A sporting year in quotes: On the record, off the ball

'It's 60-40 against him being fit, but he's got half a chance'
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This has been our Achilles heel which has been stabbing us in the back all season.

David O'Leary, then the Aston Villa manager, on his side and set-pieces.

Villa have had a complete reservation of fortunes.

Alan Brazil, radio pundit, after Martin O'Neill took over as manager.

I would like to start by spanking the sponsors.

David Beckham's speech at his pre-World Cup party.

There's 600,000 euros for winning tonight so they'll want to win. There's also 400,000 euros for appearing tonight - so that's £1m for each club just for turning up.

David Pleat, commentating on a Champions' League game for ITV.

Hakan Yakin plays with Young Boys in Berne.

Jonathan Pearce, BBC commentator.

It's 60-40 against him being fit, but he's got half a chance.

Glenn Hoddle, then Wolves manager.

It's a real shock; he brought the club on in leaps and bounds. Well, yes, we did get relegated...

Nigel Pearson, caretaker manager of West Bromwich Albion, on the sacking of Bryan Robson.

It will be easier for you guys to see God's face than to see England beat Trinidad & Tobago.

Jack Warner, adviser to the Trinidad & Tobago Federation, to English reporters, on his side's World Cup group game.

We're planning an off-the-cuff baby celebration.

Kevin Nolan, of Bolton.

The FA have opened a real can of worms, except there are no worms in it.

Eric Hall, agent, on the bungs saga.

Oddly enough, he is related to Chelsea's Joe Cole, although it is through his wife who is Joe's brother. The fact they are all called Cole is a strange coincidence.

John Gorman, former Northampton Town manager, on his new signing, Mitchell Cole.

'Beenie the horse wants to sit next to you on the touchline'

I thought Hans Christian Andersen had come back from the dead.

Martyn Thomas, chairman of the Rugby Football Union management board, on reports that Sir Clive Woodward had been approached to return to the England set-up.

My father was a great fan of the horses. His only regret was that I never ran in the Grand National.

Steve Ovett.

This isn't going to look good in a photograph, Mr President.

Pierce Brosnan, when Bill Clinton gripped his hips to improve his swing during a round of golf.

I thought I should say, 'Move out of the way - mother and baby coming through!'

The pregnant Paula Radcliffe on her race tactics for the Hyde Park Run.

Why didn't daddy say to the ref it was his birthday and not to send him off?

Aaron Pressley, son of Steven, then Hearts captain.

Before the match my daughter said: 'Beenie the horse wants to sit next to you on the touchline.' It's difficult to tell a seven-year-old, 'This is the Premiership, I'm known as Psycho and I'm a hard man'.

Stuart Pearce, Manchester City manager.

I am more of a knobhead than an egghead but I will be gutted if I get beat.

Phil 'The Power' Taylor, darter, prepares to go on The Weakest Link.

No one has nicer teeth than me. Why would anyone laugh at my lovely teeth?

Ronaldinho, the world's best dentally challenged footballer.

I've got the passion, but no idea of tactics. I'd be like a black Kevin Keegan.

Ian Wright, BBC pundit on what he'd be like as a manager.

The US finally came up with an exit strategy. Unfortunately it's for the World Cup.

Jay Leno, host of the Tonight Show in America, after the United States were knocked out in the World Cup group stages.

'Schumacher should leave the sport to honest people'

He's pissing on us. He should quit the sport now and leave it to honest people.

Keke Rosberg, former Formula One world champion, after Michael Schumacher was accused of unsporting behaviour to deny Fernando Alonso pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix in June.

Every club has three types: fans, parasites and people who work their bollocks off, even ladies.

Ken Bates.

Football is a wonderful game but players seem to be prima donnas. They fall down and roll around.

The Queen.

He said: 'Come on, you wanker'. F-word this, F-word that. 'Do you want to go back to plastering?'

Clinton Woods, on the advice he received between rounds from Ricky Hatton during his successful third defence of his IBF light-heavyweight title, against Glen Johnson.

My team manager would quite like to kill Floyd Landis with his bare hands.

Nicole Cooke, women's world No 1 cyclist, on the damage done to the sport by the Tour de France winner's positive drugs test.

If you're a superstar, you have to lead from the front. They didn't and at times they behaved like shits.

Thomas Gravesen, now of Celtic, on the Real Madrid galacticos.

For the sake of her own well-being and the sport it would be best if she went away quietly.

Michael Johnson, on the sprinter Marion Jones.

I have black, gypsy and Japanese friends, and one whose job is to determine the sex of poultry.

Luis Aragones, Spain coach, on allegations of racism.

'I couldn't get one boob in, let alone my arse'

She should not be here. I know that sounds sexist but I am sexist, so I am not going to be anything other than that. We have a problem in this country with political correctness and bringing women into the game is not the way to improve refereeing. It is absolutely beyond belief... It is bad enough with incapable referees and linesmen but if you start bringing in women, you have big problems. It is tokenism for politically correct idiots.

Mike Newell, Luton Town manager, on assistant referee Amy Rayner, after his side's defeat against QPR.

It's an outrage. Many women who support his club pay his wages. But you'd expect it at Luton.

Claire Ward, MP and Watford fan.

If I saw an ugly bird but she was a celebrity, she wouldn't attract me at all.

Rio Ferdinand, footballer.

The best-looking birds come up to me, but I turn them all away. I don't need it, man.

Amir Khan, boxer.

She has been a model and did bikini shots, but to link her with porn sites is unacceptable.

Tiger Woods, after a magazine published fake internet pictures of his wife Elin.

What I love most about Norway is you ladies. Back home I'm used to fat and hairy women journalists.


They are always trying to get me into something I couldn't get one boob in, let alone my arse.

Gail Emms, Olympic badminton silver medallist, on sponsors' demands.

We both played like women.

Andy Murray after beating Kenneth Carlsen in Auckland.

2006 - the year of sweet FA, Clarke's Guinnessability and Ashes to ashes

I was asked the other day who is going to be the top scorer. What a stupid question. Me!

Michael Owen, before the World Cup.

It was a real shock. They kept giving the ball back to us.

Paraguay's Santa Cruz on England's poor show in the opening group game.

I didn't know we had to wait for the ref's whistle.

Jamie Carragher, after missing his retaken penalty in the shoot-out against Portugal.

I was convinced we could play in the semi-final, maybe the final. Big, big delusion. I am sorry. I am sorry for you, for the players, for the fans. They deserve something better. I tried to do the best I could.

Sven Goran Eriksson, England manager, after the World Cup defeat against Portugal.

We got beat in the quarter-finals. I played like shit. Here's my book.

Joey Barton, Manchester City midfielder, on the process which led to England footballers' post-World Cup autobiographies.

I adore the game, but wouldn't be interested in being the England coach in a million years.

Leo Beenhakker.

The FA idiots should say to McClaren, 'Sorry Steve, here's a million. We've dropped a bollock.'

Jimmy Greaves, pundit, after McClaren was named to replace Eriksson.

An expensive mistake? I would not accept that notion.

Brian Barwick, chief executive of the Football Association, on the Eriksson reign.

There's no fucking way Eriksson is coming to us. We'd murder him. I'd shoot him myself.

Ray Winstone, actor, on rumours of Eriksson taking over at West Ham United.

When I heard '£55,000' I nearly swerved off the road.

Ashley Cole, from his autobiography, on his horror at being told by his agent what Arsenal were offering him as a weekly wage.

If this is what British tennis is all about, we should be enthused. I am immensely proud.

Jeremy Bates, Davis Cup captain, after a humiliating defeat against Israel in July.

Some things that have been written have been depressing. My mother has cried her eyes out.

Jenson Button, Formula One driver, who recorded his first Grand Prix win, in Hungary.

Woosnam has definitely gone down in my estimation - so far his captaincy has been the most pathetic I have ever seen. There are a lot of people feeling uneasy about the Woosie captaincy. Stories will start to come out. My relationship with Woosnam is completely dead and will remain so in future. I don't understand the way he is handling the whole situation. It doesn't look like he is burdened by leadership qualities.

Thomas Bjorn, on not being selected by Ian Woosnam for the Europe Ryder Cup team.

He's not a happy chappie.


Having had a day to reflect on my comments I'd like to apologise for the hurtful and personal nature of my remarks. I realise I've made a mistake.


Sport is all about momentum and our guys never got it. End of story.

Tom Lehman, the losing US Ryder Cup captain.

We've made this the greatest week in history.

Ian Woosnam, the winning Europe Ryder Cup captain.

Guinnessability, that's why they picked me for the team. There was no other reason whatsoever.

Darren Clarke at the post-Ryder Cup press conference.

Woosie, I didn't really know you before this, but I like you. You're a hell of a guy.


I am sorry that you have lost your jobs because of our cock-ups at the top end.

Martin Corry, England rugby union captain, to the coaches sacked by the Rugby Football Union.

We have had four hard games and I think the guys have come through with credit.

Andy Robinson, England rugby union coach, after three defeats and one win in the autumn programme.

Winning the World Cup was the worst thing that ever happened to the England team.

Clive Woodward, the former England coach, on the complacency since 2003.

It's clear from the last two or three years that England have been left behind in the world game.

Rob Andrew, RFU elite performance director.

The Government must stop treating 2012 as a thing you do on a Friday before the weekend.

Derek Wyatt, MP, calls for a full-time Olympics minister.

It seems the budget was done on the back of a fag packet.

Hugo Swire, Shadow Culture Secretary.

If transport, housing and Olympic projects do not work, I will crawl away under a stone.

Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London.

I am 1,000,000 per cent innocent. It will be a very interesting programme. I'm looking forward to it very much. I won't see it. I'll be up in Mansfield with the team for a Carling Cup tie... My missus might watch it, and might even tape it for me, but it doesn't worry me.

Harry Redknapp, Portsmouth manager, on the BBC's Panorama programme on 'bungs' in football.

What's the problem? Britain has sold its banks, its gas, electricity and water supply companies and even its airports to foreign companies. Ninety per cent of Mayfair is foreign-owned and sometimes all of Arsenal's team is foreign, so why not the football clubs?... Until Portsmouth was bought last year the changing rooms were only fit for a Third Division team in Afghanistan.

Pini Zahavi, football agent, on domestic clubs attracting foreign takeover bids.

He was a credit to life. He will be in my heart for the rest of my life.

Jimmy White on his fellow snooker player Paul Hunter, who died of cancer.

They'll all be going home with depression.

Jeff Thomson, former Australia fast bowler, after Marcus Trescothick came home from the Ashes.

It's one of the all-time great wins as far as I'm concerned.

Ricky Ponting, Australia captain, after his side's victory in the second Ashes Test.

I have never experienced such a sense of loss after a cricket match and I hope I never feel that bad ever again. I wasn't boo-hooing or anything like that, but the tears were there.

Andrew Flintoff, England captain, after the second Test.

Compiled by Chris Maume