A Happy New Year to whoever out there is still reading this stuff. Many thanks.
We all love hearing a good sporting wind-up and no doubt the wittier the better, perhaps so long as we aren’t the direct recipient. Below are some doozies over the years from British soccer. Some I’m sure you’ll agree are pretty good, though most can’t really compete with this cutting effort from rotund Zimbabwe cricketer Eddo Brandes to Aussie Glenn McGrath in the 1990s after McGrath asked him why he was so fat. “Because every time I sleep with your wife she gives me a biscuit”, was the priceless retort from Brandes.
Here we go then (in no particular order):
1) The Cardiff City PA announcer once baited West Ham United fans from London’s east end with: “Will the owner of a horse attached to a rag and bone cart in the visitors’ car park return to his vehicle immediately”.
2) Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty used to revel in giving it to Manchester City in the 1970s. He once said to a reporter: “There are three types of Oxo cubes. Light brown for chicken stock, dark brown for beef stock, and light blue for laughing stock”.
3) Docherty also passed comment on City’s colourful chairman at the time: “Peter Swales likes publicity. He wears a card around his neck saying ‘In case of heart attack call a press conference’”.
4) Comedian Frank Skinner once referred to a particular German striker with a propensity for hollywoods: “I was watching Germany and I got up to make a cup of tea. I bumped into the telly and Klinsmann fell over”.
5) Back in the 80s when Wimbledon were in the top flight (and before they famously won the FA Cup versus Liverpool in 1988), Skinner commented: “It would be great if Wimbledon got into Europe. Usually a small squad of players travels abroad, followed by several thousand wild-eyed, drunken fans. If Wimbledon got there, it’d be the other way round”.
6) And Skinner had this to say on the appointment of Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson to the position of England manger, around the turn of the millennium: “You look at Sven and you think he’s a pharmacist. He should be saying, “Here’s your pile ointment’”.
7) Long-suffering Newcastle United fans won’t like being reminded of this quote from the great Scottish sports journalist, Hugh McIlvanney: ‘People talk about Newcastle as a sleeping giant. They last won the championship in 1927 and the FA Cup in 1955. They already make Rip Van Winkle look like a catnapper’.
8) Legendary Liverpool boss Bill Shankly obviously couldn’t always stomach the forceful personality of Brian Clough: “Brian Clough’s worse than the rain in Manchester. At least God stops that occasionally”.
9) And Clough himself didn’t have a very high opinion of those in charge of the clubs: “Football hooligans? Well there are 92 club chairmen for a start”.
10) You wouldn’t classify the following from ex-Queens Park Rangers and Manchester City wing wizard Rodney Marsh to the iconic Alf Ramsey as a particular dig. But it’s out there, and hilarious: Alf Ramsey: “If you don’t work harder tonight, I’ll pull you off at halftime”.
Marsh: “Christ, we only get a cup of tea and an orange at City”.
And after you’ve recovered from the audacity of quote 10, I wanted to mention (although most sporting true blues would already no doubt know) of those brilliant ESPN sports documentaries- one of the best was centred around the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan incident before the 1994 Winter Olympics. And if you watch basketball (or even if you do once or twice a year, if at all), then you really need to set aside a bit of time to watch this:
The way everything pans out is pure sporting theatre and downright improbable; a Hollywood scriptwriter couldn’t have got it any better. Spellbinding.
Finally, a comment: If we ever needed any proof of institutionalised racism in this country then Michelle Boag’s comments in the wake of that incident involving Sir Mad Butcher have just confirmed the fact. Please someone, stick that stupid, ignorant woman in a museum among the pre-historic exhibit. Should the spelling of ‘bogan’ now in fact be revised to ‘boagan’? Although this would probably be an insult to bogans.
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org (Paul M)