Match-fixing scandals in snooker and cricket came in equal measure with glory for Jose Mourinho’s Inter and Roy Hodgson’s Fulham in a week’s sporting quotes. Plus LaShawn Merritt’s new twist on “performance enhancing” drugs
“I don’t feel sorry for anyone. As much as I would class John as a nice guy, the game is at stake here. Whatever the penalty is, it sends out a message to everyone. This is a major international globalised sport, these are the rules, don’t break them” Barry Hearn, chairman of World Snooker, reacts to allegations in Sunday’s News of the World, which had film of the three-time world champion John Higgins had agreeing to fix matches for a Ukrainian gang.
“Today is the start of the biggest match of my life. I will co-operate fully with the snooker authorities. I have built my reputation on honesty and integrity. Sadly, others have now damaged that reputation and it is now left to me to clear my name. I have never been involved in any form of snooker match-fixing” Higgins, above, responds.
“The game, as Danny Blanchflower said, is about glory. It is about nights like this, nights that will blood the next generation of Fulham loyalists, nights that will still be recounted in 50 years, that will stay imprinted in the minds of children, who will know that a 1-1 draw to cling to safety at Sunderland can never live up to scoring two late goals to beat Hamburg, and secure a place in the Europa League final” Martin Samuel, in the Daily Mail, on Fulham’s fantastic season in the Europa League.
“Steven Gerrard, under no pressure whatsoever, attempts a ridiculous back pass and Didier Drogba steals in, rounds Pepe Reina and slots home. It’s a gift…” BBC website report does nothing to dispel the feeling that Liverpool would rather Manchester United did not win a 19th championship title.
“It was a great gift” Sir Alex Ferguson appears to agree.
“I suppose I just got into the zone. Everything went right. I didn’t know how much under I was” Rory McIlroy, above, who is 21 years old today, and who on Sun day hit a final round 62 to become the youngest player since Tiger Woods 14 years ago to win a US PGA Tour event, finishing the Quail Hollow Championship at 15-under.
“You go down the road here and buy a ticket for a ride, you know there’s gonna be ups and downs and that’s the exciting thing. You don’t want to think about the end, worry about getting off. You just want the ride. So if we get in the play-offs, we’ll be looking forward to that ride” Ian Holloway, manager at promotion-chasing Blackpool, cannot avoid the obvious roller-coaster line in an excellent interview with the Independent on Sunday‘s Steve Tongue.
“The incontestably true facts are that the Claimant did lose 54 matches in a row in straight sets in his first three years on the world ranking ITF/ATP tournaments on the international professional tennis circuit, and that this was the worst ever run” Mrs Justice Sharp‘s ruling in the libel case brought by British tennis player Robert Dee against the Daily Telegraph, who had described Dee as the “world’s worst player”.
“I just shat in my pants” Ernests Gulbis on how he felt closing out his upset victory over the world’s best tennis player, Roger Federer
“It’s the greatest moment of my career. For the players, me, the fans, it’s the greatest” Jose Mourinho after his Inter Milan team held off Barcelona to qualify for the Champions League final
“There were a lot of rumours, particularly in and around the opening matches in Cape Town” Unnamed source talking to the Sunday Times on claims of match-fixing in last year’s Indian Premier League in South Africa.
“The BCCI is scared of the truth. Nothing wrong has been done” Lalit Modi, the IPL chief, after he was suspended by India’s cricket board of control.
“The suspension is necessary for a free and fair inquiry. It’s not a punishment” Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president, on Modi’s suspension.
“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.
“Over the past two years I’ve been surprised by the amount of people that know me and the welcome I get when I go to track meets or functions. I’m still trying to get used to it and I’m enjoying it” Usain Bolt.
“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.
“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.
“Is he very wealthy?” Gabby Logan, the BBC 5Live daytime radio presenter, on a celebrity edition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, asking about her “phone a friend”, Lord Ashcroft, the billionaire patron of the Conservative party. Together with co-contestant, the singer Katherine Jenkins, Logan later needed two lifelines to answer a cricket question.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if Adam Johnson was a surprise inclusion in England’s World Cup squad” Matt Le Tissier, surprised, on Sky Sports.
“Pressure to me is not this game… If you’ve got a life-threatening illness and got to have chemotherapy and might pass away, that’s pressure. The rest of it is just dealing with your job, and my job is trying to entertain people with a football team” Holloway, pictured left, whose wife Kath has survived cancer, adds a rare amount of perspective to the business-end of the football season.
“Cameron looking after the poor? Yeah. And Burnley will win the Champions League next year” Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair’s spin doctor and sometime sports writer, through his Twitter feed @campbellclaret, keeps the sporting metaphors going in the General Election campaign.
Join the SJA today – click here for details and membership application form