A sad week for Wales, a bad week for journalism, a dire week for English rugby. STEVEN DOWNES and NORMAN GILLER with quotes on Gary Speed, the Leveson Inquiry and the RFU
“There is no way a game of football is more important than grieving” Kenny Dalglish, the Liverpool manager with a true sense of perspective, after leaving Welshman Craig Bellamy out of his side on the day that Gary Speed was found dead.
“Everybody is very, very stunned by the news. The first thing we do is think about his family and what they must be feeling. His legacy will be, possibly, the best Wales football team we have ever seen” Carwyn Jones, the first minister of Wales.
“We think, sometimes, of football being important, but it’s not really” Gary Neville.
“You told me back stage that you were going to bat me straight balls. If these are straight balls, I’d hate to see your googlies” Hugh Grant to Robert Jay QC, counsel to the Leveson inquiry.
“I don’t want to see the end of popular print journalism. A free press is the cornerstone of democracy there is no question about that. I just think there is a section of our press that has been allowed to become toxic over the last 30 years” Grant.
“I never entered into a Faustian pact with the press. I did not become successful in my work through embracing or engaging in celebrity culture… I am not someone who courts press attention. I don’t turn up to openings. I do not preach morality to anyone, nor do I set myself up as a role model” Steve Coogan, distancing himself from celebrity at the Leveson inquiry.
“The Sunday People printed the story because they claimed it was in the ‘public interest’. At the end of the day, it was not in the public interest. If I had been done for match-fixing or taking cocaine then it is in the public interest” Garry Flitcroft, the former Blackburn Rovers captain who suggested his telephone had been hacked to get details of his adultery with two women.
“A lie can spead around the world before the truth has got its boots on” JK Rowling after accusing Sunday Mirror columnist Carol Malone of writing lies about her doctor husband.
“Andy Coulson was the editor and he is fucking big pals with a lot of powerful people including police officers” Ian Norris, former military intelligence officer, reading a statement from a Panorama programme at the Leveson Inquiry.
“It is not so much about getting the story right as filling a hole. I have been told off for making up quotes, because they were not good enough” Richard Peppiatt, the former Daily Star reporter, dropping buckets of dung on newspaper reporting methods.
“The reports are damning and reveal a dysfunctional squad led by Martin Johnson, one riven by infighting, dissent and a breakdown of trust” Mark Souster, The Times‘s rugby union correspondent, introduces his exclusive based on the three reports compiled about England’s flawed World Cup campaign.
“It was for the people given that information, which is highly personal and highly explosive, to deal with it responsibly, pick through it and say – ‘Well, I’ll disregard that comment, because I know who it’s from, and he was pissed off with the coach, or whatever’. You then throw in the off-field pressure and people say things in that closed environment that should stay in that closed environment. And people throw it out there” Rob Andrew, the RFU’s director of elite rugby, disappointed at the leaking of three reports into England’s World Cup.
“A culture of blame and a lack of accountability prevailed” Souster‘s Times report, apparently unread at Twickenham.
“There was no evidence of any suggestion of sexual impropriety of any nature with the woman in question and we accept the fact she is a family friend whom he has known for a long time” Martyn Thomas, the acting RFU chief executive, announcing the revision of the fine and suspension of Mike Tindall.
“Licensed Neanderthal muggings. Dumper truck v JCB. Zap! Pow! Ugh!” Frank Keating in The Guardian, on modern rugby’s obsession with “the hit”, rather than the art of the tackle, marking the retirement from rugby of Joe Worsley.
“As unlikely as it sounds, I have a soft spot for the writings of the Roman philosopher Seneca, much in the same way I have a soft spot for the way Wayne Rooney plays his football. Both have done things that are indefensible but in their professions both are geniuses. The driving force behind Rooney’s football could be defined by Seneca’s best-known work: a collection of essays on morals and one in particular: anger” The Secret Footballer in The Guardian makes it into Pseuds Corner.
“Will the government start providing more facilities and staff for children, such as sports clubs, youth clubs and invest more in apprenticeship schemes?” Rio Ferdinand puts a question to the Prime Minister ina special feature for The Observer magazine, the only figure from sport to be asked to do so.
“Yes, we are investing record amounts in apprenticeship schemes, £360,000 a year. And I’m pleased to say that, because we’re returning the Lottery to its original good causes, including sport, there will be an extra £135 million that will mean more sports facilities” David Cameron‘s answer. Was the £360,000 a typo?
“Racing has as many jealousies as any competitive game but the delight that greeted Carruthers in that unsaddling enclosure was as loud as it was unfeigned” Brough Scott, in the Sunday Times, on the reaction to the Hennessy Gold Cup win at Newbury by a horse bred and owned by the former Telegraph racing writer, Lord Oaksey.
“I don’t think we have a team to win the Champions League because Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Milan are better” Roberto Mancini, coach of Premier League leaders Manchester City, following their midweek draw at Napoli.
“The exclusion from future Olympic teams is… an additional penalty for the doped athlete, over and above the code sanction. This conflicts with the provisions of the code, to which the BOA is a signatory. The BOA is, accordingly, offside and has been identified as such by WADA. This is not a matter of philosophical differences, simply a matter of the legal effects of its actions” Dick Pound QC, the Canadian lawyer and former chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency, spells out the contradictions and illegalities of the British Olympic Association’s life ban for drug cheats.
“I wrote off the Olympics a long time ago, so for me, if the powers that be insist on changes then I’ll see what happens. But I’m not fighting this fight” David Millar, the road cyclist who has served a ban for EPO use.
“Bolton, Blackburn, Wolves fans, be warned. It is not just the ignominy of relegation that threatens you – I am not pre-judging the issue, by the way, my money (literally) is on QPR and Sunderland – but late Saturday nights with Manish Bhasin and Leroy Rosenior and a frantically jokey feature with Mark Clemmitt, who always seems just a little too determinedly high-spirited, like a new divorcee at a Christmas party, done up to the nines, out to prove he or she is over it” Martin Kelner reviews the BBC’s Football League Show.
“Stunned silence at the Wankhede!” Ravi Shastri in commentary as Sachin Tendulkar, again, falls short of his 100th international century, this time by six runs in the Test against West Indies at Mumbai.
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