“Top idea to have a paper for people who can’t be arsed”

This week’s quotes from sport and the media includes Strictly Come Rugby, Manchester City’s parties and financials, Phil Neville and Tony McCoy on sporting fame, the latest Muhammad Ali anniversary, Sachin Tendulkar on the Ashes and Noel Gallagher on newspapers

World golf's No1: Lee Westwood

“When I was a little boy, 12 or 13, I dreamed I would one day be the top golfer in the world. A few years down the line and it’s come to pass and I can’t quite get my head around it. I can’t wait to get on the tour website to see it in black and white” Lee Westwood dislodges Tiger Woods after five yea rs as World No. 1.

“Gomes put the ball down to take a free-kick because it was handball. Everyone except the referee saw that. You can’t lie on the floor and pull the ball back just because you’ve got the hump that you didn’t get a penalty. The officials will come up with a story that will make it all seem alright. He made a cock-up but he’ll come up with some excuse” Harry Redknapp, the Spurs manager, on Nani’s “goal of the season” for Manchester United.

“The referee told Nani to play on, so he couldn’t do anything but put the ball in the net. The keeper really should know better. I can understand Tottenham’s frustration though” Sir Alex Ferguson.

“He’s on the crest of a wave. He could have tripped over and it would have gone in off his shoulder. That’s what happens when you’re on a roll” Michael Owen watches Manchester United starlet Javier Hernandez and remembers how it used to be.

“I was cringing with the coverage and some of the stuff that was written. Totally embarrassed. So I stopped reading the papers and turned off the television” Phil Neville believes he has been overpraised.

“We’ve come a long way. It’s been windy, it’s been raining. We’re at St Andrews, let’s party” Gareth Barry and some Manchester City team mates reach the 19th at the Home of Golf.

“Clearly our intention is to comply… Financial fair play is on our conscience, we talk about it at every board meeting, and it’s part of our long-term plan” Garry Cook, Manchester City’s chief executive, on UEFA’s financial fairplay rules, as the club’s owner Sheikh Mansour makes moves to convert his £573 million investment into shares.

“Just being normal has been difficult, like sitting down and driving a car and sleeping at night. Sneezing was like being stabbed in the back of my head. It was a combination of those things and ultimately the medical guys said enough is enough” Phil Vickery bids an emotional farewell to rugby.

“I couldn’t think of anything worse than him annoying me all the time about rugby. He doesn’t talk about it, I don’t talk about it – and that way we are both happy” Ben Youngs prepares to face the All Blacks at Twickenham without any advice from his dad, former England international Nick.

“At the end of the series there will be 11 guys feted as heroes and 11 who have failed. Until then there is no point being friendly and all hunky-dory with the opposition. Our task is to get out there and beat them. It’s not about anger, it’s about being clinical and logical and dealing with the pressure” Andrew Strauss, the England cricket captain, flies to Australia to defend the Ashes.

“I’ve worked out that I will be away from home for 220 days this winter and that will be tough. I will only see my family for a short while during that time. It will be the hardest thing this winter” Kevin Pietersen.

Tendulkar: new Ashes pundit

“I think England have a better chance. I favour them slightly. I would say Morgan could be the key performer in the Ashes. Morgan and Swann … They’re a really well-balanced side and this is a great opportunity for England” Sachin Tendulkar, the all-time record Test run-scorer, looks ahead to the Australia- England series.

“There will be a lot of people in sport who have never heard of my name” Tony McCoy, leading contender for the Sportsman of the Year award, underestimates his own fame.

“They had taken something away by the time I was 21, to be honest. At 18 to 20, I was probably one of the quickest things around, at the peak of my powers” Michael Owen, soon to be 31 and back on the injury list, virtually admits he was passed his best by 21 due to injuries.

“The fact that I’m already having all these bad dreams about being chased is a bit worrying. I’m always being chased by a monster. Sometimes the monster is a killer or a murderer. It doesn’t really matter because I know exactly what that monster is as it hunts me down. The monster’s got a big 2012 written all over it” Victoria Pendleton, again a contender for the SJA Sportswoman of the Year Award that she won in 2007, undergoes analysis with The Guardian‘s Donald McRae.

“He looks strong, fit and athletic, but it will take him a few games to get going. He’s talked about playing a couple of matches then being ready for Wales. If we were talking about Dan Carter, Richie McCaw, Richard Hill or Martin Johnson, one of the all-time greats, there is a tiny chance he could do that. Am I putting Gavin in that category? No, I’m not” Matt Dawson, a rugby player-turned-ballroom dancer, on the prospects for Gavin Henson’s comeback with Saracens.

“They were in an inappropriate place at an inappropriate time. We took immediate action by bringing them home that day and they have been suspended on full pay while the disciplinary process takes place”  Jane Allen, chief executive of British Gymnastics, after coaches Andrei Popov and Sergei Sizhanov were allegedly involved in a drunken brawl in Rotterdam before the world championships, where Britain won a record one gold, one silver and one bronze medal.

” ‘I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong.’

“That single sentence reverberated around the world. But in much of the United States it was considered near treason. It took Ali’s 43-month banishment from the ring – as the body bags continued to be flown home from Asia – for the popular sentiment to change, particularly among the young…  Traitor was turning into a hero – and with nice irony it was Lester Maddox, the reactionary governor of Georgia, previously a club-swinging civil rights basher, now suddenly in need of some black votes, who broke ranks and allowed Ali’s boxing comeback to be staged in Atlanta” Frank Keating recalls Muhammad Ali’s return to the boxing ring 40 years ago last week.

“It’s a top idea to have a paper for clever people who can’t be arsed to spend hours reading every day” Noel Gallagher greets the launch of the Independent‘s new i.

“It’s true that sponsors became more reluctant to invest, and that Sky and ITV lost interest. There were fewer events worth reporting, the game’s profile sank and endless internal political strife exuded instability. However, all audiences, not just for sport, have fragmented as channels have proliferated, and snooker’s figures have held up better than for most sports despite three decades of mismanagement, incompetence and sometimes worse” Clive Everton, SJA member and snooker sage, on the state of the sport as the first “Power Snooker” tournament is staged.


Who is worthy of your support as Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of 2010? Check out our experts’ views here:

Sportsman of the Year

Cricketer Graeme Swann

Jump jockey AP McCoy

Golfer Graeme McDowell

Sportswoman of the Year

Swimmer Fran Halsall

Olympic slider Amy Williams

Team of the Year

England men’s cricket

Voting for the SJA’s annual British Sports Awards is now open. Only SJA members may vote, and they are allowed to vote only once, when they must choose their top three choice for Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of the Year.

Voting forms are being posted to members with the SJA Bulletin autumn edition, or you may vote online.

Deadline for voting is November 9.

Tickets to attend the SJA British Sports Awards on December 8 are also now on sale.