Tweets, quips and clangers: Football quotes of the year

Football's a funny old game, never more so than in 2011 when those involved opened their mouths – or took to their mobiles

Phil Shaw
Saturday 31 December 2011 01:00
L-R: Anne Robinson, 'Trouble with the ball'; Gaddafi, 'A great bloke'; Bernie Ecclestone, ' Inferiority complex'; Kelly Cates, 'It's all too much for me'
L-R: Anne Robinson, 'Trouble with the ball'; Gaddafi, 'A great bloke'; Bernie Ecclestone, ' Inferiority complex'; Kelly Cates, 'It's all too much for me'


I think the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson rested Howard Webb had a lot to do with the result.

Noel Gallagher after City's 6-1 defeat of United at Old Trafford

It was our worst-ever day, the worst result in my history, ever. Even as a player I don't think I ever lost 6-1.

Sir Alex Ferguson

Carlitos is amazing. He does what he wants with the Arabs. He tells them "I want to go to Buenos Aires" and they say "No, Carlitos, stay here now, we'll give you more money". And then he gets more money!

Diego Maradona on Carlos Tevez

I never saw [Tevez] as volatile. I can't think of one incident where there were flashpoints with Carlos. That's not to say it wouldn't have happened. Actually, I take that back because it would never have happened on my watch.

Mark Hughes after Tevez allegedly refused to warm up at Bayern Munich

MCFC statement re no chips at half-time v Newcastle: "The chips were put in the fryers but refused to warm up."

Ian Cheeseman, radio commentator, tweeting after City ran out of chips the week after the Tevez incident

They brought on someone who cost more than our stadium.

Brendan Rodgers, Swansea manager, on City's Sergio Aguero


Of course I can remember my first game. We bloody lost 2-0. I said to myself: "Oh Christ almighty, I've picked a job all right." Luckily I was able to get back to Aberdeen that night.

Ferguson recalls his 1986 debut as Manchester United manager at Oxford

He went through the team and said: "Right, up front, Frank and Nigel. OK lads?" Bryan Robson said, "Nigel? Who's Nigel?" Fergie points at me and goes: "Him. Nigel Davenport." He'd confused me with the actor from Howards' Way.

Peter Davenport

You can't think that Manchester United could have only one cycle of players as good as that (the class of 1992-93). We'll always keep chasing the dream. We will get a bunch like that again. We have to.


We always looked forward to playing Aston Villa to hear him mangle Ugo Ehiogu's name. "Make sure you pick up Ehugu, Ehogy, whatever his name is."

Gary Neville


Harry [Redknapp] is going to be literally, literally pulling his hair out.

John Scales

Alex McLeish will have had kittens – literally.

Chris Coleman

Fabregas literally carries 10 yards of space around in his shorts.

Ray Wilkins

Arsenal have been literally passed to death.

Jamie Redknapp

Everton are literally a bag of Revells.

Paul Merson


When you've got a mountain to climb you may as well throw everything into the kitchen sink.

David Pleat

When you lose a goal so early, you've always got an uphill mountain.

Steve Claridge

That showed a total lack of disrespect from the player.

Garth Crooks

Ireland need fresh impotence.

Phil Babb

Supporters have every divine right to slag your players off when they're not winning games.

Dean Windass

There's a famous saying: "If you pass the square ball in your own defensive third it must not be intercepted."

Graham Taylor

AFC Wimbledon in the League! Talk about the ashes rising from the flames.

Stan Collymore

He picked the postage stamp over the wall with aplomb.

Tim Flowers

That was never a penalty in a million planets.

Alan McInally

The first half has gone how I almost half-anticipated.

Jimmy Armfield

A difficult decision for the referee's assistant. I wouldn't beat him up over it.

Kenny Cunningham

Roberto Mancini's got that Italian style, the old joie de vivre.

Perry Groves

There's too much – I don't know what the word is – scientology in the game.

David Pleat

Barcelona play football to die of.

Mick Quinn

Martin O'Neill rules with a rod of fear.

Stan Collymore


Sitting eating sushi in the city, incredibly chilled out reading Nietzsche.

Joey Barton on Twitter

I was Labour until the Gordon Brown and Tony Blair debacle. Brown is a talentless idiot who I can't believe was running the country... I don't like Ed Miliband either. He is a d***head. His voice is so strange. It's like a Monty Python scene where you see the other MPs sniggering behind his back.


Where I'm from, if you couldn't defend yourself you'd have your trainers nicked. If I went home crying that someone had hit me with their fists, I'd be told to pick up a stick, get back out and sort it.

Barton on his Liverpool upbringing


Rooney's good but not the best in Manchester.

Mario Balotelli

I sent my Christmas wishes to him, but he didn't answer. He's the world's best coach, but as a man he still has to learn manners and respect.

Balotelli on Jose Mourinho

Mancini is lucky. He has an owner [Sheikh Mansour] who speaks little and asks only: "What do you need?"


Football and tits are mixed up in the [British] tabloids. If a girl says "I am a footballer's girlfriend" they all think it's true. Anything goes and you cannot defend yourself.

Balotelli after being linked with 'Big Brother' contestant Sophie Reade


Did you hear charming Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Do me a favour, love.

Richard Keys to Andy Gray on Sky, off-air but recorded

I can see her (assistant referee Sian Massey) from here. What do women know about the offside rule?'

Andy Gray, off-air

Well done to the lady lineswoman.

Chris Kamara, on-air when Massey called a tight decision correctly during the match, Wolves v Liverpool

Phew am exhausted. Just read about something called "the offside rule". Too much for my tiny brain. Must be damaged from nail polish fumes

Tweet by Kelly Cates, broadcaster and daughter of Kenny Dalglish


He's just a dirty dog. He has no morals. It was one thing having an affair with Imogen, but this is said to be with his brother's wife, for God's sake. I could almost understand if it was another footballer's wife – then so what? But not with his own sister-in-law.

Joanna Wilson, Ryan Giggs' aunt

When Andy Carroll first appeared on the scene he was a tall skinny kid and his coordination was all over the place. He reminded me of a giraffe.

Glenn Roeder, former Newcastle manager

When we found out Blackburn's owners wanted us to do a chicken advert for Venky's, we didn't really know what to think. I had to pretend to love it, but the truth is, one bite and my stomach was in knots.

Michel Salgado


So if u shorten words to get what u want in within 140 characters it makes u a twit?

Rio Ferdinand on being branded the footballer with the "most basic" vocabulary on Twitter

Just to confirm to all my followers I have had a hair transplant. I was going bald at 25, why not?

Wayne Rooney on Twitter

My new tattoo is Jesus being carried by three cherubs. Obviously the cherubs are my boys. At some point they are going to need to look after me. That's what they're doing in the picture. It means a lot.

David Beckham


I'm going to miss his childlike laugh. I'll forget the goals but I'll never forget that laugh.

Gordon Strachan on the death of Wales manager and his former team-mate Gary Speed

Go on Gary Speed lad. Get one yourself son.

Leeds fans' banner using the words of a radio commentary of Speed's 1990 goal v Sheffield United


Ann Robinson: The American author of travel books such as Notes From a Small Island and A Walk in the Woods is Bill....?

Contestant: Shankly.

Exchange on 'The Weakest Link'

I'm amazed to find those countries are in Europe.

Tony Pulis after the Europa League draw sent Stoke to Turkey, Ukraine and Israel

He's disappeared to Azerbaijan, or somewhere ridiculous in the world.

Harry Redknapp on Tony Adams

No disrespect to the country. It's a wonderful place, the... where's he gone again?

Steve Bruce, the former Sunderland manager, after his striker Asamoah Gyan forsook Sunderland for the United Arab Emirates

He's an American, qualified to play for Wales because he has a Welsh grandmother, who was on the bench against Switzerland.

BBC TV commentator Guy Mowbray

It's a huge honour to wear No 7 at Liverpool. I think about the legends: Dalglish, Keegan and that Australian guy.

Luis Suarez

Gaddafi's a great bloke. The media only show the bad things. I used to go round his house. His son's a super simple guy. All the Gaddafis were very down to earth.

Luis De Agustini, Libya goalkeeper, before the dictator's overthrow

Let us leave the EEC, abolish human rights laws, take TV sets, pool tables and phones out of prisons, bring back corporal and capital punishment, slash benefits and put single mothers into hostels instead of giving them council flats. Finally, if we chucked out all the illegal immigrants and asylum seekers there would be enough jobs for everyone.

Ken Bates, Monaco-based Leeds chairman, in his programme column


I'm not one of those people obsessed with football. I have a couple of bikes from the Dakar rally. I have a bit of a crazy head and I go into the mountains and almost kill myself. It's my escape.

Andre Villas-Boas, Chelsea manager, on his love of off-road motorcycles

Who is the muppet coaching Chelsea??? AVB??? Hmmm!! 25yrs for Ferguson, hopefully not even 6 months for this AVB geezer!

Kevin Pietersen, Chelsea-supporting England cricketer, on Twitter

I've found myself on some days leaving home at three in the morning. I'm outside the training ground at five but they don't open up until seven. I'm just sitting there, listening to the radio.

Harry Redknapp

I am supposed to take the bullets and absorb them. Like a bear. A polar bear.

Arsène Wenger on Arsenal fans' criticism

It was difficult in the beginning, in the middle and at the end.

Steve McClaren recalls his England reign

The boys' performance was so good that I've run out of expletives to describe it.

Micky Mellon, Fleetwood Town manager


I leave at half-time; by then you can see which way it's going. If you ask me to name five of our team, I couldn't. There's that guy who scores goals – Taarabt. Routledge I've heard of. All bloody nice guys but I don't mix with them so I don't know them well. I don't go in the dressing room. They can walk out of the showers and I feel I've got an inferiority complex.

Bernie Ecclestone, then co-owner of QPR

If you pay them the wages they'll come. We all kid ourselves: "I've wanted to play for Tottenham since I was two, I had pictures of Jimmy Greaves on my wall." It's a load of bull. Here's £80,000 a week. Lovely jubbly.

Harry Redknapp on overseas players

Oh I'm sorry – I don't follow football.

William Gallas after talking up Milan's Antonio Cassano and finding he was ineligible for the Champions League

He's had a lovely career for the talent he's got.

David Pleat on Peter Crouch

Back in my time, and I sound old now, it was black and white boots and that was it. Now you've got snoods, people wearing headphones when they're doing interviews, which I find disrespectful. Pink boots, green boots, you name it, even tights. They'll be wearing skirts next.

Paul Ince

It was like he was being controlled by a 10 year-old on a PlayStation.

Gary Neville on David Luiz

If a footballer presents himself as a family man and goes and has sex with a prostitute, should he gag her?

Nicky Campbell, Radio 5 Live


Attack, attack, for feck's sake attack.

Northern Ireland fans' banner at the home defeat by Estonia


Carra doesn't like me to fist him before the games, so I give him a high-five instead.

Pepe Reina on Soccer AM

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