Pearls of wisdom from some soccer greats…

Something to while away the dark hours between World Cup matches.

“I definitely want Brooklyn to be christened, but I don’t know into what religion yet.”
David Beckham

“I wouldn’t be bothered if we lost every game as long as we won the league.”
Mark Viduka

“Alex Ferguson is the best manager I’ve ever had at this level. Well, he’s the only manager I’ve actually had at this level. But he’s the best.”
David Beckham

Neville Southall, the scruffiest goalkeeper ever

“If you don’t believe you can win, there is no point in getting out of bed at the end of the day.”
Neville Southall

“I’ve had 14 bookings this season – 8 of which were my fault, but 7 of which were disputable.”
Paul Gascoigne

“I’ve never wanted to leave. I’m here for the rest of my life, and hopefully after that as well.”
Alan Shearer

“I’d like to play for an Italian club, like Barcelona.”
Mark Draper

Peter Shilton and the hand of God, World Cup 1986

“You’ve got to believe that you’re going to win, and I believe we’ll win the World Cup until the final whistle blows and we’re knocked out.”
Peter Shilton

“I faxed a transfer request to the club at the beginning of the week, but let me state that I don’t want to leave Leicester ”
Stan Collymore

“I was watching the Blackburn game on TV on Sunday when it flashed on the screen that George (Ndah) had scored in the first minute at Birmingham. My first reaction was to ring him up. Then I remembered he was out there playing.”
Ade Akinbiyi

Ian Wright, not being harsh about Sven Goran Erikkson

“Without being too harsh on David Beckham, he cost us the match.”
Ian Wright

“I’m as happy as I can be – but I have been happier.”
Ugo Ehiogu

“Leeds is a great club and it’s been my home for years, even though I live in Middlesbrough.”
Jonathan Woodgate

“I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel.”
Stuart Pearce

“I couldn’t settle in Italy – it was like living in a foreign country.”
Ian Rush

“Germany are a very difficult team to play…they had eleven internationals out there today.”
Steve Lomas

BarryVenison, clearly not following his own boot and sock rules...

“I always used to put my right boot on first, and then obviously my right sock.”
Barry Venison

“The Brazilians were South American, and the Ukrainians will be more European.”
Phil Neville

Johnny Giles, the brains behind the terrifying Leeds United team of the early 70s, and one of the best Irish players ever...

“I’d rather play in front of a full house than an empty crowd.”
Johnny Giles

“Sometimes in football you have to score goals.”
Thierry Henry

And a couple of commentators’ pearls…

Big Ron in rare thoughtful pose...

“Argentina are the second-best team in the world, and there’s no higher praise than that.” Ron Atkinson

Mick McCarthy shows the way ...

‘No regrets, none at all. My only regret is that we went out on penalties. That’s my only regret but no, no regrets.” Mick McCarthy

31 thoughts on “Pearls of wisdom from some soccer greats…

  1. Hi Ken

    Thanks for sharing these! You’ve selected some stunning pearls of wisdom and they are all funny, but this one takes the biscuit! “I’ve never wanted to leave. I’m here for the rest of my life, and hopefully after that as well.”
    Alan Shearer
    I wonder which club he was talking about?

    1. Good idea, Nik – and maybe any soccer fans in the class can hunt around on the net to find something similar from players from their own country, that they can translate.

  2. Haha well they were certainly more entertaining to read than the drab IVC/Portugal game I just sat through, shame that post ends with a big cheat, mind 🙂

    1. Wasn’t it dreadful?? At least New Zealand and Slovakia ran around a bit (or they seemed to before I fell asleep).

  3. Hi Ken!
    Wow – I laughed so much! Such a funny post!
    There is a football player in Greece called Vamvakoulas (Marisa surely knows him!). He used to be one of the really famous ones; he was also well-known for his own pearls of wisdom. Can I share them?
    – A ref once told him in an international game: “You! Foul!” And Vamvakoulas (whose English is not that great) said, pointing to himself: “You foul? Because?”
    – There was a problem in the Greek Football Association, so he said: “Don’t worry.What we need to do is organise a three-member-committee consisting of five people.”
    – On a trip to England once, he heard some English children walking past him and told another player: “Wow, these English kids.They’re so young and speak English perfectly!”
    He has admitted to saying these things.
    The first and second ones I heard him say on television.Really funny!
    Thanks for a great and really funny post, Ken!

    1. Thanks for getting the ball rolling with other quotes – I was sure it wasn’t only UK-based players who say things like this.

  4. These are great, Ken. Thanks! I needed a laugh!

    I particularly enjoyed Stuart Pearce being able to see the carrot at the end of the tunnel! 🙂

    1. I actually think ‘carrot at the end of the tunnel’ is quite an extraordinary image – well done, young Stuart!

  5. Excellent stuff, Ken – very funny, & thanks for sharing!

    My paternal grandmother was a bit of a character and I remember Stuart Pearce’s “carrot at the end of the tunnel” line being one of her oft quoted pearls of wisdom, as well…

    Sue 🙂

  6. Probably more kinaesthetic learners by the sounds of it 😉

    Neville Southall was and still is one of my all time football heroes – maybe Robert Green should have followed suit and sat against the goal post at half-time too!

    1. Neville Southall – great keeper, but what a scruff-bag. Someone once said he started every game looking like he’d just finished the last one.

      I’ll look for a pic to prove it. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Michelle – I wonder if any other countries have commentators quite as eccentric as Murray Walker.

      I remember Clive James once writing in The Observer that MW always sounded like he was commentating with his trousers on fire.

      btw. I love your blog and have added it to my blogroll.

      1. The wonderful thing about Murray Walker was that he was a passionate fan of his sport and that shone through in his commentary. Quite often the nonsense he spoke seemed right during the race, but only looked strange in the cold light of day afterwards. John Motson comes to mind as a similar type in the football world.

        Sadly in Germany, most sports commentators are about as dramatic as a Phd abstract. Lots of kids in my school watch the international matches on British channels because they find the commentary more exciting.

    1. I defy you to find a photo of Neville Southall where he isn’t looking like he just got up. Great ‘keeper, though.

  7. Ken!

    What a great post! I love the pictures you put up of the players! Their facial expressions and the quotes are priceless! It really personalizes these players for me!

  8. Can’t believe you have no quotes from (IMO) the master of the gaffe, Kevin Keegan!

    Just done some research and found a few sites dedicated to collecting the permed-one’s words of wisdom. Here’s a selection:

    “He’s using his strength. And that is his strength – his strength.”

    “Chile have three options – they could win or they could lose.”

    “Nicolas Anelka left Arsenal for £23million and they built a training ground on him.”

    More to be found here:

    1. Great site, Mike… but I actually think this quote is rather profound: “I don’t think there’s anyone bigger or smaller than Maradona.”


  9. Wonderful quotes, Ken. And photos! Really cheered me up in the middle of my parents’ meetings, one of whom has just phoned to apologise for standing me up:

    Me: Hello?
    Mother Number 342: Hola. Soy Juan, la madre de Maria.

    I guess she was nervous.

    The famous David Coleman quote – or was it Rod Pickering? – that nearly everybody remembers is, “Juantorena opens his legs and shows his class”.

    My favourite Brian Johnson quote is, “The batsman’s Holding the bowler’s Willey”.


  10. The great Jimmy Greaves provided TV viewers in the Midlands with an almost daily supply of such football wisdom, including my favourite: “Football tactics are rapidly becoming as complicated as the chemical formula for splitting the atom.”

    Equally insightful was Gary Lineker’s explanation of the purpose of football: “Soccer is a game for 22 people that run around, play the ball, and one referee who makes a slew of mistakes, and in the end Germany always wins.”

    Thanks for sharing these great quotes with us.

    1. Ah, Jimmy Greaves – very funny man, very sad spectacle. Greatest player of his generation, but ate all the pies when he retired…

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