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Quotes of the decade - part I

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Chris Charles | 10:13 UK time, Wednesday, 23 December 2009

It only seems like yesterday when England were hammering Germany, Jonny Wilkinson was planting 'that' kick between the posts and Roy Keane was launching into a tirade - actually that probably was only yesterday.

To mark the end of the decade, I was handed the task of trawling through the archives to collate the words of wisdom from the great and the good (and the not so great and good) of our sporting folk.

In part one we look at what was being said between 2000-2004, with the rest of the best of the decade appearing next week. So without further ado, off we go - and what more fitting way to begin than with the inimitable Bobby Robson...


2000:
"I'd have given my right arm to be a pianist."
Newcastle boss Bobby Robson when asked what would have been his dream job outside of football.
Sir Bobby RobsonSir Bobby Robson - legend

"He's always in there looking to miss. By that I mean he's always looking to score, but if he misses he's not afraid of going in there again."
Bobby thought Alan Shearer was very hit and miss.

"Maybe in this circumstance, I'll hold my hands up and say 'Naivety' but, at the end of the day, I haven't killed anybody."
Leicester's Stan Collymore after letting off a fire extinguisher at the club's training camp in La Manga, Spain.

"I'm undisputed and there's no disputing that."
Lennox Lewis as he prepared to defend his heavyweight titles won from Evander Holyfield.

"He cannot kick with his left foot, he cannot head a ball, he cannot tackle and he doesn't score many goals. Apart from that he's all right."
George Best's verdict on David Beckham.

"Being thick isn't an affliction if you're a footballer because your brains need to be in your feet. And Beckham treats a football like he does a wife - lovingly, with caresses."
Brian Clough had different ideas.

"After having studied the whole unsavoury incident on 43 occasions, including slow-motion replays, we have decided against implementing a rule that spectators should remain clothed at all times."
A statement from World Indoor Championship Bowls officials after the sport gained its first streaker in the shape of Tracy Seargeant.

"It is completely dead out there. I've been phoning myself up and disguising my voice just for a bit of interest."
QPR manager Gerry Francis on the lack of activity in the transfer window.

"I want your heart. I want to eat your children. I want to rip out his heart and feed it to him."
Mike Tyson's heart-felt plea to Lennox Lewis after beating Lou Savarese.

"At home they have a few drinks and probably the prawn sandwiches, and they don't realise what's going on out on the pitch. I don't think some of the people who come to Old Trafford can spell football, never mind understand it."
Manchester United skipper Roy Keane and the legendary prawn sandwich comment.

"The cannabis may have helped relax them. Even the hooligans enjoyed the party."
Dutch police spokesman on the good behaviour of England fans at the Euro 2000 match against Portugal - in contrast to the alcohol-fuelled riots in Belgium.

"I didn't play many games for Middlesbrough towards the end of the season - or at the start or the middle."
Paul Gascoigne on his move from Middlesbrough to Everton.



2001:
"I don't really like the north. It's always raining. It's very cold and I don't like all those little houses."
West Ham striker Frederic Kanoute on why he preferred the the south of England.

"This can only help England's cause."
Ian Botham on the two-week appointment of Geoff Boycott to coach young Pakistan batsmen.

"I can't really tell you that, but my girlfriend's down here and we went back to the hotel - say no more!"
Paul Hunter, snooker's B&H Masters winner, hinted at why his form improved dramatically during the final.

"Who won?"
A confused Lennox Lewis after being knocked down by Hasim Rahman to lose his heavyweight titles.

"I would ask Donald Duck if I thought he could help me."
European Ryder Cup team skipper Sam Torrance ahead of the tournament, which was eventually postponed because of the 9/11 attacks.

"I ran like a lemon and lemons don't run."
British 400m runner Daniel Caines after a poor performance in Seville.
Goran Ivanisevic after winning WimbledonGoran Ivanisevic after winning Wimbledon
"If some angel comes to me in my sleep and says 'Goran you are going to win Wimbledon but you are not able to touch the racket ever again in your life', I would say OK I will never play tennis again."
Goran Ivanisevic had a vision ahead of his stunning Wimbledon triumph.

"How are England going to win in Germany? It hasn't happened for 100 years. I have no doubts whatsoever that Germany will quite clearly thrash England. They will easily qualify for the World Cup with this match."
Germany's Uli Hoeness ahead of the World Cup qualifier which England won 5-1.

"I know I asked for patience, but I didn't mean that much!"
England coach Sven Goran Eriksson after his side left it until the last minute - courtesy of David Beckham's free-kick - to clinch World Cup qualification with a 2-2 draw against Greece.



2002:
"They can't be monks - we don't want them to be monks, we want them to be football players because a monk doesn't play football at this level."
Different year, same man imparting his words of wisdom. Bobby Robson on the disciplinary problems at Newcastle.

"I didn't have time to brush my teeth or have a shave - and for the first couple of frames I didn't have any underpants on."
Snooker player Graeme Dott, who missed the start of his China Open match against Welshman Darren Morgan when he overslept.

"I may be older than Rubens, but I will never be as ugly."
Eddie Irvine's response after Rubens Barrichello labelled him 'old' for not moving out of the way during the San Marino Grand Prix.

"I would buy some bad players, get the sack and then retire to Cornwall."
Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock when asked what he would do if he were manager of rivals Wednesday.

"I just led them to the water - and they drank copiously."
Captain Sam Torrance played down his own contribution towards Europe's thrilling Ryder Cup victory at The Belfry.

"I hope I don't come across as bitter and twisted, but that man (Mick McCarthy) can rot in hell for all I care."
Roy Keane, not bitter and twisted following his acrimonious World Cup exit.

"I'd rather buy a Bob the Builder CD for my two-year-old son."
Jason McAteer when asked if he would buy Keane's controversial autobiography.
Ronaldo celebrates World Cup final goal
Ronaldo celebrates World Cup final goal
"I'm sure sex wouldn't be as rewarding as winning the World Cup. It's not that sex isn't good but the World Cup is every four years and sex is not."
The original Ronaldo after helping Brazil to victory with his two goals in the final.

"It was very sweet to see Argentina go out. It was just a shame that we couldn't have knocked them out directly ourselves. If we see them on their coach on the way home, we will give them a wave!"
Teddy Sheringham refused to get too upset by Argentina's early exit from the World Cup.

"Expectations are very high. Even when I sneeze people ask why I sneeze."
Sachin Tendulkar on the pressure of being an idol.

"If I had a kebab shop, I wouldn't let them run it."
Millwall chairman Theo Paphitis after the Football League lost their case against the doomed ITV Digital network.



2003:
"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."
QPR boss Ian Holloway came up with the quote of the century to describe his team's lacklustre performance against Chesterfield.

"It was only a matter of time before they got fit and after that it's like riding a bike - or making love to a beautiful woman - you never forget."
Blackburn manager Graeme Souness did his best Swiss Toni impression when talking about the form of strikers Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke.

"We're in a dog-fight, so the fight in the dog will get us through - and we'll fight."
Sir Bobby Robson after Newcastle suffered a third successive defeat.

"It's over, forget about it, it's gone. We've enjoyed the ride, brilliant. We've paid the money, got the ride, got off the tramcar - let's go again."
Sir Bobby on his side's Champions League exit.

"I raced round the store and finally found her in the fizzy drinks aisle. I told her Jonny had got the winning kick. She just came over to me, flung her arms around me and burst into tears."
Tesco vegetable counter assistant Marie Haddon, who broke the news to Jonny Wilkinson's mother, Philippa, that her son had won the World Cup for England.

"I've had a text from granny - she's going to throw a party for you!"
What Prince Harry told England star Mike Tindall after they had won the Rugby World Cup.
Jonny Wilkinson and Martin JohnsonThe heroes of 2003

"I went to the bank the other day and got a standing ovation."
Jason Leonard on how life changed after winning the Cup.

"I knew it wasn't going to be our day when I arrived at Links Park and found that we had a woman running the line. She should be at home making the tea or the dinner for her man who comes in after he has been to the football."
Albion boss Peter Hetherston on lineswoman Morag Pirie after his side lost to Montrose.

"It's like watching God."
Alan McManus bowed down to Ronnie O'Sullivan after seeing him compile another 147 break at The Crucible.

"It was a freakish incident. If I tried it 100 or a million times it couldn't happen again. If I could I would have carried on playing!"
Sir Alex Ferguson on the flying boot that hit David Beckham in the face.



2004:
"The man is United - cut him and he bleeds red."
Alan Brazil's priceless evaluation of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Gary Lineker: "So Gordon, if you were English, what formation would you play?"
Gordon Strachan: "If I was English I'd top myself!"
Pundit Strachan showed just why the BBC hired him for Euro 2004.

"We were prepared to fight George Foreman - and we got George Formby!"
Bradford Bulls coach Brian Noble after his side crushed a St Helens side missing 11 first-team regulars.

"Don't make me laugh! It's the WBF belt - I heard they are giving them away with five litres of petrol down at Texaco."
Herbie Hide's reaction to the news that Audley Harrison had won the world WBF heavyweight title.

"At half-time I walked off and said to Derek Fazackerley: 'Where's the nearest job centre?"
Manchester City boss Kevin Keegan after watching his side go 3-0 down with 10 men against Spurs in the FA Cup. City came back to win 4-3.

"Every dog has its day - and today is woof day! Today I just want to bark."
Ian Holloway on his side's promotion-winning victory at Sheffield Wednesday.

"Hello my sharks, welcome to the funeral."
Claudio Ranieri to the press before Chelsea's Champions League semi-final second leg with Monaco.
Michael Schumacher Schumacher in his Ferrari heyday
"Why are you always in red? Is it your lucky colour?"
Local journalist to Ferrari's Michael Schumacher before the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix.

"I like visiting Silverstone - it's a reminder of what racing was like in the 1950s."
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone had a dig at Silverstone - just for a change.

"I threw the kitchen sink at him but he went to the bathroom and threw back the tub!"
Beaten Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick on his conqueror Roger Federer.

"He's the only man I know who could start an argument with himself."
Last word to Sir Bobby Robson - and his assessment of Craig Bellamy.

If you want to contribute any quotes of your own - or if you hear any decent quotes/chants/stadium announcements over the festive period - add them on the bottom or use the postform. Merry Christmas!



Festive offerings from the BBC on the end of the sporting year/decade:

5 live:
23 December: 'The Sporting Decade' - Mark Pougatch and a panel of experts debate the greatest sporting achievement of the decade.

Christmas Eve: 8.00pm-10.00pm: Matt Dawson reviews the year of sport.
Christmas Day: 7.00pm-8.00pm: Phil Tufnell looks back at England's Ashes-winning summer.

World Service:
Between Christmas Eve evening and the early hours of Boxing Day, Lee James looks back on 2009 and ahead to 2010 in a number of pre-recorded programmes.
The WS Sports Review of the Year goes out during Sportsworld on 27 December.


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