Saturday, September 23, 2023

Managers say the funniest things!

Graham Fisher in Editorial 4 May 2008


During a frenzied and crucial weekend of football I thought I would take a look at the lighter side of the game on this Sunday morning.

After West Ham were booed off the field recently by their own fans following their 2-1 win over Derby, Derby boss Paul Jewell was asked if his side had ever been booed after winning. He replied, “I don’t know, I’d like the chance to find out!”

This made me chuckle and I decided to look at some other witty quotes made by managers in good times and bad. The job of a football manager is full of stress and pressure, but it is amazing how well some of them manage to keep a sense of humour.

Here’s a selection of my favourites:

“That’s great, tell him he is Pele and get him back on.” Partick Thistle manager John Lambie, when told a concussed striker didn’t know who he was.

“He invented the banana shot. Trouble was, he was trying to shoot straight.” Ron Atkinson on Villa’s Dennis Jackson.

“Only if there is an outbreak of the bubonic plague.” Italian manager Giovanni Trapattoni when asked if he would be selecting Paulo Di Canio.

“He floats like a butterfly and stings like one.” Brian Clough on Trevor Brooking.

“We’re going to start the game at 0-0 and go out and try to get some goals.” Wise words from Bryan Robson.

“Somebody compared him to Billy McNeil, but I don’t remember Billy being crap.’ Tommy Docherty on Lorenzo Amoruso.

“I can’t imagine him jumping for a ball, one of his eye lashes might come out.” George Graham on Tomas Brolin.

“I rang Alex Ferguson and asked if he would swap Collymore for Cole. He thought about it for a few seconds then asked, “How many bags?” John Gregory being cruel about Stan Collymore.

“When he was carried off someone asked me if he was unconscious. I didn’t have a clue, that’s what he’s always like.” Gordon Strachan on Claus Lundekvam.

“He covers every blade of grass, but that’s just because his first touch is crap.” Dave Jones on ‘England International!’ Carlton Palmer.

“Robert said I was picking the wrong team. At the time I was, because he was in it.” Bobby Robson about Laurent Robert.

“I never comment on referees and I’m not going to break the habit of a lifetime for that prat.” Ron Atkinson.

“I wouldn’t say I’m the best manager but I’m in the top one.” Brian Clough.

“To put it in gentleman’s terms, if you’ve been out for a night and you’re looking for a young lady and you pull one, you’ve done what you set out to do. We didn’t look our best today but we’ve pulled. Some weeks the lady is good looking and some weeks they’re not. Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi. She may not have been the best looking lady we ended up taking home but it was still very pleasant and very nice, so thanks very much and let’s have coffee.” Ian Holloway after ‘winning ugly’.

“We are on top at the moment but not because of the club’s financial power. We are in contention for a lot of trophies because of my hard work.” Jose Mourinho, presumably trying to be funny!

“When an Italian says it’s pasta I check under the sauce to make sure. They are innovators of the smokescreen.” Sir Alex Ferguson.

“How can you tell your wife you are just popping out to play a match and then not come back for five days?” Rafa Benitez talking about Test Cricket.

“I think in the future we need to look at our youth department to provide more players for the first team. I think it is important for a club to have a good amount of players that have roots with the club and region.” Arsene Wenger…well, it made me laugh!

‘And I honestly believe we can go all the way to Wembley – unless somebody knocks us out.’ Dave Bassett.

“Anybody who is thinking of applying for the Scotland job in the next eight or nine years should go get themselves checked out by about 15 psychiatrists.”
Martin O’Neill.

“I would buy some bad players, get the sack and then retire to Cornwall” Then Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock when asked what he would do if he was manager of city rivals Sheffield Wednesday.

There are literally thousands of these quotes but I’ve just selected a few for you to enjoy. It is great when we see managers ‘having a laugh’ because with all the money in the game, it all seems very serious most of the time.

I think my favourite quote of all time concerns Sir Bobby Robson and his legendary ability to get names wrong and become confused. An interviewer was talking to Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi. “Do you have a nickname?” He asked.

“No, not really.” Ameobi replied.

“What does Bobby Robson call you?”

“Carlton Cole.”


For more funny quotes, see Steve Amoia’s Football Quotes of the Year (2007) list.


Graham Fisher



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