Sir Alex Ferguson, David Beckham, John W Henry, Paolo Di Canio, Mohamed al-Fayed, Arsene Wenger - the best quotes from the football world in 2013

All of the good, the mad and the highly embarrassing sayings this year

Phil Shaw
Thursday 26 December 2013 00:00
Paolo Di Canio said that if players turned up with mobile phones, he would throw them in the sea
Paolo Di Canio said that if players turned up with mobile phones, he would throw them in the sea


You want to take your rose-scented glasses off, mate.

Robbie Savage to a 606 phone-in caller

It’s turning into a war of nutrition in midfield. Martin Keown on Arsenal v Southampton

Football’s not just physical, it’s menthol too. Phil Brown

I can see England winning, but I can also see them losing. Lee Dixon before Ukraine v England

Joe Hart made a few mistakes around Christmas time and got crucified.

Joe Corrigan

I mean the Scots, they can talk for England, can’t they, the Scots. Neil Warnock

When a team puts up a six-man wall, it’s hard for the other team to impregnate it.

Willie Miller

It’s all pumps blazing as we go to the wire. David Pleat


So. Farewell

Then, Sir Alex.

Yes. You were

Britain’s most successful

Football manager.

It was never a penalty

That was your catch phrase.

It was a definite penalty

That was another.

E J Thribb, Private Eye

You can never beat Alex Ferguson and when you do you come off second best.

Steve McClaren

In honour of Sir Alex Ferguson we’re proud to introduce #NandosFergieTime. All our Manchester Nando’s will be open five minutes later tonight. Tweet by Nando’s

Everyone loves Alex Ferguson and he’s a great, great manager, but he couldn’t put on a coaching session to save his life. I’ve spoken to people about it; he can barely lay out cones.

Joey Barton


The hardest part of Roy’s body is his tongue. He has the most savage tongue you can imagine. Sir Alex Ferguson on Roy Keane in My Autobiography

Nothing surprises me with that man. Keane responds

The two words the manager spoke to me about, a number of times, were control and power. There’s a massive ego involved in that you have power and control over people, and you try to have it even when you’re not working with them. Keane

His life changed when he married the girl from the Spice Girls. His focus changed. He got drawn into that celebrity status. Ferguson discusses David Beckham on US radio

Gabriel Clarke (ITV): Who was the best manager you played for?

Roy Keane: Without a doubt, Brian Clough.


The fee was nothing to do with me. It’s between Tottenham and Real Madrid. I’d have come here for a penny. Gareth Bale after his £85m transfer

We sold Elvis and bought the Beatles. Erik Thorstvedt, ex-Spurs keeper, after the Bale fee funded seven signings


You’re from The Only Way Is Essex. So where are you from? Ron Atkinson meets Mario Falcone on Celebrity Big Brother

He was a quiet man, Eric Cantona, but a man of few words. David Beckham

I’m getting to that age where I’m not 18 any more.

Micah Richards, 26

We had a word with him about diving. Since then the lad’s come on leaps and bounds. Billy Dodds

If Walcott scores it’s a different kettle of story.

Adrian Chiles

It was handbags at half-mast. Alan Pardew after Newcastle and Southampton back-room staff scuffled


(Ferguson) is probably one of the very few, if not the only one, who doesn’t believe Steve (Gerrard) is a top, top player. He may not have won the title but that’s more because of the teams he’s been in. Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool manager

Rodgers has been singing the praises of Suarez and Sturridge: The SS.

Alan Brazil

[Alan Shearer] was never into theatrics like Luis Suarez. Suarez thinks the football pitch is a swimming pool. Marcel Desailly

It takes time for a player to understand that the most courageous players are those who take the ball 20 yards from their own goal, not the guys at the top end of the field. Brendan Rodgers


All I can do is do what David Moyes has done before. Even Sir Alex had testing times and it’s no different for David Moyes. I needed it to be the David Moyes era now and David Moyes’ time, so that meant me taking some of my own people. Moyes joins Manchester United

Sitting in (Sir Alex’s old) chair for the first time felt odd. I did it myself with nobody looking. I thought I’d have to see how it felt in case anyone thought I looked stupid. David Moyes

People want us to fail because we’ve won the League so many times. Everyone hates the best clubs. Phil Jones on United’s patchy start under Moyes

Roberto (Martinez) was football-mad. I’d be watching EastEnders in our hotel room and he’d stick on a bloody Ukrainian Second Division game.

Leon Britton recalls life at Swansea with Moyes’ Everton successor

I thank God for giving me a season with him at Inter. We both understand we were born to win together.

Samuel Eto’o reunited with Mourinho at Chelsea

Mourinho can’t deal with losing. He’s simply not compatible with it. After a loss it’s very difficult to work with him the next day.

Ricardo Carvalho


The Michael Jackson statue will stay. He can’t go. It’s part of the deal. It’s history. It’s listed. You can’t change, otherwise I will come and take your moustache in public. Mohamed al-Fayed sells Fulham to Shahid Khan, who removed it

When I won Player of the Year in 2004 (Fayed) called me up to get the prize. He took a couple of pills from his pocket, said it was Viagra and went: “You should have a good night.”

Luis Boa Morte

What do you think they’re smoking at the Emirates?

John W Henry, Liverpool owner, on Arsenal’s £40,000,001 bid for Luis Suarez

Hull City is irrelevant. My dislike for “City” is because it’s common, a lousy identity. Assem Allam plans to rename club Hull Tigers

They can die as soon as they want. Allam on City Till I Die campaigners

Mohamed al-Fayed told Shahid Khan to keep Michael Jackson


I love him. He’s Sir Arsène Wenger. But he likes having the ball, playing football, passes. It’s like an orchestra, but it’s a silent song. I like heavy metal more. I always want it loud. I love Arsenal’s style, but I cannot coach it because I’m a different guy. I celebrate when we press the ball and it goes out. Jürgen Klopp, Borussia Dortmund coach

The perception that I’m resistant to spending is unfair. Why should I resist?

Wenger before splashing £42m on Mesut Özil

Özil is a bit better at dribbling than Zidane was. They have a similar form of technical ease and humility. Özil also has a special quality: he always takes the right decision quickly. Arsène Wenger

Kieron Dyer has retired and will now be sold to Arsenal as spare parts for Jack Wilshere. Tweet by betting firm Paddy Power


Robin was 29 and impatient. Of course it’s strange because, for me, he’s an Arsenal man.

Arsène Wenger before Van Persie’s winner v Arsenal.

When Robin was a child we had this eclipse. We watched the shadow of the earth slowly move over the moon. He realised we were standing on a huge ball. That fascinated him; even the world was a ball.

Bob van Persie, Robin’s artist father


Other Romans came 2,000 years ago who conquered the North-east and were here 100 years. Maybe after two months it’ll be “Di Canio f*** off”. It can happen but I’m sure it won’t. Paolo Di Canio joins Sunderland in March

If someone comes in with a mobile phone, even in a bag, I’ll throw it in the North Sea. And we need lectures about why we can’t have everyday things like mayonnaise, ketchup and Coke. Di Canio launches “complete revolution”

Me walk away? Never. I always believe I’m the best manager in the world. I’ve been working 24 hours a day. The players have to adapt to me. I cannot be a fake Di Canio. Di Canio before being sacked in September


In the immortal words of Steve Bruce, you’ve just got to grin and bank it.

Ron Atkinson

[Steve Bruce] said: “You’re not going to be here for life. Work hard for us, and you can go for a slot at a bigger club.” Yannick Sagbo, Hull City player


I like fighting football, not serenity football. What we in Germany call “English” football: rainy day, heavy pitch, 5-5, everyone dirty-faced and goes home and can’t play for weeks.

Jürgen Klopp

We (Barcelona) beat Rayo Vallecano 4-0 but people weren’t happy because they had slightly more possession. In England there’s a lack of control but people don’t want it any other way. Cesc Fabregas

I saw Arsenal-Spurs. The pace was incredible. An hour later I watched a Dutch game and it was so slow. Lots of things are happening in English football – openings, high tempo – and that is beauty too. Dennis Bergkamp


I wouldn’t trust the FA to show me a good manager if their lives depended on it. How would they know? What clubs have they ever run? Who do they speak to who really knows the game?

Harry Redknapp

The FA made a good choice. Roy (Hodgson) is an excellent manager. Nobody disputes that. Looking at it he was better equipped and better qualified, maybe at international level, than I was. Redknapp changes tack


For me it was probably the last attempt to reach the World Cup. One thing’s for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch.

Zlatan Ibrahimovich after Sweden’s play-off exit

Today it’s easier. I scored 41 times for Portugal in 60 games, but I never played against Liechtenstein and Azerbaijan. Eusebio when Cristiano Ronaldo overtook his scoring record

You might say we’ve got no out-and-out attacker. But Luke Freeman and Lionel Messi are a similar type of player and you wouldn’t accuse Barcelona of playing without an attacking threat.

Graham Westley, Stevenage manager, after a goalless draw at Tranmere


I don’t know if we ate much. But Nancy (Dell’Olio) had not come over for the food.

Sven Goran Eriksson

I’m the bad cop and he’s the bad, bad cop.

Martin O’Neill becomes Ireland manager with Roy Keane as No 2.

Q: Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.

A: Member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and enjoy all forms of theatre.

Graham Taylor, magazine Q&A.


If I had my way, today’s fixture between Motherwell and Ross County would have been cancelled. That’s because Fir Park should have been torched on Thursday to cleanse the stadium after it played host to women’s football. Tam Cowan, Daily Record, after Scotland’s “girlies” beat Bosnia

I’ve spoken to managers who’ve said they weren’t comfortable talking to a girl about football. They just thought I was someone’s PA, or there to make tea. When I go to games I’m always asked: “Which one’s your boyfriend?” Georgina Lillis, football agent


Four hours after playing for England against World Cup finalists West Germany in front of 68,000 at Wembley, I was attempting to clean a sheepdog’s diarrhoea from a shagpile carpet at my home.

David Armstrong, ex-Southampton player’s first sentence of autobiography


There was way too much pressure. It came from everyone: the club, the fans. I think too much pressure just hurts the team. Carlos Tevez quits Man City

It’s ironic, but the people who gave me flak for building up Manor House (where he breeds racehorses), who told me I’d taken my eye off the ball, are probably the same people who’ll be depressed in later life because they didn’t plan ahead. Michael Owen retires

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