietersen announcing that he’d been dropped from England’s one-day squads via his Twitter account, @kevinpp24

  • Easy Ryders: golf across the year
Graeme McDowell: pressure off after holing the Ryder Cup-winning putt

“The US Open felt like the back nine with my Dad back home in Portrush in comparison. That was nervous today, nervous” Graeme McDowell is Europe’s hero with a last-match victory over Hunter Mahan to regain the Ryder Cup by at Celtic Manor.

“If I’m in charge of the keg of Guinness, that will be great” Darren Clarke outlines his duties as Ryder Cup vice-captain.

“This is one of the finest moments of my golf car… No, hang on. This is the greatest moment of my golfing career” Colin Montgomerie, Europe’s Ryder Cup captain.

“It’s great, it’s fantastic. I wouldn’t have said this a year ago but this is the best event in golf, by far” Rory McIlroy, who a year before had described the Ryder Cup as an exhibition event.

“You don’t win majors any more, you don’t win regular tournaments any more and you’re about to be deposed as world No1. Where is the Ryder Cup on your agenda now you’re an ordinary golfer?” Dick Turner, the English freelancer who asked the hard question of Tiger Woods.

“Tiger Woods shot even par yesterday. Double bogey on the answers to the personal questions. Eagle on the shameless plug for Nike, the company that makes money out of using his dead dad’s voice to sell golf gear” Oliver Holt, in the Mirror, on the world No1′s press conference performance.

“The great thing is you can put them on in the dark and any colour shirt is going to match” John Daly on his hideous golf trousers.

“I’m not quite myself at the minute in terms of getting the head screwed back on. Cloud 9 is now down to about Cloud 5. There’s definitely been a sense of coming down this week” McDowell, the US Open winner, after finishing 13 shots behind the winner at The Open at St Andrews.

  • Dear departed: some of those who left us this year

“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.

Sad loss: friend of the SJA Andy Ripley

“Rugby league was probably a comfort blanket for Terry for a number of years and a lot of frustration he felt he probably took out with him onto the field. I spoke to him not that long ago and he seemed quite upbeat and was looking forward to the next chapter in his life. It’s come as a massive shock to me” Iestyn Harris, a former team mate, after the suicide of the former Great Britain forward Terry Newton.

“That’s when pundits were pundits” Alan Hansen on the late Malcolm Allison’s abilities in the TV studio as well as on the training pitch.

“This is a man with a brain like Einstein and a pen like Shakespeare. This is a Lion from ’74 who played first class rugby at the age of 41 and who almost made a Boat Race crew at 50. This is a man who might have doubled for Steve McQueen. This is a man who has always made us smile” Paul Kimmage in the Sunday Times writes of Andy Ripley, a great supporter of the SJA who belatedly was crippled and blind after his prolonged battle with prostate cancer, but who received his OBE from the Prince of Wales in a specially arranged investiture shortly before his death.

  • Over the moon: more from the commentary box

“Gareth Bale literally has three lungs” Jamie Redknapp.

“Good work by Abby Walker. She’s a brain surgeon by profession. She used her brain then” Nigel Starmer-Smith during commentary on Commonwealth Games hockey.

“He’s more underestimated than a lot of people give him credit for” Frank Bruno.

“The crowd here are making a real noise now. They’d be raising the proverbial roof if there was one” Steve Cram slips in to the proverbial commentator’s trap in Delhi.

“Dicko’s got to be the only person to come to Delhi and end up constipated” Jonathan Edwards, in BBC commentary, for once telling his audience something it didn’t already know, regarding the health of his co-commentator Paul Dickenson.

  • Planning for the future: rather than take each game as it comes

“I am not clever. No grades at school. All I can do is ride horses. But I can see that if we are racing today for a lot less than we were 10 or 20 years ago, there’s something wrong. You don’t have to be Einstein to work that out” Kieren Fallon fears for the future of horse racing in Britain.

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

“I looked at the diminishing number of column inches being given to cricket in the newspapers these days and wondered whether it was really a career with a future” Mark Wagh, the Nottinghamshire batsman, who is retiring from first-class cricket to pursue a career in law, rather than sports journalism.

“I don’t want to be remembered as Serena Williams the tennis player, but to be remembered for the things that tennis enabled me to do, like opening more schools in Africa” Serena Williams, the Wimbledon women’s champion.

“The money wasted on the ridiculous move of the sports department to Manchester would have paid the rights fees many times over” Des Lynam, the former BBC Sport anchorman, writing in the Telegraph, rails over the corporation’s loss of coverage of the athletics world championships to Channel 4.

  • Sex and drugs and rock ‘n roll: make of this what you will

“People say she looks like a man, so she is a man, but that’s wrong. If Caster took down her trousers people would see she’s a woman” Michael Seme, the coach of 800m world champion Caster Semenya, ahead of her return to the track.

“I wanted to get a bar of chocolate and a sandwich. I knew I could get that from the service station two-and-a-half miles down the motorway from the team hotel. At five in the morning, and golf buggies sitting outside, that seemed the best option” Andy Powell, the Wales forward,  is sacked from the Six Nations squad and faces a drink-driving charge after over-celebrating the win over Scotland.

“I don’t feel guilty at all about having doped. I did what I did because that’s what we did and it was a choice I had to make after 10 years or 12 years of hard work to get there, and that was a decision I had to make to make the next step. My choices were, do it and see if I can win, or don’t do it and I tell people I just don’t want to do that, and I decided to do it” Floyd Landis.

“To know that I’ve tested positive as a result of a product that I used for personal reasons is extremely difficult to wrap my hands around” LaShawn Merritt, who tested positive for an anabolic steroid contained in an over-the-counter penis enlargement product.

  • Happy birthday, Sir Alex: football management
No retirement plan: Sir Alex Ferguson

“I have no intention of retiring. The only thing that determines my staying here is my health. Unfortunately for everyone I’m in rude health. You’ll be gone before I am” Sir Alex Ferguson rules out retirement.

“He will be 100 before he packs it in. You lot have another 30 years of him. You Press guys should look forward to that. It’s his life” Denis Law.

“I’ve been asked to manage the England team on a couple of occasions, but it’s just out of the question. It’s a poisoned chalice anyway, a terrible job. Plus, I have a tremendous handicap in that I’m Scottish” Sir Alex offers no hope to the English.

“In May 2004, BBC3 broadcast a documentary on the dealings of Jason, his son and a football agent at the time. Few of us would remember the broadcast, least of all its allegations, were it not for the actions of the father. Ferguson’s serial refusal to talk to the broadcaster… has kept the story alive” Matthew Syed‘s shrewd analysis of Sir Alex Ferguson’s boycott of the BBC.

“I can remember when Arsene first came to England. People said he was like a professor, watching the game intently while all us nutters were jumping up and down hollering and screaming. Now he’s joined the nutters” Harry Redknapp.

“Some people cannot see a priest on a mountain of sugar” Rafa Benitez.

  • Champions of the world

“I’ve made a small contribution in a very tough game, a very rough game. To win the World Cup, there are no words to describe it” Andres Iniesta, Spain’s World Cup final match-winner.

“We are angry we lost, as we came so close. I know you cannot blame others but the referee favoured Spain. We had more yellow cards than we deserved” Dirk Kuyt complains about English referee Howard Webb, who issued 13 yellow and one red during the final.

“If you find the greatest football tournament in the world boring, then you probably shouldn’t be there” Mesut Ozil is amazed at reports that England players were bored during the World Cup.

“FIFA and Sepp Blatter have been patting themselves so hard on the back, it’s a wonder they haven’t coughed up some of their billions… The FIFA World Cup (since when did it become the FIFA World Cup, by the way?) has become a commercial monstrosity. For four weeks, South Africa has been an impoverished land hiding under a giant advertising hoarding.

“FIFA have sold just about everything connected with this great tournament” Andy Dunn in the News of the World.

“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.

“The fact their highlights package on semi-final night included a clip of Ned Boulting saying ‘Hi, I’m Ned Boulting, and I am in a shebeen,’ and another of Chiles being hit in the nuts during a kickaround, tells you all you need to know about ITV’s World Cup” Martin Kelner‘s critique of British broadcasters’ World Cup.

“Lio is playing kick-about with Jesus” Maradona on Messi.

  • Olympic fame: 2012 gets ever-closer
Mandeville and Wenlock: or is it Wenlock and Mandeville?

“Two years ago I spoke to Seb about legacy. He said, ‘Kate, I wish I had never used word legacy’,” Kate Hoey, London’s Olympic sports tzar, relates a conversation with Lord Coe, chairman of the 2012 organising committee.

“These two could be the Cameron and Clegg of the Olympics!” London Mayor Boris Johnson gives his immediate response to the mascots at a reception for the SJA at City Hall.

“Baron de Coubertin said that the Olympic ideal was faster, higher, stronger. What we have here is dimmer, dumber, crasser” Stephen Bayley, design guru, on the London 2012 mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville.

“Better than our one. That looks like somefink from Ikea” Janet Street-Porter, culture vulture and sporting architectural expert, compares Beijing’s Birds Nest Stadium with London’s 2012 Olympic Stadium.

“And so to the latest news of the London Olympics, as it is suggested that some tickets for major events such as the opening ceremony could have a face value of £3,000. The London Organising Committee concedes the original pledge to make half of all tickets £20 or under has been shelved, but points out that pricing strategies have yet to be announced. No doubt – but it does rather chime with a recent statement by LOCOG’s chief executive Paul Deighton, who told the Guardian that the Games’ marquee events would be largely populated by ‘people with privileged access’. Which is Olympic for ‘liggers’” Marina Hyde in The Guardian.

  • Keeping politics out of sport: if only…

“The complete lack of detail for this concept illustrates that this is blue-sky thinking of the worst kind, dreamt up by people ignorant of how school sport works and the economics involved” Brian Moore, in the Daily Telegraph, decries education secretary Michael Gove’s mishandling of school sport.

“What is crucial now is that all sides engaged in this decision understand not only the issues but also the risks involved in such a move” Baroness Campbell, chair of UK Sport, reacts to Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt’s announcement that he will merge UK Sport with Sport England.

“When I was chairman at Wembley we had Tony Blair as guest of honour. That meant an invitation for him and his wife. But we got a request for five tickets, all in the front row. I told them to fuck off” Ken Bates, whose contempt appears to extend to everyone.

To read the first part of the SJA’s sports quotes of the year, click here

SJA MEMBERS: Update your profile for the 2011 SJA Yearbook.