“It’s not for me with just 18 caps under my belt to say: ‘No. B****cks. You’re not coming back in’. You might say it could help the camp but it might also hinder the camp. If he came back into the camp, he’d be a good player to have and he might get us that extra step to the World Cup, which we may need. But you tell someone who’s been sitting in the wings waiting for their chance that they’re not going to the World Cup because he’s come back in late doors, you might have a few players upset by it, especially at this stage of the campaign. That’s fair enough.”
– Transfer-seeking Stephen Hunt suggests his namesake Mr Ireland mightn’t exactly be welcomed back with open arms.
“It was the biggest shock I ever got hurling. I took a lot of stick for it. You know, I have the utmost respect for Justin, always had, always will. If I could turn back the clock, of course I’d shake his hand. Because what I was feeling that day had nothing to do with him. Nothing. I was walking off disgusted with myself, disgusted with my performance. I had played cat. And I didn’t think I deserved to be shaking hands with the manager. I will bring that to my grave. I said it afterwards to a few of the lads on the bus. No way would I deliberately want to disrespect him like that. Then Justin went and the picture was used everywhere. For maybe three weeks after that, every time I opened the paper it seemed to be there. It was almost as if Dan Shanahan not shaking his hand became the cause of everything. But I can tell you now Dan Shanahan had nothing to do with getting rid of Justin.”
– Dan Shanahan finally gives his side of the story in an excellent and enlightening pre-match piece with the Irish Indo’s Vincent Hogan.
“I told him to stand in front of the goal!”
– Fabio Capello on how he’s turned Wayne Rooney into an England goal machine (memo to Fergie: in off the left). No wonder he’s on £5m a year.
“When Sir Alex Ferguson picked up his papers yesterday morning and saw Cristiano Ronaldo deep in conversation with the celebrity airhead Paris Hilton (should that be shallow in conversation, rather than deep?) I’ll bet the first thought that flashed through his mind was, ‘Thank God I sold him.'”
– Daily Mail columnist Des Kelly on the £80m deal.