Football quotes of the year

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

From 'speaking articulate' to mixing their metaphors, our football folk spluttered out a whole range of memorable morsels during 2012. Phil Shaw was listening in

"In the papers this morning: 'Police closing in on Ian Holloway.' Sorry, it's 'Palace closing in on Ian Holloway.'" - Alan Brazil, radio presenter

"That's exactly how you head a ball, with the head." - Ray Wilkins

"It was nice to hear Ray Wilkins speaking so articulate." - Micky Quinn

"I've just watched the replay and there is absolutely no doubt: it's inconclusive." - Garth Crooks

"Have Liverpool done too much tinkering and tailoring with the system?" - Stan Collymore

"With all their guns flying, Tottenham would be a real threat." - Glenn Hoddle

"Some of the Scotland players need to look themselves in the face." - Alan Brazil

"I don't want Rooney to leave these shores but if he does, I think he'll go abroad." - Ian Wright

"It's looking more and more less likely." - Robbie Fowler

"Most of Michael Owen's goals have come in the past." - Dan Walker

"Hopefully Andy (Carroll) has only tweeted his hamstring" - Sam Allardyce

2: Food in mouth

"Balotelli is like Marmite – you either love him or hate him. Me? I'm in between." - Joe Royle

"McClean's been like a fresh of bread air." - Roy Keane

"If Oscar carries on like this then the world, literally, is at his oyster." - Ian Abrahams

"On a different day, the referee might've been throwing yellow cards around like a man with no arms." - George Andrews interviews Stoke's Andy Wilkinson on Signal Radio after a fraught game v Everton.

3. Fergie timeless

"They gave us four minutes [of stoppage time]. That's an insult to the game. It denies you a proper chance to win a football match." - Sir Alex Ferguson after United lost 3-2 at home to Tottenham

"You would have to be a confirmed masochist to enjoy it." - Ferguson on the Manchester derby

"Sir Alex was very convivial. So I chanced a joke to him that it was the longest he'd spent talking to the press in years. He laughed but five minutes later in the corridor, he growled: 'I'll remember you.'" - Barry Flatman, tennis writer, meeting Ferguson at Andy Murray's US Open press briefing

"The little boy inside me was screaming 'Manchester United'. United breathes football... the perfect match for me." - Robin van Persie

"If Ryan Giggs's wife divorced him and took half of everything, how would you feel about her having six more Premier League medals than you?" - Tweet to Steven Gerrard on a Q&A to mark his 600th Liverpool game

"I want to get a box at Man United and a Range Rover Sport, and Catherine wants a new carpet for the upstairs landing." - Gareth Bull, £41m lottery winner

4. Neighbour pains

"The worst return by an English side in Champions League history" - Fifa.com on Man City's three points and bottom place in Group D

Reporter: "Do you know how many managers City have had in your 25 years with United?"
Ferguson: "Fourteen, but I wish it was 15." - Exchange as United vied for the league title with Roberto Mancini's City.

"The fact that an Englishman has an Argentinian as an idol is very rare. I keep watching my [title-winning] goal against QPR and every time I get more emotional. My plan is to stay here because I'm convinced Manchester City will be at the same level as Real Madrid and Barcelona." - Sergio Aguero

"It's very difficult to compliment City. But we're not stupid. They won it." - Sir Bobby Charlton, United director

"It's inevitable that Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho will be at City one day." - Gary Neville turns up the heat on Mancini before this month's derby

5. Robbie to Rafa

"That trophy's certainly what we've been waiting for, what the owner's been waiting for, what he was in tears for. He's strived for this, pumped an awful lot of money in trying to achieve that. We've done it and Robbie (Di Matteo) deserves a lot of credit." - John Terry after Chelsea's Champions League success

"The game was crazy. Bayern Munich scored on about 80 minutes, and with the last corner, our only one, Didier [Drogba] scored. After my penalty was saved I still believed in Petr Cech. He was like an angel and saved the important ones. It was an explosion of feelings when Didier scored that [winning] penalty. It was destiny." - Juan Mata

"It was undeserved. More than that, actually, it was a farce. [Chelsea] may call themselves the best team in Europe, but this will go down in football history as an accident." - Germany's Die Zeit newspaper

"At Chelsea, a sacking is just another day at the office." - Andre Villas-Boas on his successor Di Matteo's demise

"F**k off Benitez, you're not wanted here." - Song by Chelsea fans welcoming their latest manager

6. Arrivederci Fabio

"I didn't run away, I left because there was a misunderstanding. I felt great but sometimes you decide to leave." - Fabio Capello

Reporter: "Was the Capello era an expensive mistake?"
David Bernstein (FA chairman): "It was certainly expensive, no one can argue anything other than that, but it wasn't a mistake"

"We want an Englishman full of passion and commitment for our country. I'm telling you, we've had enough of these foreigners... all they want is money. There's only one bloke. Forget about anybody else, Harry Redknapp's our man." - Barry Fry

"The Queen is above it all" - Capello to Italian TV, who asked Her Majesty's view of his resignation

"BWING ON THE EUWOES! We'll see you in Ukwaine against Fwance" - The Sun headline mocking Roy Hodgson's speech after the FA picked him rather than Redknapp

7. Bundle of Roy

"There's a great quote from Henry Kissinger, which I became aware of from reading [Joseph] Heller's Good As Gold. He said: 'Every great achievement was a dream before it became a reality.'" - Roy Hodgson after becoming England manager

"You have to accept that failure isn't impossible. In football we're branded either as "winners" or "losers", but I think you are a failure only when you start to blame someone else for your failings." - Hodgson to the Oxford Union

"I've been in the England set-up with Tom since the Under-21s, and he loves ketchup. He even has it on Sunday dinners. When we were told we're not allowed ketchup in the senior set-up. I could see the devastation on his face." - Kyle Walker on Tom Cleverley after their call-up by Hodgson

8. Court in the act

"My mum dated a guy from Liverpool. The Liverpool fans made up a song that she 'loves Scouse cock'" - John Terry in court

"How can you call me a c**t? You shagged your team-mate's missus. You're the c**t." - Anton Ferdinand to John Terry during QPR v Chelsea match

"If someone calls you a c**t that's fine, but if somebody puts your colour into it, it takes it to another level. It's very hurtful." - Ferdinand in court

"Thanks football, you set the entire country back a decade. 'Black c**t' now officially ok to say." - John Amaechi, basketball player, tweeting after Terry was found not guilty

"Improbable, implausible and contrived." - Verdict on Terry's defence at the FA's hearing

"Football sometimes appears to cocoon itself from the real world." - Tom Flanagan of law firm Irwin Mitchell

9 Moment of truth

"It's too little, too late. He's a low-life. A clever low-life... but a low-life" - Trevor Hicks, Hillsborough Family Support Group, on ex-Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie's apology

"Very positive outcome. 23 yrs waiting for the truth next step justice." - Kenny Dalglish on Twitter after the police cover-up at Hillsborough was finally exposed

"There were two disasters at Hillsborough, one on the day and one afterwards. There was a contrived, manipulated, vengeful and spiteful attempt to divert the blame." - Trevor Hicks

10 Zlatan-tastic

"Gerrard has good skills, unlike normal English players" - Zlatan Ibrahimovic

"That's how it is with the English: if you score against them you're a good player; if you don't, you're not." - Zlatan Ibrahimovic after his wonder goal against England in November

"An overhead kick from 35 yards when the ball's six feet in the air – only certain players can do that. He's not everyone's cup of tea but he's certainly mine." - Steven Gerrard (right)

11. Taxing times

"Football's a sport which has become so commercial. It may be thought by some to have lost its way" - Lord Justice (Anthony) Leonard

"I'm a fantastic football manager. I'm not a hard-headed businessman." - Harry Redknapp answering tax-evasion charges in court

"You have 12 people that are going to decide to finish your life, basically. And you find yourself being questioned by a man who's probably 100 times better educated than I am, a clever man who's probably gone to Eton. I'm standing there uneducated, really, and I have to try to stand your corner." - Redknapp on being acquitted

"I feel really bad for Harry, especially as my biggest success turned out so unlucky for him. He deserved Champions League football. Spurs were rock-bottom when Harry came in. All of a sudden they're playing in the Champions League and competing at the top. He certainly didn't deserve to lose his job." - Frank Lampard on uncle Harry's sacking by Tottenham and Chelsea's European triumph giving them Spurs' Champions League place

13. Sexy football

"If I were playing Spain, the Brazil 1970 side would win, no doubt. We set the standard others are measured by. We had better players than Spain, who have only two or three great players" - Pele

"Spain have had an unbelievable amount of sex, er, success." - Alan Shearer

"After watching the England-Italy game, I think Rooney only understands Scottish. That's because he plays well only in Manchester, where Ferguson speaks Scottish." - Fabio Capello

"Hart looked very confident with himself, so I thought we had to bring him down a peg or two." - Andrea Pirlo after his chipped penalty in the shoot-out win over England

"I like Balotelli: he's even crazier than me. He can score a winner, then set fire to the hotel." - Zlatan Ibrahimovic

"Jamie Carragher, the only man who can make John Bishop sound like Brian Sewell." - Andy Dawson, Mirror TV critic, on the ITV pundit

12. Ready to crumble

"I miss Manchester, especially the apple crumble and custard they served at Carrington after training." - Cristiano Ronaldo

"People dislike Ronaldo because he's a great player, good-looking and has sex with all the ladies. They get jealous. The only bad thing about Ronaldo's life is Messi. But for him, he would've been the best player in the world for five years in a row." - Luiz Felipe Scolari

"If I could, I'd vote for myself. Being too humble isn't good. In Portugal, we say 'Too much humility is vanity'." - Ronaldo on the Ballon d'Or

14. The Old Infirm

"Welcome to the Third Division." - Banner across a roundabout as Gers fans entered Peterhead

"If Rangers and Celtic had been given the nod they would've gone to the English Premiership and never looked back. Suddenly I'm supposed to be lectured by Walter Smith and others about how bad it is for Scottish football that Rangers are where they are? They'd have left us, saying: 'Get on with yer diddy league.'" - Turnbull Hutton, Raith Rovers chairman

"I've said my piece and will now slip back into semi-anonymity. It's time for my wife to be seen with me in public without having to wear a burkha." - Turnbull Hutton

"The SPL threw us out, stole our money due for last year and are pursuing us to strip titles. It's like coming home, finding your wife in bed with the milkman, asking for a divorce and then a week later asking: 'Can you forgive me? We'll make up.'" - Charles Green, Rangers' "newco" chief executive

15. Last chants

"He wears the club shop, Tony Pulis, he wears the club shop" - Stoke crowd salute the manager's dress sense

"Where you you when you were us?" - AFC Wimbledon fans wax philosophical at MK Dons

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?