“As soon as he was born of course – he’s my son.”

– ‘Old Big ‘Ead’ on being asked by Duncan Hamilton (author of the award-winning biography, ‘Provided You Don’t Kiss Me – 20 Years With Brian Clough’) about when it was he realised his son Nigel – newly-appointed manager at dad’s old club Derby – had talent.


“What right have you got to call anyone an incompetent fool?”

– The late BBC sports presenter David Vine’s question to John McEnroe in an interview after the American’s “you’re the pits of the world” outburst at Wimbledon in 1981. “He told me he’d never talk to me again after that but he did the following day,” Vine said. Can you imagine Gary Lineker or Sue Barker ever being so bold.


“Some of the experiences I had myself when I was fighting left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, which is why I want to take total responsibility for any fighter I promote or manage.”

– Former featherweight world champion Barry McGuigan on his new career, starting with son Shane, who was born around the time his father retired, a barely believable 19 years ago.


“There is no-one you can name within Channel 4 who cares about racing and it would be perfectly satisfied to dump it.”

– John McCririck decries the possible de-scheduling of the ‘Sport of Kings’ from terrestrial television (the BBC is reducing its racing output dramatically from next year) in deference to programmes such as ‘Celebrity Big Brother’; a show old saggy underpants is well familiar with, of course.


“We know what kind of player Robbie Keane is. He needs people around him to pass the ball well. I believe he will be OK.”

– Rantarafa. ‘Around him’ where exactly? On the bench?


“Waterford people need to be patient. We got stick after being beaten by Kilkenny but sure they just got a run on us and we couldn’t respond. It’s not finished but it happened. We will deal with it again. There are one or two more issues to address on it still. The way I see it is quite simple; it either makes you stronger or you fold up and go home. It made me stronger. Remember the two beatings Clare took back in the mid-’90s. They were used as motivation, and the Kilkenny defeat can be as well.”

– Davy Fitzgerald adopts a ‘what doesn’t kill you…’ approach to 2009.


“In Micheal O’Hehir’s day he used to say: ‘he bends, he lifts, he strikes.’ If he was commentating now he would be saying: ‘he bends, he lifts, he balances, he strikes'”.

– Clare referee Flan O’Reilly who wants hurling’s balancing act, perfected by DJ Carey and Tipp’s Eoin Kelly, outlawed.


“I thought it was nice and cold and I wanted to keep them alive because they were looking dead.”

– Phil Brown, manager of free-falling Hull City, on why he gave his half-time dressing-down on the pitch rather than the dressing-room during their Boxing Day mauling by Man City. Not for the cameras’ benefit then?