Sport: A year in words: the quotes of 1998

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Winning the World Cup is the most beautiful thing to have happened to France since the Revolution. Emmanuel Petit of Arsenal and France.

Keep the planet clean: recycle footballers. Message on the 100 Per Cent Official Anti-Football web site on the Internet.

We're not much into football, but we support Scotland now. Mustafa Aolad, of the Eye of the Tiger restaurant, Bournemouth, after Scottish fans ordered pounds 600 worth of curry and lager and an pounds 800 flight to transport it to Bordeaux.

I'm out of the squad, Dad. Cancel the holiday to France. Paul Gascoigne to his father after learning that he had not made England's World Cup squad.

If we are going to die, then we will die standing. We will fight to the last. Iran coach Jalal Talebi before their World Cup game against the United States.

You only sing when you're whaling. Scottish fans to their Norwegian counterparts.

An infantile Colombian coffee-picker wearing a dunce's hat and holding a Fifa's certificate. Danish newspaper on John Jairo Toro after he sent off three players in the match against South Africa.

I am not an expert on soccer but I think the Brazilians are always hard to beat. Bill Clinton keeps his eye on the ball.

At this rate I will be defending myself in the Old Bailey soon. I'm not prepared to sit back and let people call me a cheat and treat me like a criminal. Croatia's Slaven Bilic on the flak he faced after getting Laurent Blanc sent off in the semi-final.

We were under Yugoslavia for 45 years and we couldn't say we were Croats. Now we can. Igor Stimac, of Croatia and Derby.

If we both win, I think the whole of Croatia will be drunk for the rest of the year. Croatian tennis player Goran Ivanisevic, before the Wimbledon final and Croatia's World Cup semi-final.

If I felt I needed to apologise to anyone I would have done that by now. Glenn Hoddle, England football coach, defends his World Cup diary.

I'm not interested. What can a job like that do for me? You would have to be a masochist. Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager, on the prospect of coaching England.

Sometimes now, when I watch continental games on television, I'm a bit bored. I start to ask `where is the intensity?' Wenger.

I don't believe in retirement. It is against the law in America to force people to retire. I still have plenty of damage to do. Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager.

These press conferences are a waste of time. The best thing I can do is get in, show my face and f... off. The then under-pressure Blackburn manager, Roy Hodgson.

If they want to go and get someone better for this job, then let them. Hodgson. Two days later he was sacked.

You have to speculate to accumulate. Steve Cotterill, Cheltenham manager, on the sponsoring of 41-year-old Clive Walker by a firm of undertakers.

Obviously he has Alzheimer's disease or something. I will never have dinner with him again. Martin O'Neill, Leicester manager, feeling let down by his chairman over a verbal agreement during the Leeds United managerial vacancy saga.

Thank goodness transfers have nothing to do with me. Terry Venables after it was revealed that pounds 400,000 had vanished following the signing of Fan Zhiyi.

Our problem is not keeping the players out of nightclubs, it is getting them out of the banks. Paul Phillipp, Luxembourg coach, on his team, made up mostly of bank clerks and insurance salesmen.

I'm not hiding under a rock. I want to look people in the eye. Graham Kelly, after resigning as FA chief executive following the cash-for-Fifa- votes scandal.

At no stage did Wiseman accept that what he had done was wrong. He never said sorry and maintained that he had behaved correctly throughout. FA official on the meeting at which Graham Kelly resigned as chief executive and Keith Wiseman refused to as chairman.

The Pope put the ball in the penalty area. Now we just need Pele to tap it in. Eduardo Suplicy, Brazilian Senate, asks for Pele's help in ending the American embargo of Cuba.

He should only send in his letter requesting his reinstatement as an amateur with his death certificate. Senior PGA official on golfer Derek Lawrenson, who accepted a Lamborghini as a prize for a hole-in-one.

Please don't torture me any longer, sir. I made a mistake ... I'm not going to kill anybody. I'm not a mass murderer. Mike Tyson's successful argument to the Nevada State Athletic Commission to reinstate his boxing licence.

I have no self-esteem but the biggest ego in the world. Tyson.

Mike's not all that bad. If you dig deep . . dig real deep, dig, dig, dig, dig. Dig deep, go all the way to China ... I'm sure you'll find there is a nice guy in there. George Foreman on Tyson.

It makes me feel like weeping; he's a guy I like so much. Roy Francis, referee, on the battering Chris Eubank took from Carl Thompson.

Cheltenham is unique. The only limitation on the amount of money you can take is the speed at which you can shove it into your satchel. David Boden, bookie.

I picked up my artificial arm and threatened it. Mathew Butson, New Zealand skier, on the wild monkey, one of 200 in the Nagano area, that leapt into his hotel room from the balcony during the winter Paralympics.

We will observe the law that says spectators cannot touch the sexual organs of the artist. Owner of club in which Finnish ski-jumper Matti Nykanen planned to perform as a stripper.

It's the greatest English sell-out since Anzac Day. I think the English will have their own fatal landings in Australia and New Zealand over the next few weeks. Dick McGruther, Australian Rugby Union chairman, on the under-strength England squad that performed disastrously on the tour of the southern hemisphere.

The very fabric of the great game is being damaged. Jagmohan Dalmiya, International Cricket Council president, on the match-fixing scandal.

Remember it is only a sport that we are talking about. It is not as if someone has declared war on us. Tony Banks, Sports Minister, on England's defeat in the third Test against Australia.

It's always been the same here: if you lose they give you funny looks all the time. They love winners in Australia, whether it's their own team or someone else's. Graham Gooch, England cricket manager, after the third- Test defeat.

If you don't pick some new batters I promise you this will happen again in 2001. Ian Chappell, former Australian captain.


`All the English need

are beer and toilets'

Yes I was drunk, I got drunk quite quickly - I'd not had a drink in nine days. Paul Gascoigne on the night before he was dropped from England's World Cup squad.

If his behaviour continues as it is the boy's life will progress in one of three ways. He will end up in the gutter, in prison, or he will die. If he doesn't change I am certain he will never celebrate his 40th birthday. Steve Jacobs, the addiction counsellor who treated Tony Adams, on Gascoigne.

In England, some players booze a lot. Those who have been out on the town and smell of booze the next morning are the ones I set out after. I chase them during training and won't leave them alone. I'm a pest from the first minute to the last. I can't stand those players who perform below standard because they choose to lead a wild life. Dennis Bergkamp, of Arsenal and the Netherlands.

If you are dealing with the English all you need is beer and good toilets. Toulouse bar owner during the World Cup.

Two people have died today - an alcoholic [the actor Kevin Lloyd] and an ex-footballer [Justin Fashanu]. When you put it into that kind of perspective it is only a football game. Tony Adams, the day Arsenal had secured the Premiership title.

I know it is not good for football but I think this team will drink all week. It is a wonderful feeling. Stephane Adam, Hearts striker, after his side's Scottish Cup final win over Rangers.

I'm beating demons every day but there has always been an angel on my shoulder looking after me. John Daly, golfer, after a year on the wagon.

We were treated like animals, like criminals. Dutch cyclist Jeroen Blijlevens on his hotel being raided by police searching for drugs during the Tour de France.

I am not being hypocritical but it is obvious no one can race day after day on mineral water and salad. Nicholas Chaine, communications director of Tour de France sponsors.

Fina [swimming's world governing body] is a coward ... They are flickering, fluttering badge-wearers with no authority. They test for five when they know there are 25 substances. The [drug] guidelines are worthless. Mark Spitz on the Chinese growth hormone affair at the world swimming championships.


`She went down at the end of the quickstep'

I'm finding it difficult to find a girlfriend in Barnsley. The local girls are far uglier than the ones back in Belgrade. Our women are much prettier. Macedonian striker Georgi Hristov.

If women want to put on make-up or dance around their handbags, they should be able to. But they should be free to box too. Jane Couch, woman boxer.

There's not much chance of me being a page three girl, maybe a page eight. I can't be a pin-up cause I've got no tits. Couch, after her victory in Britain's first women's professional boxing match.

To say she is a world champion is an insult to boxing. Couch is a freak show ... She is of such a poor standard, she couldn't live in the ring with the worst amateur I could lay my hands on. It's a disgrace. Frank Maloney, promoter, on Couch's victory over Simona Lukic.

A lot of attitudes have changed but you still get the obvious knockers. Julia Lee, Britain's leading female rugby league referee, on how spectators react to her.

Life as we know it is now over. MCC member after the vote to admit to women.

We are not misogynists. We love women dearly. But we want to go in as a bunch of lads to enjoy cricket, watch cricket, jaw about cricket over a few drinks - just as lads. Robert Lawrence, MCC member.

Winning a Grand Slam is easy for girls. Marcelo Rios, tennis player.

My soccer boots and an inflatable doll, because a month without a woman can be difficult. Belgium defender Eric Deflandre on what he was taking with him to the World Cup.

She told me after the foxtrot that she did not feel very well. She survived the tango but went down at the end of the quickstep. Alan Shingler on his wife Donna, who suffered concussion after colliding with an opponent at the British Professional Dance Championships.


`If I had a sword I'd cut off his head'

He came into the garage like an animal, saying I tried to kill him. David Coulthard after a shunt with Michael Schumacher at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Coulthard Killer. Italian banner at the next race, in Monza.

My only regret is that he's not still a fighter because if he was I would have battered him. Naseem Hamed on Barry McGuigan, who had written about Hamed's troubled relationship with his trainer, Brendan Ingle.

Geoffrey Boycott: Shut up. Everybody's talking. I can't understand.

Translator: But I'm translating.

Boycott: Not very well.

Geoffrey Boycott, in court on assault charges.

This club is not to be sold like some second-hand Jag by Martin Edwards and his cohorts. Andy Walsh, of the Manchester United Independent Supporters' Association, on the proposed takeover by Sky.

Everyone was cheering, thinking it was The Wolf and Three Little Piggies story. But then it went wrong when one of the pigs whacked Wolfie. There was another scuffle by the tunnel and I saw Wolfie catch a pig with a left hook, and the City Cat steamed in. David Singleton, Bristol City fan, on a fight between City and Wolves mascots at Ashton Gate.

It was all Wolfie's fault. He is a known trouble-maker. Sponsors' spokesman.

As far as I am concerned, he is history ... If he thinks we are going to offer him an olive branch he knows where he can stick it. Dave Bassett, Nottingham Forest manager, on his striking striker, Pierre van Hooijdonk.

You get one bad egg and it upsets the apple cart. Wimbledon manager Joe Kinnear on the Van Hooijdonk affair.

They should just cancel the whole season and let everyone go out and get a real job. Then I bet they'd come to an agreement real quick. Chicago Bull Dennis Rodman on basketball's NBA lock-out.

I ended up shaking John Gregory's hand when I left, and he gave me a big hug. Then I read in the papers the next day that if he'd had a gun he would have shot me, and I was stunned. Dwight Yorke, after leaving Aston Villa for Manchester United.

You could write on the back of a postage stamp with a blow lamp what the police know about racing. Barry Dennis, Lingfield bookmaker.

He broke my heart. If I had a sword I would cut off his head. Mac O'Grady, golf coach, on Seve Ballesteros, his former charge.

The worst thing was when people phoned up my girlfriend, who is six months pregnant, and asked her: `What's it like living with a lunatic?' John Hartson, of West Ham, after his training-ground attack on team-mate Eyal Berkovic.


`Exhausted? I had to go off with a heart attack'

In Cameroon, healers say they will be able to cure me in three days by burying my leg in the ground and putting fire around it. They have also recommended massage with gorilla bones while invoking the spirit of ancestors. Physiotherapy would include going on a hedgehog hunt. Marc- Vivien Foe, of Cameroon, on treatment for his broken leg.

I'm a Catholic lad and if I want help I'll go to see the local priest, not a faith healer. Robbie Fowler on the inclusion of Eileen Drewery in Glenn Hoddle's World Cup preparations.

Maybe it has to do with El Nino or something. Michael Chang on a run of injuries.

They have treatment three times a day, once in the morning, once at lunchtime and again at 4pm, which gets them out of here just in time for rush hour on the M25. It's amazing how quickly they're all improving. George Graham, Spurs manager.

I'm still struggling a bit after my neck operation ... I could have done without the Scouser who came up to me before the game and slapped me on the back and said `nice to see you'. Fulham manager Kevin Keegan on his return to Liverpool in the Worthington Cup.

I felt like I had smoked about 10 joints. Adam Hollioake on being dehydrated as England went out of the Wills International Cup in Dhaka.

Exhausted? I had to go off with a heart attack. 38-year-old Dave Watson, of Everton, on marking Arsenal's Nicolas Anelka.

It took me six weeks to get over a snapped Achilles but at Ronnie's age it could take six years. Stan Ternent, Burnley manager, after his 35-year- old midfielder, Ronnie Jepson, ruptured his Achilles tendon.

It's about time people stopped moaning about him and realised that this is one incredibly brave bugger. Lawrie Brown, Michael Atherton's physiotherapist at Lancashire, on the player's ankylosing spondylitis.


`Be strong when the fish are down'

White people no longer believe they can protect what is important to them. They are spineless. There is no marrow left in their bones. Louis Luyt, after resigning as president of the South African Rugby Football Union.

Everyone in the team would agree that we are absolutely as good as them. David Lloyd, England cricket coach, after the 242-run Test defeat to West Indies.

That was racist behaviour, picking me out because I was an Italian. It was an atrocious injustice. I pushed the ref in his stomach, and he took three or four backwards steps before falling over, like a player diving to win a penalty. He should have given himself a yellow card. Paolo Di Canio of Sheffield Wednesday, after pushing over referee Paul Alcock following the Italian's dismissal.

I've managed a few nutters in my time but Paolo takes the biscuit. Ron Atkinson, Di Canio's former Wednesday manager.

They drill us as if we were in the army. If somebody breaks his racket in anger, then a punishment machine is set in motion. That way, people are reduced to bloodless creatures. In this business it's like wild animals in a cage. It's every man for himself. Marcelo Rios on ATP Tour officials.

I'd have got a lot more caps if Jock Stein had picked me. In a way it was a blessing that he died because I was never going to get a game while he was manager. Frank McAvennie, former Scotland footballer.

I went to the ball and said, `Ball, would you like to fly to England?' It said, `No,' so it stayed on the shelf. Karl Kainer, referee of the Busby Babes' last game in Belgrade, refuses to give the match ball to United.

To those who say it's a step back, I say bollocks. Ian Wright on being picked for England at 34.

Nelson Mandela was as disappointed as I was. Ruud Gullit, then Chelsea manager, on calling off a meeting with the South African president.

At the start of the season you're strong, but you must be as strong in March, when the fish are down. Gianluca Vialli, Gullit's successor.

I'm still learning the style over here, especially how to kick people. Gustavo Di Lella, Argentinian midfielder on trial with Hartlepool.

Liverpool, brilliant, pleased. Hamilton Ricard, of Middlesbrough, on accepting a Man of the Match award against Tottenham.

That bronze medal is worth its weight in gold. Paul Dickenson, BBC commentator, on Britain's Olympic success in the four-man bob.

Don't come back to Sunderland or we'll cut your throat. Sunderland fans to Clive Mendonca, whose hat-trick for Charlton led to his home-town club's play-off defeat.