Why didn't you just belt it? Barbara Southgate to her son Gareth after his penalty miss against Germany in Euro 96

SPORTS QUOTES OF 1996: Mum has the last word in a year of sage sayings and verbal vigour. Compiled by Rob McLean

I've only taken one penalty before, for Crystal Palace at Ipswich. I hit the post and we went down that year. But I think I'd be far more comfortable now than I was then. Gareth Southgate, England defender, tempts fate before the semi-final.

No matter how much the other players try to console me, I'm still left with the feeling that I let everybody down. Southgate.

If you cut me open and had a look inside right now it couldn't be a pretty sight. I don't know if I can sink any lower. Gary McAllister, Scotland captain, on his crucial penalty miss against England.

It's Bavarian state law that beer isn't alcohol. It's a means of nutrition. Jurgen Klinsmann at the height of the "boozy England" furore.

He's a nice man with a nice family so it will make it difficult to kick him. Tony Adams on Arsenal team-mate Dennis Bergkamp before the England v Netherlands game.

Before the competition, everyone was laughing about England and their style. They will not be laughing now. Bergkamp after his side's 4-1 defeat to England.

Not only the cows are mad in England. The English press is also infected. El Mundo Deportivo newspaper, after Spain-bashing stories before the quarter- final.

Why are the English the only people in the world who still claim the ball crossed the line in the 1966 final? Bild, German paper, during the jingoistic press build-up to the semi-final.

I didn't see the ball. It's not my problem whether it crossed the line. If it did I would remind you: this is how England won the 1966 World Cup. Bobby Mikhailov, Bulgaria's goalkeeper, after television replays showed that Romania had been denied an equaliser.

A goalkeeper is a goalkeeper because he can't play football. Ruud Gullit, BBC pundit, after the antics of Russia's Stanislav Cherchesov gifted Italy a goal.

You don't have to have been a horse to be a jockey. Arrigo Sacchi, coach of Italy, defends his limited playing career, before Euro 96.

There are two possibilities from this tournament. Either I shall be kissed all over my bald head or I will have tomatoes thrown at it. Sacchi, after Italy failed to make the quarter-finals.

Being an ex-England manager, one that failed to qualify for the World Cup, is like being a dead politician. Graham Taylor.

The greatest manager of all time. Kevin Keegan on the late Bob Paisley.

Shanks built the team and Bob carried it on. People say it was easy to take over the reins. Look at what happened to Souness. He took over the reins and the horses ran wild. Stan Boardman, scouse comedian.

Whoever doesn't like Atletico winning ought to die. Jesus Gil y Gil, the ever quotable president of Atletico Madrid.

This is the signing for the people of Newcastle. Kevin Keegan spends pounds 15m on Alan Shearer.

I'll always be a sheet metal worker's son from Newcastle. Alan Shearer introduces himself to the Geordie hordes.

A waste of money. Gullit, Chelsea manager, on the Shearer transfer.

I am not Asprilla the crazy man. I am just like a little baby at heart. Faustino Asprilla, Newcastle's Colombian striker who joined the club for pounds 7.5m.

They've nicknamed me Ena Sharples because my head's never out of the net. Ian Thain, Keith goalkeeper, after letting in 10 goals against Rangers in the Scottish Cup.

I think having Wasps around here gives us that little buzz around the place. Ray Wilkins, then QPR manager, on the Loftus Road ground-share.

There's nobody fitter at his age, except maybe Raquel Welch. Ron Atkinson on Gordon Strachan.

It might be enough for the homeless but not for a top international striker. Pierre Van Hooydonk, Celtic's Dutch international striker, rejects the club's reported salary offer of pounds 7,000 a week .

Sometimes I would have to go next door to get fed. I have seen people starving, and I know that side of life. Dwight Yorke, Aston Villa striker, on his childhood in Trinidad and Tobago.

We are skint. We are desperate for money, we have no sponsorship and we are selling the gear to have a night out. There is nothing wrong with that after four years' hard training. Tony Ali and Robert Morgan, two of Britain's Olympic divers, justify selling their team kit on the streets of Atlanta.

The British public only care every four years and then they wonder why we can't produce the goods. Swimmer Paul Palmer, Britain's first medal winner in Atlanta, rues the lack of cash for British sport.

We are drowning out there and we have become a laughing stock. David Wilkie, Britain's former 200m gold medallist, on the British swimming team's performance in Atlanta.

All I do is eat, sleep, and train six hours a day, six days a week. Michelle Smith, Ireland's multiple Olympic gold swimming medal winner, responds to drug innuendo about her dramatic improvement.

If anyone sees me go near a boat again, they have got my permission to shoot me. Steven Redgrave, British rower, after winning his fourth Olympic gold, in the coxless pairs.

I think the oldest rower to win a gold medal was 42. So I might have another couple of Olympics in me. Redgrave changes his mind.

Life is a bitch, but that is it for me. I'll be 40 in the next Olympics. Linford Christie after his false-start disqualification in the 100 metres final.

The way Christie behaved was disrespectful. It affected my race absolutely. If I'd false- started twice I'd have just left. Ato Boldon, Trinidad's bronze medallist.

When you are in a race with Michael Johnson, there are two races going on. One with him and the other with the rest. Roger Black, Britain's silver medallist in the 400m.

I'm very consistent. I try to hit everybody. Charles Barkley, forward with the United States basketball team.

It was heart attack time for me. A split second later and a guy wearing all the wrong clothes would have dashed out there and become the most famous production assistant in history. Don Mischer, Olympic opening ceremony producer, after Muhammad Ali nearly failed to light the Olympic flame.

Any suspicious person not stopping at a security check will be shot. A Pakistani cricket official on crowd control methods in the World Cup.

British lion: weak in the paw, long in the tail. England walked to the gallows like criminals rather than martyrs. Indian Express, after England's World Cup defeat by New Zealand.

We couldn't beat a team of Eskimos. Ian Botham on England's World Cup.

Will someone remove this buffoon? Mike Atherton, England captain, to Pakistani journalist.

He had a pizza last night. Now it's on the field out there. Ray Illingworth, chairman of selectors. after Neil Smith was sick during a World Cup match against the UAE.

I don't particularly care if a guy is green, yellow with pink spots and comes from Mars. If I'm playing sport against him, I'm playing sport against him. Botham, accused of being a racist by Imran Khan.

Imran and I are not on talking terms. Yes, I once said he should be stoned to death, but I think in this case he was in the right. Sarfraz Nawaz on Imran v Botham and Lamb.

Ian never got me out in 15 years but his boy gets me out in seven balls. Mike Gatting after being dismissed by Botham's son, Liam, who was making his first-class debut for Hampshire, against Middlesex.

He could show the youngsters how to roll a joint, but that's about all. Ian Chapple on the prospect of Botham joining the England management.

This has to be one of the finest courses Chris Bonington ever built. The PGA are providing oxygen on the first and 10 tees. Mark Roe, golfer, on the high-altitude setting for the Madeira Open.

This will help me in terms of money, my ranking - and women. Roberto Carretero on becoming the first qualifier to win golf's German Open.

He bored me to tears. He went to the toilet at least four times in one and a half frames. Chris Small, snooker player, after losing to Karl Broughton in the International Open.

NBA players are smart enough to know you get the virus from unprotected sex, and we're not going to have unprotected sex on the basketball court. Rony Seikaly, Golden State centre, showing no anxiety about facing Magic Johnson after his return to basketball.

Unless people see me on the ski slope, they think I'm an accident-prone berk. Eddie Edwards makes another comeback.

I have the body of a man half my age. Unfortunately, he's in terrible shape. George Foreman, a sprightly 48.

`The charisma of a jellyfish'

THE BAD, THE MAD - AND GAZZA

You know if everything is going well, you get drunk for a couple of days. Paul Gascoigne on life at Rangers.

Gazza is not longer a fat, drunken imbecile... he is in fact a football genius. Daily Mirror editorial headed "Mr Paul Gascoigne: An Apology", after his Euro 96 goal against Scotland.

I'm a disgrace. Gascoigne, who beat up his wife and was sent off playing for Rangers against Ajax in the same week.

Gascoigne has created a monster for himself. Desmond `Naked Ape' Morris, human behavious expert.

I looked in the mirror and I didn't like what I saw. Tony Adams, of Arsenal and England, confesses to being an alcoholic.

It took a lot of bottle for Tony to own up. Ian Wright.

You walk along the street and people say you're a coward, that you missed penalties, that you're fat, even that you're a junkie. Nobody has the right to make my daughters cry. Diego Maradona.

I have not ruled out the fear that Diego could suddenly die on a football pitch or walking down the street. Ricardo Grimson, a doctor treating Maradona for cocaine abuse.

We don't need people like Vinnie Jones, who is just a self-hyped personality. He isn't a good player and is of no benefit to the game. Gary Lineker, former England captain, and BBC sports presenter.

Lineker has the charisma of a jellyfish - and he is just as wet. He is a jellyfish without a sting. Jones fights back.

Before that I was like a child, sort of waiting to do the next stupid thing. But what I have learned is not to make the same mistake twice. Eric Cantona on his kung-fu kick and the community service sentence it earned him.

You know Dennis Wise. He could start a fight in an empty house. Alex Ferguson.

I know where he should have put his flag up, and he'd have got plenty of help. Ron Atkinson on an errant linesman.

The referee was booking everyone. I thought he was filling in his lottery numbers. Ian Wright.

It is a very sad day for English football. Players get stick all the time from the fans, but it seems you cannot have a go back. Mark Bosnich, Aston Villa goalkeeper, on his Nazi salute to Tottenham fans.

He doesn't know anything. Every time I see him I feel sick. Brad Gilbert, Andre Agassi's coach, on Ronnie Leitgib, Thomas Muster's coach.

His comments probably come from eating too many hamburgers with English meat. Muster on Agassi, who accused the Austrian of paranoia.

You short-brained or what? We go to Eurosport after the match and we check out the replay. If I am right, you'll never be up on the chair again. Michael Stich, former Wimbledon champion, to umpire Richard Kaufman.

We are more important than the Catholic Church. Juan Antonio Samaranch, IOC life president, loses the plot completely.

`There is peace in our time'

RUGBY RUCKS AND CIVIL WAR

You can't dissolve a tournament like the Five Nations over the telephone. Bill Bishop, outgoing Rugby Football Union president, after England had been thrown out by the other home unions over the TV deal with Sky.

Democracy no longer prevails within the RFU. The television negotiators have taken a quick fix. Cliff Brittle, RFU chairman, on the Sky deal.

Most players are fed up with the whole thing. Will Carling, former England captain, on the constant wrangling between the RFU and its top clubs.

English rugby was haemorrhaging. Reality dawned on everybody. People wanted to know why we were tearing each other apart. Tony Hallett, the RFU secretary, as rugby union's civil war was resolved.

There is peace in our time. Colin Herridge, RFU treasurer.

There are many evils in the world and two of the worst are money and greed. Everything is now geared towards winning. You didn't see the professional fouls in the past and you do now, and the game's social side has disappeared. Willie McBride, former Lions captain, on the modern game.

I'm 48, an ageing dinosaur. My perspective is moulded by my age. But I hate everything that's happened. Friendship and loyalty have been smashed. Andy Ripley, former England No 8, on the turmoil in British rugby.

Being dropped and Take That splitting up on the same day is enough to finish anyone off. Martin Bayfield keeps his sense of humour after being left out of the England union team to face Scotland.

We've got to have a few thugs. Scott Gibb, Welsh RU international, calls for more RL internationals to be brought back.

The League could not promote blanket sales in Alaska. Ken Arthurson, Australian Rugby League chairman, dismisses proposals by the British Rugby League to run Super League in Australia.

If Rupert Murdoch told you to go down to Central Park tomorrow and expose yourself, you would. Caller to Rugby League chief executive Maurice Lindsay on C4's Nightsports.

`He looks terrified'

CHOKES OF THE YEAR

It's not the end of the world. I screwed up but I'm not a loser. I've got 40 million bucks. Greg Norman, after his defeat by Nick Faldo in the Masters, when he blew a six-shot lead on the final day.

They just sat and watched, which was kind of eerie for a golf tournament. Faldo on the final- round atmosphere.

I played like shit, that's what happened. Norman, after being asked by a reporter what happened.

In that moment Nick went up in my estimation. We both had tears in our eyes. It was something very special. Norman on Faldo at the death.

It's amazing how many people beat you at golf when you're no longer president. George Bush.

He looks terrified. I've never seen a champion look less like a champion. New York boxing writer as Frank Bruno climbed into the ring before his world title defence to Mike Tyson.

He wasn't as good as 1989 but he was a darn sight better than I thought he was going to be. Bruno on Tyson after losing.

It hurts when people get the idea that I'm some kind of pantomime freak. Bruno.

The last time Bruno fought Tyson I had a bet on Frank. But I also had a bet on Elvis Presley sitting at ringside. John H Stracey, former world welterweight champion.

I am just looking forward to expressing a lot of pain. Mike Tyson before his world heavyweight title fight against Evander Holyfield.

There's no contest. It's a complete and total mismatch. Micky Duff, promoter, predicts Holyfield's destruction by Tyson.

No one realises that when I was training for this fight my sparring partners was whippin' me up. It was discouraging but I prayed and I got through it. I was going to be prepared. Holyfield, after beating Tyson.

I have the greatest respect for you. I just want to shake your hand. Tyson to Holyfield.

I can't remember a thing after the third round. Tyson.

I get paid far too much money to think about quitting boxing. I get $30m for stepping into the ring. Tyson, after his defeat.

Everyone has talked about our collapse but that doesn't do justice to what Manchester United achieved. Kevin Keegan, Newcastle manager, after his side collapsed during the title run-in.

All I can do is apologise to all my fans. I feel really sorry for them. Andre Agassi, after going out in the first round to Doug Flach at Wimbledon.

My only desire now is to get drunk. I've lost all my skills as a player. Alexander Volkov, tennis player, in defeat.

If you have a good team but a bad management, you can maybe get along. But if you have a bad team and a bad management you get f*****. Brian Lara after West Indies' World Cup defeat to Kenya.

`Hill showed he

was the weakest'

HILL AND HENMAN

Right now I feel like I'm on a rocket that's about to take off. Damon Hill, after being crowned Formula One world champion.

I've got to stop now because I've got a lump in my throat. Forgive us in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and everywhere else if we feel emotional, because that's our boy. Murray Walker, BBC motor racing commentator, celebrates Hill's success.

Hill clearly showed he was the weakest because with the best car it took him so long to become world champion, Nikki Lauda, former world champion.

Please don't think I hate Damon. If I wasn't a racing driver we could have been friends. He has his days, like a woman her periods. Michael Schumacher.

Maybe he doesn't like Schumachers. Michael's brother Ralf, on Hill's decision not to join him at Jordan.

I'm not concerned about being British No 1. I'm interested in improving my world ranking. That's what matters. Henman.

It could only happen in Britain. At the French Open last week they even allowed Yannick Noah to sing a song on Centre Court. David Lloyd, British Davis Cup captain, on the decision to put Tim Henman, Britain's No 1, on an outside court at Queen's.

The Royal Box was practically empty. You have to ask where their priorities lie. Obviously, you cannot interrupt the great British lunch. Buster Mottram, former British No 1, after Henman had played his quarter-final against Todd Martin to a half-empty Centre Court.

When I look at all the attention I've received this year, God only knows what it would be like if I ever won Wimbledon. Henman.

`I try to keep my bra on'

WOMEN ON THE EDGE

We are broke. Everything is gone. Diane Modahl, British athlete, on the high price of trying to clear her name of drugs charges.

Women compete better after an orgasm, especially high jumpers and runners. Israeli scientist Alexander Olshanietzky, urging his nation's athletes to have sex at the Olympics.

I try to keep my bra on at all times. Georgie Hill, Damon's wife, explains how she avoids being a "distraction'' after rumours that Jean Alesi's girlfriend had been banned from the pits.

You look very nice this evening, Sue. But don't take that as a compliment. I'm visually impaired. Simon Jackson, Paralympic judo gold medallist, to Sue Barker during the BBC's Sports Review of the Year.

Our last referee only had one eye. We played on his blind side. Mary Maugham, striker with Argyll Bombers five-a-side team, Stockton-on-Tees, average age 82.

The worst thing about playing for Great Britain is the sleeveless shirts. It means you have to shave your armpits before every game. Karen Brown, hockey international.

I caught with a good right to the jaw and lots of body shots. Lloyd Honeyghan, former world welterweight champion, after attempting to stop three girls shoplifting.

Ms Ferguson is a friend of mine. But there is nothing else. Thomas Muster, tennis world No 3, on rumours of a romance with the Duchess of York.

It's very hard on our family, and if this is business, I don't like business. Steffi Graf, world tennis No 1, on her father's problems with tax evasion.

If you read the papers, you'd think she belongs in hospital. The injuries are just an excuse ahead of time in case she needs it. If you look at her today, she's running like a gazelle. She could run the Olympic 400 metres. Martina Navratilova, former world No 1, who thought Graf was faking injury problems.

Martina is lucky she doesn't have to live with these injuries. She should know better than to say these things after all the time we've known each other. Graf.

With all of the comments some of you have made that I'm not strong enough or mentally tough enough at the end, I proved - not only today but in the past - that's not the case. Jana Novotna, renowned for "choking'', replies to her critics after beating Monica Seles in the Olympic tennis quarter-finals.

Once I even bought a blonde wig so as not to be recognised. Gabriela Sabatini, on her retirement from women's tennis.

Out there it's every man for himself. Alex Greaves, who became the first woman to compete in the Derby.

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