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Football Quotations by Phil Shaw

Release date: 26th February, 2008
Publisher: Ebury Press

List Price: £9.99
Our Price: £6.99
You Save: £3 (30%)
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"I always take my notebook into the toilet with me to sketch out some match situations" said Rangers manager Dick Advocaat back in 2000. We all knew what he meant and for those whose favourite browsing (or sketching) time is generally reserved for the lavatory, Phil Shaw's latest collection of football quotes is the ideal accompaniment.

Shaw and the late Peter Ball produced the first collection back in 1984, a book which still sits, slightly dog-eared, on a nearby bookcase. While the prose contained within it was very amusing, the caricatures of men such as Shankly, Busby, Keegan and Revie left a little to be desired. Thankfully, that has been rectified in this, the eighth compilation, adorned with a proper photo of Shanks, Mourinho and Cantona.

The latest version is also considerably larger than the first, running to more than 550 pages, so there is plenty of time to enjoy dipping in and trying to remember either the amusing ones:

REPORTER: What areas did you think Middlesbrough were superior in?
STRACHAN: That big grassy one out there for a start.

or those one liners that put football into context, as former Derby manager Arthur Cox did when telling a reporter that "You are under pressure in war zones, not in football."

Naturally enough, the book is littered with hurtful comments, including Ruud Gullit's aside regarding the last line of defence: "A goalkeeper is a goalkeeper because he can't play football." These views are mixed with lucid observations such as those made by Norwich director Delia Smith who is quoted as saying, "I don't really believe that foreign billionaires get involved because of their love of English football." She always talks a great deal of sense, our Delia, doesn't she?

Readers who wonder just how some ex-players make it as pundits when others don't will be able to prove their point when they contrast comments such as the one made by Ian Wright, "The official today was a muppet", with the slightly more diplomatic one made by Rick Holden: "In fairness, the referee had a complete cerebral failure." Why isn't Holden on TV we wonder?

While some managers and players are inclined to wax lyrical on occasion, the funniest lines are the unintentional one-liners.

Everyone can have a laugh with football's favourite uncle, Jimmy Armfield, when he said, "In technical terms, that's what I call a dinky-do" and we think we know what Mark Lawrenson meant when he came out with: "Most players would give their right arm for Jason Wilcox's left foot."

Terry Butcher's audible observation was quite possibly regretted afterwards: "And Vegard Heggem, my word, he must have a Honda down his shorts" and was Jamie Carragher being ironic when he revealed: "I've sold my wedding pictures to The Kop magazine for a pound!"?

Much the same could be asked of Gerry Francis when he announced that: "What I said to them at half-time would be unprintable on radio." And surely Sven was having a laugh when he mused and shook his head in front of a group of journalists: "You're such nice people," he said, "Sometimes I wonder who writes all the articles."

There are many stand-out favourites, but the "What a goal! One for the puritans", belted out
by a Capital Gold commentator surely takes the biscuit. What a book. One for the lavatory.


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