It has been another busy year of sporting action and once again the key personalities have been in the news as much for the wrong as the right reasons – as our round-up of the best quotations shows.
ENGLAND’S RUGBY WORLD CUP FIASCO
“Rugby player drinks beer, shocker.”
England manager Martin Johnson initially plays down the infamous night out enjoyed by some of his players in Queenstown and the subsequent media furore.
“What they do when they’re training is far more dangerous.”
Johnson defends a decision to let his players go bungee-jumping.
“I’m really sorry. It was a silly thing to do.”
England centre Manu Tuilagi after being given a police warning and a £3,000 RFU fine for jumping off a ferry in Auckland.
“I felt like I got over the Masters pretty quickly.”
Rory McIlroy puts it mildly after bouncing back from a spectacular collapse at the Masters in April to win the US Open at Congressional in June by eight shots in a tournament record score.
“People are concerned about whether or not I had one pint too many. I mean, get a life – it’s sport.”
Darren Clarke hits back at people suggesting he overdid the celebrations after winning the Open championship – his first major title at the age of 42 – at Sandwich.
“Not many sides have come out here and won, certainly not many as emphatically as we did in the end.”
Captain Andrew Strauss after England’s Ashes win.
“The footballing gods were with us today. Eight years ago they couldn’t pay the electric bill and now they’ve won a £90million game.”
Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers after winning promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs.
“That doesn’t matter on a night like this!”
Man of the match Rob Burrow dismisses his frustrations at life as a substitute after coming off the bench to inspire Leeds Rhinos to Super League Grand Final victory over St Helens.
“I was more excited about hitting a nine-darter in the final than winning the title itself, but at least I can pay my tax bill now – they want £108,000!”
Adrian Lewis, who recorded a nine-dart finish on his way to a 7-5 win over Gary Anderson in the PDC World Championship darts final, is pleased to get the Inland Revenue off his back.
“I thank you for your trust and confidence from the bottom of my heart.”
Sepp Blatter after winning a fourth term as FIFA president unopposed.
“We need to go back to the drawing board and work our backsides off.”
Stand-in captain Michael Clarke admits Australia have ground to make up after their Ashes loss.
“In my time as a manager it is the best team we have faced. No-one has given us a hiding like that.”
Sir Alex Ferguson after Manchester United’s 3-1 loss to Barcelona in the Champions League final.
“The fat lady has finished singing and I do not like the tune.”
Blackpool manager Ian Holloway faces relegation with customary good humour.
“Of course you feel humiliated when you concede eight goals. It was a terrible day.”
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger reflects on an 8-2 hammering by Manchester United.
“It’s the worst result in my history.”
Red Devils boss Ferguson tastes some of his own medicine after a 6-1 derby thrashing by Manchester City.
“I couldn’t push off the right foot to throw the right hand.”
David Haye reveals he broke his toe during training for his failed world heavyweight unification fight against Wladimir Klitschko.
“Looking for tears? Not going to happen. I’m okay.”
Usain Bolt tries to keep his head up after his controversial disqualification from the World Championship 100m.
“Mine reared up and we couldn’t get him back, it was like he was stuck to the ground. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Trainer Jonjo O’Neill after two horses were accidentally electrocuted in the paddock at Newbury.
“He is keen to play in the EPL and I think that goes in our favour.”
Anuradha Desai, chairperson of Blackburn owners Venky’s, claims signing Brazil star Ronaldinho is a realistic proposition.
“They can offer him free chicken for life and we can’t compete with that.”
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp plays down his chances of signing David Beckham, suggesting Blackburn are also interested.
“This is the target for every footballer – to try to play for one of the top clubs in the world and I can do it now.”
Fernando Torres has a dig at Liverpool after his shock £50million move to Chelsea.
“Imagine the worst – we lose Fabregas and Nasri. You can’t then pretend you are a big club. A big club holds on to big players.”
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger in June – before losing Fabregas and Nasri.
“It’s like a closing-down sale at an electrical shop and Hull have got a 42-inch TV for £100.”
Wakefield coach John Kear bemoans the sale of Sam Obst to Hull, one of three sanctioned while the Super League club was in administration.
“All I can do is promise what I did when I signed for the club in 1977 – they will get 100 per cent effort from Kenny Dalglish and that is the way I’ll go about it.”
Kenny Dalglish vows to give everything on returning to the Liverpool manager’s hotseat after a 20-year gap.
“It’s a wee bit like taking the microphone from Frank Sinatra.”
Ally McCoist on taking over from Walter Smith.
“Every time I looked up at the pavilion during Sri Lanka’s second innings, I just saw this big broken window and I felt stupid.”
England’s Matt Prior admits embarrassment at breaking a Lord’s dressing-room window after being run out by Sri Lanka.
“I got caught up in the heat of the moment of celebrating a try at Wembley.”
Sam Tomkins, the golden boy of British rugby league, apologises after his abusive gesture to Leeds fans overshadows Wigan’s Challenge Cup win.
“I want to apologise to the managers because I actually dived.”
Arsenal’s Theo Walcott admits to trying to win a penalty dishonestly during his side’s FA Cup draw against Leeds United.
SHOULDN’T HAVE SAID
“Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her.”
An apparent off-air comment from Sky Sports anchor Richard Keys about female assistant referee Sian Massey leads to a row that dominates front pages and costs him and pundit Andy Gray their jobs.
“I would deny it. There is no racism. Maybe one of the players has a word or a gesture which is not the correct one, but the one who is affected by that, he should say that ‘this is a game’.”
In comments he later apologised for, FIFA president Sepp Blatter suggests racism, if it exists at all in football, should be settled by a post-match handshake between players.
“If I have my way he will be out. He’s finished with me.”
A long saga begins as Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini accuses Carlos Tevez of refusing to play against Bayern Munich.
“I was going to call him a sewer rat but that might be insulting to sewer rats.”
QPR manager Neil Warnock launches an astonishing attack on Blackburn’s El Hadji Diouf, who appeared to taunt Jamie Mackie while he lay on the pitch with a broken leg during an FA Cup tie.
“In the long run, he’ll probably do good for snooker, but not for my generation. It’s time to let someone else have a go.”
Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen calls on snooker chief Barry Hearn to resign.
“Henry always had a smile for me; a warm and embracing smile. It was always a pleasure being in Henry’s company. I will miss my old friend. He was a great fighter and a gentleman.”
Muhammad Ali on British boxing legend Sir Henry Cooper, who died in May.
“He was Tiger Woods before Tiger Woods. He had it all.”
Tony Jacklin hails the great Seve Ballesteros, who died at the age of 54.
“Dean was not unlike Bobby Moore – always on the ball. At 36 he was no age, no age at all. Dean Richards, a Bradford lad at heart.”
Bradford City joint-chairman Mark Lawn after the shock death of former Bradford, Wolves, Tottenham and Southampton defender Dean Richards.
“Every time you think of the Grand National, you think of Ginger. He was the National, to be honest.”
Former jockey Mick Fitzgerald on Ginger McCain, legendary trainer of Grand National winners Red Rum and Amberleigh House.
“He will always remain a giant in the transformation of South African sport.”
Former South Africa cricket chief Dr Ali Bacher on Basil D’Oliveira, hero of the apartheid era, who played Test cricket for England because of a lack of opportunities for non-whites in his native country.
“He was one of the best that I ever played with. His intelligence was unique.”
One Brazil legend on another – Zico remembers Socrates, who also played for Garforth Town.
“Everybody loved Gary Speed. He was such a good-looking guy, he had everything. Why has this happened?”
Robbie Savage on the death of his former international team-mate Gary Speed, the Wales manager and former Leeds United 1992 Championship-winning midfielder.