The sporting and journalism year in quotes, compiled by IAN COLE and STEVEN DOWNES. This first part includes football, England’s World Cup debacle, Ian Holloway, Harry Redknapp, and some things that broadcasters possibly wished they had not said
“I’m so happy I’m like a pig in Chardonnay” Stephen Fry on being allowed to commentate with Sid Waddell on Sky’s coverage of the final of Premier League darts.
“I was unfaithful, I had affairs, I cheated. What I did was not acceptable and I am the only person to blame”
“Some of the tennis girls, they’re sluts. They go with every guy and make such a bad name for themselves – and you don’t want to be known for stuff like that. You want to be more discreet” Laura Robson, ever so slightly indiscreet in an interview in Vogue.
“Tired Gay succumbs to Dix” Reuters Athletics wire headline.
“I have not been back to Senegal since the age of 10, when I went to be circumcised – which was not a pleasant experience” Patrice Evra, the understated Manchester United defender and captain of France, despised in his African birthplace for abandoning his roots.
“To 12 special guys, I asked them to play with their hearts and with passion and by God they did” Colin Montgomerie, Europe’s Ryder Cup winning captain.
“Nothing like this will ever happen again – ever… It stinks someone had to lose” John Isner on his epic 11-hour Wimbledon win over Nicolas Mahut, which ended 70-68 in the fifth set.
“It’s a case of food poisoning, in which I am the victim. Whether people believe me or not, I know I can hold my head high and I’m not going to hide” Alberto Contador, the three-times Tour de France winner, after his provisional suspension following a positive drugs test.
“I only get invited to lunches like this because I win races…and you don’t win races by sitting down to lunches like this” Tony McCoy, the SJA Sportsman of the Year, tucks into three courses at our annual bash at The Brewery.
“It wakes you up all right. But I thought ‘I’m not dead and I don’t think anything is broken’. If you can stand up, you can get on a horse” Tony McCoy. After falling from Jered in the Jewson Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, he was kicked in the head, neck and back by other horses. He reappeared 35 minutes later, a few stitches in his chin, to steer Alberta’s Run to a 14-1 victory in the Ryanair Chase.
“On the train heading down to London for the SJA awards. Too cold to wear a dress. Thank God for tights” Jessica Ennis, SJA Sportswoman of the Year, on Twitter.
“Everyone feels a bit awkward when someone says you have a nice bum. It’s a bit cringeworthy. But I enjoy dressing up. I like that side of it. I spend a lot of time in tracksuits not looking very glamorous” Ennis, speaking to the 300-plus guests at the SJA awards lunch.
- Errr, quite remarkable: the travails of broadcasting sport
“Now I’m 19th in the world I’m actually closer to No1 than when I was ranked No3” Padraig Harrington following the demise of Tiger Woods.
“Tonight he’s not had a kick, apart from two headers” Robbie Savage in commentary for Radio 5Live.
“With a broken leg, it’s unlikely he’ll hit the ground running” Bill Leslie, Sky Sports commentator, demonstrates fluent footballspeak.
“Let’s talk to BBC Scotland’s Chick Young. Chick, what can you tell us?” BBC Radio 5Live presenter introduces a two-way about possible takeover of Rangers.
“Well, not much” Chick Young.
“There are as many questions as there are answers” Peter Drury, ITV’s football commentator.
“I don’t remember Borzakovsky front-running a race before, although I know he has done one or two times in the past” Paul Dickinson, hammer thrower-turned-BBC commentator, finds his memory playing tricks on him at the European Cup athletics.
“His first touch was perfect, his second was even better” Andy Townsend, clearly a perfectionist.
“Free transfer… you can’t get cheaper than that” Jamie Redknapp offers more in-depth football analysis.
- Mad world: football, of course
“Footballers are role models but I’m not even a role model to myself” Joey Barton, in trouble again after aiming a punch at Blackburn’s Morten Gamst Pedersen.
“I met with David Gill and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking. I asked for assurances about the future ability of the club to attract the top players in the world. For me it’s all about winning trophies” Wayne Rooney explains the ‘I want to leave’ bombshell he dropped on Manchester United one Tuesday in October.
“I felt I had to get my point across. We finally came to an agreement. It’s the best for me and for the club. I had some concerns. It’s been very complicated. It’s about the club and my career” Rooney, the following Friday, cracks under the “pressure” of being offered a £200,000 a week, five-year deal to stay.
“We were lucky to get nil” Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, faces up to a 7-0 drubbing at Chelsea.
“Blow me fuck face. Go to hell, I’m sick of you” Tom Hicks Jnr, when a Liverpool FC director, replies by email to a fan questioning the lack of transfer funds. Within days, Hicks had resigned from the board. Within months, the Hicks family had sold the club.
“It’s a magical, magical feeling to walk on to this pitch and think that we are the new owners” John W Henry, after his £300 million deal gets him inside Liverpool FC.
“I’m not suited to Bolton or Blackburn. I would be more suited to Inter Milan or Real Madrid. It wouldn’t be a problem for me to go and manage those clubs. I would win the double or the league every time. Give me Manchester United or Chelsea, it would be the same, no problem” Sam Allardyce, soon to be sacked as Blackburn boss.
- Investigative journalism: or not..?
“Entrapment, especially by a friend, is an unpleasant experience for my family and me but it leaves me with no alternative but to resign” Lord Triesman is the latest from the Football Association to fall foul of a newspaper honey trap, after a private conversation was taped and published, damaging England’s 2018 World Cup bid.
“There’s a good sports section at the Mail on Sunday and I’ve enjoyed working with them but I’m in a position where quitting the role is the right thing to do… this story has damaged our chances and I’d be hypocritical to continue to earn money from writing a column in that paper” Gary Lineker, an England 2018 bid ambassador, quit his weekly column in the aftermath of the Treisman Tapes.
“Why didn’t the Mail on Sunday investigate Triesman’s allegations? If Russia is guilty of bribing Spanish referees, that’s a story. Instead of going after that, they punished the source” Andrew Jennings, scourge of FIFA, interviewed in the Independent on Sunday.
“We can pride ourselves on a BBC unafraid to expose the rank fraud in the top echelons of world football. The corporation’s journalists are to be congratulated” Daily Mail editorial in December after the Panorama programme on corruption in FIFA.
“The good news is that the event, in a few weeks’ time, will be a great success. So will next year’s, by which time Dispatches will probably have moved on to exposing Santa Claus as a paedophile” Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former spin doctor, defends the London Marathon after a Channel 4 investigation.
- Hurry up Harry: Redknapp’s ways
“You can’t lie on the floor and pull the ball back because you’ve got the hump over not getting a penalty. The referee made a cock-up but they’ll get together and come up with a story that will make it sound alright” Harry Redknapp, the Spurs boss, on Nani’s bizarre goal for Manchester United.
“No, I’m not a wheeler and dealer. Fuck off. I didn’t make my name as a wheeler and fucking dealer. Don’t say that – I’m a fucking football manager” Harry takes exception to introductory remarks by Sky Sport’s Rob Palmer after Tottenham’s home defeat to Wigan.
“They wanted to swap Bentley for Honda but the chairman wasn’t having it” Redknapp, not wheeling ot dealing.
“I told the players it was a great defeat, if there is such a thing” Redknapp is relieved to lose 3-2, after being 3-0 down, at Young Boys Berne in a Champions League qualifier.
“If I had asked you to go and watch some player called Wayne Rooney last week, because he was available and I could get him for £1.5 million, you would have come back to me and said, ‘You can’t take him, he’s not good enough’. If you didn’t know it was the Wayne Rooney, you would have thought he was a poor player” Redknapp assesses a major problem for England during the World Cup.
- Blackpool power: some of the sayings of Ian Holloway
“I feel like a fella who was selling the Big Issue last week with my dog sat by me looking hungry. Now I’ve picked up a winning lottery ticket” Holloway prepares relegation favourites Blackpool for the Premier League.
“You are talking out of your hat. I would like to say out of your arse, but that’s a donkey and I don’t like having a go at donkeys” Ian Holloway, as manager of Blackpool, has a soft spot for donkeys.
- Team works: the wacky races world of F1
“If he wants to go to heaven before me, he can. I don’t want to go to heaven. It was the most dangerous thing I’ve ever been through. Talk to Michael? He will always feel he is right” Rubens Barrichello survives being shunted into a pit wall following a reckless manoeuvre by seven times champion Michael Schumacher.
“Whose call was it to bring me in? Fucking stupid idea” Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, on the McLaren team radio, questions his team instructions to pit during the Australian Grand Prix.
“F Ducts? You gain five kilometres an hour, or is it six?” HM The Queen, supposedly, to F1 world champion Jenson Button as she invested him with an MBE.
- World Cup Wallies: going south in South Africa
“Watching England sometimes is a cure for constipation” Mark Lawrenson in BBC commentary.
“We have supporters who follow us all over the world and spend large amounts of money doing it. I can understand their frustrations. I’m sure there will be boos at times. If I was a fan, I’d probably boo too” Steven Gerrard, the England football captain, faces up to the first match at Wembley since the World Cup debacle.
“It’s nice to see yer home fans booing ya. That’s what loyal support is – for fuck’s sake” Wayne Rooney after a lacklustre World Cup performance, addresses a TV camera.
“I don’t need a TV commentator next season telling me that Wayne Rooney or Frank Lampard are world-class after they have played well… against Wigan. Where were they at the World Cup finals?” Noel Gallagher shares the nation’s World Cup disappointment.
“I hope the players slink away in misery. I hope the English public remind them by not going to this useless fixture against Hungary in August. I won’t be there. Those that do go should boo them on to the pitch. That’s how bad this English shambles was. I won’t be wasting my holiday to go and watch an England friendly” Alan Green, the BBC football commentator, reacts to England’s 4-1 World Cup defeat to Germany.
“It was my mistake, I’m responsible. I’ve made errors before and been big enough to get over them. I know there are 50-odd million people at home disappointed in me, but I know I have the character to bounce back” Robert Green, the England goalkeeper, after his howler gave the United States an equaliser in the World Cup opener in Rustenburg.
“We apologise unreservedly to viewers for the unacceptable interruption to high definition coverage of the match” Richard Cross, ITV’s group technology director, after the channel had broadcast an ad four minutes into England v USA opening world Cup match, thus missing Steven Gerrard’s goal.
“At the end of the day we weren’t good enough to get the result. It is as simple as that” Matthew Upson.
“I am devastated. We just weren’t good enough. Plain and simple” Joe Cole.
“The level of punditry is cringe-making. It’s lowest common denominator stuff. Patronising and insulting, much of it. Emmanuel Adebayor’s mobile phone started ringing in his pocket live on air the other day. His respect for the viewers didn’t even amount to him making sure the thing was switched off” Tom English, in The Scotsman, unhappy with TV’s coverage of the World Cup
“If my information is correct, Corden’s fee per show is equivalent to the annual salary of a teacher in an inner-city comprehensive school, which must make him the most reviled big-money signing since Brian Clough went to Leeds United” Martin Kelner in his Screen Break column in the Guardian, underwhelmed by ITV’s laddish James Corden World Cup “show”.
- The game’s gone: or Rupert, Tony and the paywall debate
“If you erect a universal pay wall around your content then it follows you are turning away from a world of openly shared content. Again, there may be sound business reasons for doing this, but editorially it is about the most fundamental statement anyone could make about how newspapers see themselves in relation to the newly-shaped world” Alan Rusbridger, Guardian editor-in-chief.
“I think that sounds like BS to me” Rupert Murdoch.
“He was hard, no doubt. He was right wing. I did not share his attitude on Europe, social policy or on issues such as gay rights, but there were two points of connection: he was an outsider, and he had balls” Tony Blair on Murdoch in the former Prime Minister’s book, A Journey.
“He’s not the man that people think he is. He is actually a closet liberal, but he hides it really well” David Yelland, the former Sun Editor, on Rupert Murdoch.
“Bitch gotta make rent” Caitlin Moran, Times columnist, on her newspaper’s paywall.
“You really need an MBA to write for the sports pages these days” Simon Barnes, in The Times, a day after the publication of the first Sunday Times sports Rich List.
“Sports journalists are not going to like this, but I do wonder at their propensity for hyperbole. Victory is always magnificent. Defeat is always ignominious. There is so rarely any middle ground, any sense of proportion” Prof Roy Greenslade, writing on sports coverage of major events.
“There were three levels of internet charging to the accredited media at the Beijing Olympics: expensive, astronomical and extortionate” Keir Radnedge responds to the SJA’s report that LOCOG intends to charge journalists for internet access at the 2012 London Olympics.
“I was very lucky to become famous at 35. All that ever happened to me is three things: I had a race-horse named after me, a rose and a rhinocerous in Chester Zoo” Sir Michael Parkinson, the SJA president, on fame as a journalist.
“User-generated content: things sent in by the enthusiastic, the naïve and the unhinged
“Multimedia proposition: the output, ie what we do for a living
“To ‘own’ the story: do rather better than the opposition, particularly when enjoying vastly superior resources
“Focused conversation: a bollocking, delivered with a thin smile over a cappuccino” BBC management speak, as defined by the BBC’s College of Journalism blog