Special ones and special wins 2005: the finest verbal volleys of the year

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The Independent Online


Pressure is the millions of parents round the world with no money to feed their children. Not football.

Jose Mourinho, Chelsea manager.

Patrick Vieira is 6ft 4in and he starts having a go at Gary Neville, so I said, 'Come and have a go at me'.

Roy Keane, Manchester United captain, on the tunnel altercation between himself and the Arsenal captain in February.

Frank Rijkaard's history as a player can't be compared to my history - his history is fantastic, mine is zero. But my history as a manager can't be compared to his, because he has zero titles and I have a lot of them. He just can't be compared to me.

Mourinho, on the Barcelona manager, before their European Cup tie.

Barcelona must knock Chelsea out for the good of football.

Johan Cruyff.

I said, 'Hello, pleased to see you' to the referee and said something about the game in a very polite and friendly way, not aggressive at all.

Rijkaard, after Chelsea had complained about his half-time chat to the referee, Anders Frisk, in Barcelona.

He is one of these people who is a voyeur. He likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, they have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks and speaks and speaks about Chelsea.

Mourinho on Wenger.

When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent. It is disrespectful and not acceptable. It is as simple as that. I will see whether I take any action about that.

Wenger responds.

If something happened in the football stadium and I don't see it, and if some of my people arrive and say to me, 'I saw this, this happened', and if another one comes and says, 'I saw the same' then I say it is true because I can't work without loyalty and I have to believe my people.

Mourinho admits he did not actually see Rijkaard go into the referee's changing-room.

Chelsea going through is a disaster for football.

Samuel Eto'o, Barcelona striker.

What happened after the Chelsea match started currents and dark things which made me feel this cannot go on. I won't ever go out on a football pitch again. I am too scared.

Frisk announces his retirement following death threats.

It's the coaches who whip up the masses and actually make them threaten people with death. People like Mourinho are the enemy of football.

Volker Roth, chairman of Uefa's referees committee.

Frankly I am amazed this could happen in a hotel in the centre of London. Why not do it in the middle of the M25? And then at least everybody knows.

Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager, after reports that the club's left-back Ashley Cole had had talks with Chelsea's chief executive, Peter Kenyon.

That coat's from Matalan!

Manchester City fans' chant to Mourinho.

Mr Chairman, I think that the second half will be a damage-limitation exercise for your team.

Michel Platini, to the Liverpool chairman, David Moores, at half-time in the European Cup final.

He grabbed me by the shoulders and said: 'Whatever you do, don't forget Bruce Grobbelaar and his spaghetti legs.'

Jerzy Dudek, Liverpool goalkeeper, on Jamie Carragher before the European Cup final shoot-out.

David Beckham's legs have gone? He can't run any more? If that's your opinion, you are out bicycling.

Sven Goran Eriksson, England coach, on criticisms by Terry Butcher following the disappointing World Cup victory against Wales.

You will be talking about this group of players for years to come.

Lawrie Sanchez, Northern Ireland manager, after his side's win over England a few days later.

WOMEN ON TOP: 'We need a 12th man! Let's be having you!'

This is a message for possibly the best supporters in the world. We need a 12th man here. Where are you? Where are you? Let's be having you. Come on!

Delia Smith, Norwich City's majority shareholder, to crowd at half-time during defeat to Manchester City.

I wish I'd had such a positive role model.

Serena Williams on herself.

I have to get quicker. I need to work on my serve. I need to work on the whole game... I could go on and on and on.

Elena Baltacha, British tennis player.

I'm cold, tired and buggered.

Dame Ellen MacArthur, yachtswoman, during her record round-the-world trip.

A woman is going to win the National one day and I want to be the first.

Carrie Ford, jockey, on the eve of the Grand National.

Horses ridden by women do not win Grand Nationals. That's a fact.

Ginger McCain, trainer.

I haven't heard from Andrex.

Paula Radcliffe on her unscheduled London Marathon toilet break.

ASHES HEAVEN:'The next challenge is to stay out with Freddie'

I'm ugly, I'm overweight but I'm happy. I'd never make a decent celebrity. What's most exciting about winning the Ashes is it means I'll be awarded the freedom of Preston, my home town. This means I can drive a flock of sheep through the town centre, drink for free in 64 pubs and get a lift home from the police when I'm inebriated. What more could you want?'

Freddie Flintoff celebrates winning the Ashes with his England team-mates.

I think I was saying 3-0 or 4-0 about 12 months ago, thinking there might be a bit of rain around. But with the weather as it is at the moment, I have to say 5-0.

Glenn McGrath, Australia bowler, predicts an Ashes whitewash.

I don't think it should be taken that seriously.

Ricky Ponting, Australia captain, after losing by 100 runs to England in Twenty20.

We don't suddenly become a bad team overnight.

Michael Vaughan, England captain, after defeat in the first Test.

I wouldn't say we've destroyed their confidence, but we've gone some way towards doing that.

Ponting, after the first Test.

Tall. That is good.

Sven Goran Eriksson, England football coach, asked for his opinion on Vaughan.

God is impartial. He admires the mastery of Shane Warne as much as the brilliance of Freddie Flintoff.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster.

I can't really recall a better all-round performance.

Vaughan on Flintoff's performance in the second-Test victory.

I'm a good-looking lad - I can pull anything off, eh?

Kevin Pietersen, England batsman, on his hairdo.

I'm quite agile, you know, a bit of a gymnast, actually. I gained all my Coca-Cola badges for gymnastics when I was nine years old at Greenlands County Primary School in Preston. Never lost it.

Flintoff on the back flip he performed after dismissing Warne during the drawn third Test.

When you consider the opposition, this is probably the best Test we have played during my time with England.

Duncan Fletcher, England coach, on the third Test.

I was sitting next to Andrew Strauss and I was hugging him and hitting him in turn. Doing all sorts of things.

Flintoff, on the tense finish to the fourth Test.

I wasn't that surprised he was out for 0 because when he left me he looked pretty exhausted. I guess you could say I've done my bit for England.

Julia Reynolds, who claimed to have tired out Shane Warne on the eve of the fourth Test.

I think it's an absolute disgrace the spirit of the game is being treated like that.

Ponting, on England's use of substitute fielders, during his side's defeat in the fourth Test.

I went into Burger King the other day and they wouldn't let me pay. They said, 'You can have free burgers for life if you win the Ashes.'

Matthew Hoggard, England bowler, on the eve of the fifth Test.

It's been a privilege. But above all it's been a lot of fun - but it's not a lot of fun for the batsman, as Pietersen is bowled by McGrath.

Richie Benaud bows out during the fifth Test after 42 years of commentating.

Warney is great. It was a special moment when he ran over to me. He said to me, 'Make sure you cherish this moment.'

Pietersen on being congratulated by Warne at the end of the fifth Test.

England deserved to win. They outplayed us for the last four matches... It's been my best ever series but unfortunately it's not been good enough.


The next challenge for me is trying to stay out with Freddie Flintoff tonight.


You're pissed and you know you are.

Fans' chant during the celebrations in Trafalgar Square.

To be honest I'm struggling. I've not been to bed yet and the eyes behind these glasses tell a thousand stories.

Flintoff at Trafalgar Square.

He didn't give us any wine to start with but he eventually had to crack some open from his fridge.

Vaughan on the Prime Minister's reception.

If sport is that important to them they can go and buy a bloody dish.

Nasser Hussain, former England captain, asked about Test cricket moving to Sky.

In 40 years he will be in a bar somewhere far away, like Japan. Someone will come up to him and say, 'I was there'. Then they will shake his hand and buy him a drink. It still happens to me all these years after we won the World Cup and, Freddie, I love it.

Sir Geoff Hurst.


I apologise unreservedly for my thoughtless and inappropriate comment. My intention was to make a light-hearted football joke.

Rodney Marsh, after Sky sacked him for joking about the tsunami. He had said that David Beckham would not move to the North-east because of the trouble caused by the 'Toon Army'.

He is crazy. He should have switched on his brain before he tried a move like that. Another millimetre and one of us could have been dead.

Ralf Schumacher, racing driver, on his brother Michael, after the Monaco Grand Prix.

If your woman goes and sleeps with your best mate, it's over. If the Rs boss, Ian Holloway, slept with my best mate, QPR would still be my team.

Pete Doherty, rock star, on the loyalty of fans.

The only book I've ever read is Paul Gascoigne's autobiography. He is a hero of mine.

Carl Fogarty, former world superbike champion.

OK, I had a double brandy before the game, but it used to be four bottles of whisky

Paul Gascoigne, after being sacked as Kettering manager.

I won't be able to stop the drinking just like that but I've hopefully cut it in half. And if you cut what I drink in half that is a hell of a lot.

Andy Fordham, former world darts champion.

The good thing is that he lived 100 years in his 59 years.

Barry McGuigan, former boxer, at George Best's funeral.

Apart from peeing in the street and one visit to the police station, he's been fine for me.

Graeme Souness, Newcastle United manager, on the midfielder Kieron Dyer.

Souness puts kids in the team and left me on the bench to annoy me. He's just a child. We would have won the Uefa Cup last season if Souness had possessed the intelligence.

Laurent Robert, then of Portsmouth referring to his time at Newcastle.

Not only has he gone behind my back right in front of my face, but he's lying.

Craig Bellamy, the then Newcastle striker, on his row with Souness.

I wouldn't consider going out with a bowls player. They're ugly and not my type. I'm looking for a millionaire.

Carol Ashby, women's bowls world matchplay champion, after being accused in hate mail of consorting with opponents' husbands.

If I ever had my time over again I'd be a general or a bishop.

Ken Bates.

I can kick her ass off.

Sesil Karatancheva, Bulgarian 15-year-old, on the eve of her Wimbledon match against Maria Sharapova. She lost 6-0, 6-1.

I will just put four or five extra packs of cigarettes in my bag and I will be fine.

John Daly, on having to play 36 holes on the final day of the Deutsche Bank Championship.

The Achilles' heel which has bitten us in the backside all year has stood out like a sore thumb.

Andy King, manager of Swindon Town.

We know that England won the battle 200 years ago. Now Spain steals your best footballers. It seems fair to me.

Spanish spectator at the Battle of Trafalgar celebrations on the Solent.

Hey Tiger, I've seen better swings in a playground

Spectator to Tiger Woods at the Bay Hill Invitational.

Getting my world ranking up from 56th to where it should be is like eating an elephant. - you take a chunk at a time

Colin Montgomerie, golfer.

I can tell you that my biggest weakness is my sensitivity.

Mike Tyson.

Scum, total scum. They don't know what honesty or loyalty is. They're the biggest scum that walk on this planet and, if they weren't footballers, most of them would be in prison. It's as simple as that.

Alan Sugar, former Tottenham chairman.

Andrew Whing was eating a lasagne and somehow pulled a hamstring - it has to be a world first.

Mickey Adams, Coventry City manager.

LIFE WITH THE LIONS: 'I may have made a couple of errors'

I got hold of Gavin's number when I saw a picture of him in a paper lifting a weight. I thought, 'Oh my God, how could I turn him down?'

Charlotte Church, singer, on her boyfriend, the Wales and Lions centre Gavin Henson.

It was always going to go over. I was never going to miss. Didn't give it a second thought. It was written for me.

Henson, on his match-winning Six Nations penalty against England.

It was a cheap shot. They could quite easily have broken my neck.

Brian O'Driscoll, Lions captain, on the spear tackle by Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu in the first Test that put him out of the tour.

These things happen.


Going into the game I was 100 per cent convinced I had got the selection right. But I think, with hindsight, I may have made a couple of errors.

Sir Clive Woodward, after the first Test.