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Alex Ferguson: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Alex Ferguson waxes effusive on  Jose Mourinho.

Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United F.C.

Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United F.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What he said:

“He’s good looking, he’s got that sort of George Clooney bit in his hair now. But I think he is a great example, he can speak five languages or whatever he can.”

Former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson showers praise on current Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in an interview to Clare Balding for a BT Sport documentary to be broadcast on Boxing Day.

Ferguson added:

“He goes and becomes an interpreter for Bobby Robson, follows him to Barcelona, works under Louis Van Gaal; he is learning all the time.He [Mourinho] has got a determination, he wants to be a coach.He never played the game, by the way – you tell me how many presidents would give a manager a job who has never played the game? None. But he has done it.
Then he goes and manages a small team in Portugal, then goes to Porto and wins the league, wins the Uefa Cup, wins the European Cup, goes to Chelsea and wins the league. Goes to Inter Milan. That is an example to anyone who wants to do well, you shouldn’t let the barriers get in your way if you want to.”

Português: O treinador de futebol português Jo...

Português: O treinador de futebol português José Mourinho. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blues coach Mourinho reciprocated the Scot’s approval with similar acclaim (on the same show).

The Portuguese said that he always ordered the same bottle of wine whenever United played them at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho said:

“It was Chelsea Football Club catering that bought the wine, and obviously the wine was not the top quality that the boss deserves. It was quite funny but disappointing. 

So the next time we play against each other, I called a friend and I told him, the best I want the best. 

And from that moment always the same bottle when I play against the boss.”

He added:

“Everything, his talent, the time he put his talent at the service of Manchester United and football in general. The passion that he has put in to everything, and after that in private moments, obviously, a good friend, a good person, a fantastic sense of humour. I like him very, very much. Now and again I’ve had questions to put to him and the way he has answered to me was always magnificent and a great support.”

What Ferguson really meant:

“He’s better looking than me plus he can travel all over Europe with his facility for picking up new languages. Imagine he can coach in five different tongues and claim he’s the ‘Chosen One’ in each of them too.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“He (Mourinho) would make a great travelling salesman, wouldn’t he?”

Gary Neville: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Gary Neville pub-crawls back and froth from The Dog and Duck to The Red Lion.

What he said:

“It’s the Dog and Duck versus The Red Lion.”

Former Manchester United player and skipper Gary Neville likens the upcoming match-up between Liverpool and Manchester United to a game between two pub sides.

Neville was commenting on United’s poor show against Southampton where they won 2-1 and had them sitting pretty at third spot in the English Premier League standings on the back of five consecutive wins.

Neville said:

“United got away with murder tonight. They look shot of confidence. United will be delighted to sit third and think they will get better.”

Louis van Gaal

Louis van Gaal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

United manager Louis Van Gaal warned Neville to “pay attention to his words”.

The Dutchman said:

“He can say everything because he is an ex-legend. But as an ex-legend … or as a legend, you have to know what you are saying. You can interpret that [as you like]. It’s not difficult. He has to pay attention to his words.”

Van Gaal singled out fellow countryman Robin Van Persie for praise following his brace against Southampton but conceded that United were not up to par.

Van Gaal said:

“He was one of the three players on the pitch of Manchester United who were good or maybe very good. He had a great influence on the result. Very positive.

Until now it was his best performance. I hope but I have to say I was very pleased with his performance and also his goals. His second was not so easy because the ball was coming towards his right foot and he connected with his left. A nice touch. Normally you have six, seven, eight players who are good. But today there were too many not good, I believe.”

Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What Neville really meant:

 “If that’s the level of play Liverpool and United are going to bring to the table, I’d be better off catching up with some Sunday League game instead or playing in one myself.”

What he definitely didn’t:

 “You do know that the Dog and Duck and The Red Lion are two of my favourite sports bars, right? That’s where we should watch Sunday soccer, not in some bloody sanitised studio. Soak up the atmosphere, eh?”


Dave Whelan: What he said

Dave Whelan shouts Chinese whispers.

What he said:

“When I was growing up we used to call the Chinese ‘chingalings’. We weren’t being disrespected [sic]. We used to say: ‘We’re going to eat in chingalings.’ The Chinese weren’t offended by that. That was the name everyone in Wigan called it [the first Chinese cafe in Wigan].”

Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan puts his other foot in his mouth with his comments regarding the Chinese community in England.

It was only last month that Whelan told the Guardian that “Jewish people chase money more than everybody else”.

The resulting storm saw the club lose two of its sponsors, Premier Range and Ipro.

Whelan defended his remarks thus:

“It’s telling the truth. Jewish people love money, English people love money; we all love money.”

Whelan was then defending his hiring of Malky Mackay as Wigan’s manager.

Mackay was under investigation by the Football Association for alleged racism and anti-Semitism over his email and text exchanges while in charge of Cardiff City.

One of Mackay’s texts or emails described Cardiff City owner, the Malaysian Vincent Tan, as a chink.

Another referred to the Jewish football agent, Phil Smith, as “a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers.”

Whelan also said:

“If any Englishman said he has never called a Chinaman a chink he is lying. There is nothing bad about doing that. It is like calling the British Brits, or the Irish paddies.”

Simon Johnson, chief executive at the Jewish Leadership Council, said:

“Unfortunately Mr Mackay and now Mr Whelan have referred to some of the worst old-fashioned tropes which have been used in the past as the basis of anti-Semitism and stereotyping of Jewish people. Mackay used offensive language to insult a fellow participant in football using a tawdry racial stereotype.”

Wong, director of the Manchester Chinese Centre, said:

“I remember at school in the 70s a skinhead kicking me, calling me ‘chinky, chinky,’. It has stopped now; things have changed for the better. We have legal protection against racism and that is important; it is not political correctness. As a football manager, this man should not have said it.”

The British Chinese Project termed Whelan’s latest comments highly offensive.

A statement read:

“Once again, Mr Whelan, rather distressingly, believes he can speak on behalf of Chinese people. His comments are extremely unhelpful in our fight to end discrimination and racism against Chinese people in the UK. Once more, he is using a public platform to tell a wide audience what Chinese people find offensive.

Contrary to what Mr Whelan may believe, the vast majority of our community deem the terms ‘chink’ and ‘chingaling’ highly offensive. For many in the Chinese community these words hold deep emotional resonance, as they are often used in conjunction with racial violence, harassment and hate crimes.

Therefore, to say that ‘there is nothing wrong’ with using such terms or that Chinese people ‘aren’t offended’ by their use, demonstrates a dangerous level of ignorance. We have noticed that Mr Whelan has truly gone out of his way to apologise to the Jewish community, it is a shame that the same level of apology hasn’t been extended to the Chinese community. We can assure him that we are just as angry and just as offended as the Jewish community.”

Wigan, meanwhile, responded on-line saying:

“Wigan Athletic are reminding supporters that it is illegal to swear or use racist, homophobic or sexist language. The club has a zero tolerance on this and any supporter found to be using inappropriate language runs the risk of being ejected from the match.”

Emmanuel Petit: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Emmanuel Petit calls for a Franco-German union (well, almost).

What he said:

“France is hypocritical and cowardly. Sometimes I think that if we’d been overrun by the Germans, we’d be better run.”

Former France midfielder Emmanuel Petit is disgusted with the way the French national press have consistently treated his former team-mate Thierry Henry. Henry recently announced that he will be quitting the New York Red Bulls after four and a half years. The French forward is mulling retiring from the game. He is 37.

Petit said:

“In England, they’ve built a statue of Thierry. That means a lot. He is revered there. This bad image [in the French press] of Thierry Henry, it annoys me. What can we reproach Henry for? His handball against Ireland? He helped France qualify for the World Cup in South Africa. He has done nothing.”

He added:

“Wayne Rooney is not hated in England, even though he was not always right in his boots on the field and off. Thierry Henry never had a bad move on the pitch and there were no stories in his private life.

He’s not hated but he’s certainly not loved. He got screwed by the French press after his handball and has since not spoken to the French media.

In France, he has no collusion with the press, so what? Perhaps because he was not smiling when he scored for Les Bleus! Well, that’s what I hate in this country.

I have great difficulty with the French, I have never seen such arrogant, smug, lying and hypocritical people.”

Arsène Wenger, French football manager.

Arsène Wenger, French football manager. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said:

“He(Henry) is an Arsenal man. The best moment certainly of his life and of his career has been experienced here. Certainly one day he will come back here. In what role I don’t know, that is what he has to think about: what direction he wants to give to his next life.”

He added:

“Thierry has all the qualities because he is intelligent, committed, he loves the game. He just has to think, ‘Do I want to sacrifice all the rest of my life to be involved in that job?’

Yes [he can still do a job as a player], but 37 today in the Premier League … I don’t think he wants to do that again.

Thierry has given a lot, he has come out [of the Premier League] with an image that is fantastic. I am not sure that he wants to play again in the Premier League.

I don’t think he wants to carry on. That is a virtual world.”

What Petit really meant:

“Why couldn’t the French press be like the Argentines and simply term the handball incident the ‘Hand of God’ or, at least, the ‘Hand of Henry’? Why be critical of your best player and label him a cheat? It’s a national disgrace.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’ve got my history wrong. The French were overrun—twice. That’s why the French press is so rabid towards fellow Frenchmen. They’re Deutsch in disguise.”

Mario Balotelli: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Mario Balotelli hashes it up on Instagram.

What he said:

“Not all Mexicans have a moustache, not all black people jump high and not all Jewish people love money.”

Irreverent Italian striker Mario Balotelli is in the news again for all the wrong reasons.

The Liverpool forward stirred up some soup for himself with a controversial post on Instagram.

Balotelli was quick to delete his post in the face of a barrage of on-line and offline criticism.

And was even quicker to attempt damage control.

His first tweeted response:

He followed it with:

Anti-discrimination group Kick It Out has forwarded the offending post to the Football Association. FA has set a deadline of 18:00 GMT Friday the 12th for the Italian to provide a cogent defence for his anti-Semitic remark.

Speaking to BBC, a Liverpool spokesman said:

“We are aware of the posting which has since been promptly deleted by the player. We will be speaking to the player about the issue.”

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said:

“I don’t know hardly anything about it, I have been busy getting the team ready for this game.

I will probably find out more about it.”

Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Simon Johnson, a former FA executive, said:

“We abhor all forms of racism, wherever it is found. We call upon the FA to investigate this offensive social media post and to take action if appropriate if we are to succeed in kicking racism out of football.”

Sports media trainer Alec Wilkinson added his bit:

“There are those that are famous, earn lots of money, with a sky-high profile, who think ‘What can you teach me? I can say what I like, it won’t damage me. We spend a lot of time explaining to them it’s good for them to take the pressure off themselves, to understand how the media works, how you can offend people.”

What Balotelli really meant:

“You know something, I suddenly realized that stereotypes, racial or not, are funny only until they’re not. Now the joke’s on Finally Mario.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’m going to grow a moustache, play basketball instead and take a pay cut.”

Jose Mourinho: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Jose Mourinho throws a fit.

English: José Mourinho

English: José Mourinho (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What he said:

“Get a masters and become a doctor before you talk about my players’ fitness.”

Spanish midfielder and Chelsea stalwart Cesc Fabregas is displeased with the criticism from his countryman Sergio Ramos for not turning up for national duty. Fabregas missed two games for Spain—out with a hamstring injury.

Ramos, however,  is no a paragon of virtue and holds the record for the most number of red cards by a Real Madrid player. He once left a match early to catch a bullfight.

Fabregas said:

“Yes I felt that I was the one being alluded to and I already told Sergio what I thought.It p—– you off when your commitment is questioned, of course it p—– you off. There have been a lot of matches and training camps I have turned up for without playing.I have made 94 appearances for Spain and for nine years I have always come, always. And with a smile from ear to ear.I said to Ramos he can call me on the telephone and say it to my face. I told him we have been playing together since the under-21s and there is no need to send messages in the media. But everything is fine.”

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho characteristically  minced few words in responding to Ramos.

Mourinho said:

Since I’ve known Sergio Ramos he has been a fantastic football player, but he is not a doctor. He is not a doctor and I am the same. I do my job the best I can but I am not a doctor.My doctor and the doctor of the Spanish national team, they had the scans and they decided that the player was not in the condition to play.

I am nobody to go against it and I don’t think Sergio did a medicine Masters in the last couple of years to understand about it. Kompany didn’t play for Belgium against Wales and he played today. Has he a compromise with his national team? I think he has. He is the captain of Belgium.

Did he, how do you say, ‘cheat’ by not playing against Wales to play today? I don’t think he did. So we all accept that he was injured.

I trust my doctor 100 per cent. If Del Bosque doesn’t trust his doctor that is his problem not my problem. I speak with my doctor and I believe in what my doctor tells me. Nothing else. No problem.

Fabregas was in a doubtful situation, Diego no. Diego recovered totally from his problem with these two weeks that he had to rest and to improve his injury.

Fabregas is different. Fabregas survived. Diego no, Diego now is in great condition.”

Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What he really meant:

“I’m not a doctor. You’re not a doctor. Should we even be discussing this? Fabregas was the patient and he needed your patience, not your allegations.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I don’t trust our team doctor, so call me when you finish your degree. I have a vacancy to fill.”

Arsene Wenger: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Arsene Wenger needs a dictionary badly.

Arsène Wenger in training.

Arsène Wenger in training. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What he said:

“When you are such a long time in football as I am, you don’t understand any more what crisis means. I must get to the dictionary and look at it well again.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger responds to majority shareholder Alisher Usmanov’s critical remarks about his team management.

Usmanov said:

“My opinion – and I tell it openly – we need to strengthen every position to play on the level of such teams in (the) U.K. as Chelsea and Manchester City, in Europe like Real (Madrid), Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, (Bayern Munich) and other clubs.

Arsenal is a dream that sometimes becomes a mirage and sometimes a pain as every dream.

(The) potential of the team is there, but there is no critical evaluation of mistakes and they need to need to acknowledge them. Because no genius can retain the same level of genius if they do not acknowledge mistakes. It’s only when you admit your mistakes that you can get rid of them.”

He added:

“Arsene Wenger is one of the greatest coaches not just of European but of world football.

But we have a Russian proverb which goes: ‘Even an old lady can have a roof falling on her.’ Everybody makes mistakes. He can make mistakes and I know as you age that it is more difficult, more challenging to accept one’s mistakes. Maybe it’s a problem today.

I like Arsene for his principles, but principles are a sort of restriction. And restrictions are always lost possibilities. That’s why sometimes coaches even without principles became the coaches of great teams and some coaches with principles lose because some positions in team are vacant because of ethical, moral or personal views.

Does he have money or not? There is officially money in the club. How does he spend [it]? This decision investors have left with him. I wish them victories, because their victories are the victories of investors, including myself, and of great Arsenal fans, which deserve these victories.”

Arsene Wenger dismissed Usmanov’s remarks:

“During the 18 years I have been here I have shown that I can take criticism. Everybody has the right to have an opinion, having said that, we have values at this club.

The first one is when we go through a difficult patch, we show solidarity. That is a very important one. The second one is that, when you have something to say to each other, we say it face to face. We don’t need to go to the newspapers.

I don’t take [Usmanov’s comments]personally at all. It is an opinion I respect, but when you are from this club, you are from this club. You are in or out, you cannot be both.

I am long enough in the game to know that when you play well, but lose the game, you get flooded with critics, however, if you play a very bad game, but you win it, everyone says how great you are.

It is our job to take a distance with that and see what was right and what was wrong. The rest is part of the game.

What is important is how close we are together inside the club and how much we can respond to people who question our quality. I personally feel there is a very strong bond inside the team and the club, and that this team will have a very strong season.

I believe in what I do and I especially believe in my players, and in their quality and spirit. I question myself every day and I hope you do that as well.”

What he really meant:

 “Hmm… now should I look up sub-heading ‘team crisis’ or ‘personal crisis’?”

What he definitely didn’t:

 “I’m going to be studying Russian proverbs instead—specifically the ones with old women in them.”



Robert Green: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Robert Green is not your mate.

What he said:

“People see you in the street, especially fans of your club, and because you’re on the pitch and they see you every week, they think you’re their mate. To me it is a stranger in the street. I’ve been playing football for 18 years and it still surprises me when people come and speak to me. My mates have said I’ll come across as rude and arrogant. It’s not like that. But it’s that initial: ‘Oh, Christ, what do you want me to say?’”

Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Robert Green is quite certain that television and fame may make you everybody’s bosom pal but it does not make them yours.

Green is not quite keen on becoming a coach-manager and would prefer to play ball in the boardroom instead.

Green said:

“Eventually I’d like to have some sort of role like a chief executive in a football club.”

Green is pursuing a BA (Hons) in business management (sports and football) from the Open University.

Green added:

“The speed of how football changes is so fast that to finish playing and still to be able to relate to 18-, 19-, 20-year-old lads, enough for them to like you, to run around for you, is probably beyond my limitations as a person. I think if I want to stay in football then this would be the path that I need to take rather than the coaching side.”

On his first course workshop:

“I sat down at the workshop with the tutor and six or seven other lads who are all football fans and I thought: ‘Hold on a minute, I’ve got half a chance here because I know the outside view is so different to what is going on on the inside.’

I think to be a fan and take over a football club would be great but you’re going to lose your money and you’re going to have a rollercoaster of a ride doing it. So to have someone [working for you] who’s been in that rollercoaster all their life and realises how good clubs operate …

A great model for me is West Brom. When I first started playing at Norwich, West Brom were in the Championship, got promoted, got relegated, got promoted, got relegated, and all the time they were building until they eventually stayed up. The dangerous point is when you try and make those steps like Leeds did by buying all those players in the late 90s and early 2000s, living beyond their means, and that’s when the problems occur.”

Green takes his goalkeeping seriously but does not bring work home.

Green said:

“I think it’s a self-preservation thing more than anything. I think as a youngster I took myself far too seriously. Now, with experience maybe, having good times, bad times, you think: ’Are you prepared physically and mentally for a game? Yes. Have I done everything I can this week to make myself as good as I can be for this game? Yes. Am I going to try my utmost in this game? Yes.’ Right, that’s all you can do. Could I stop Oscar’s shot in the game at Stamford Bridge? No, because I’d need a four metre extension on my arm.’ It’s managing your own expectations.

If you walked into my house there wouldn’t be one thing to do with football in there. You see people with a room full of their career achievements. Brilliant. Well done. That’s just not something I do. They’re in a bin bag in my mum and dad’s loft. And if I go out, I’ve got the same mates from the Sunday football team when I was a kid. That doesn’t change. They probably hammer me as much as anybody, saying: ‘He’s an oddball.’”

On the infamous lapse that handed the US a 1-1 draw in the 2010 World Cup, how he handles opposition fans and whether his career will be forever defined by that moment:

“I just turn around and give them (hecklers) a yawn sign. It’s something that happened two tournaments ago. We drew the game. We didn’t lose the opening game of the World Cup.

If that happens, fair enough. You can’t argue with apathy. People can say what they want, do what they want, realistically it’s not something that’s going to affect my life.

I actually think it’s going to be good for my children. They are going to ask me one day about it, because some kid is going to Google it and hammer them at school. So it’s a great lesson that you can put everything you can into something for all your life and it’s not always beautiful at the end of it.”

What Green really meant:

“Hey man, it’s called information asymmetry. You know all about me but I know nothing about you. Would you like a stranger chatting you up, in a familiar manner? Would ya, really? Sure, it’s a hazard of fame but don’t let it go to your head.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’m the friendliest bloke around. Let’s have a pint of lager anytime.”

Wayne Rooney: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Wayne Rooney desires a Cup of Joy.

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What he said:

“I could sit here saying I’ve got 200 caps and 100 goals for my country. But the ultimate is to win a trophy and that’s what we all want to do.”

Newly appointed skipper of the English national soccer side Wayne Rooney is quite sure of his place in history.

Rooney plays his 100th tie for England this Saturday when the Lions take on Slovenia on Saturday in an European Cup qualifier match-up.

Rooney is seven goals away from overtaking Sir Bobby Charlton as his country’s all-time leading scorer. Charlton has 49 goals from 106 appearances.

English: Sir Bobby Charlton at the British Cou...

English: Sir Bobby Charlton at the British Council for School Environments (BCSE) on 9 November 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rooney said:

“Obviously I’m not going to be as big a legend as Sir Bobby Charlton – he’s won the World Cup.To eclipse that I’d have to win the World Cup.”

What Rooney really meant:

 “I wish playing for England were as easy as playing for Manchester United. At least, with them I win something. And we have a larger budget too.”

What he definitely didn’t:

 “I’ll take another Fair Play Award. We have a couple from the 90s.”

Jordan Perez: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Jordan Perez hopes to be the Rock of Gibraltar, not Brazil.

What he said:

“Anything below seven goals and I’ll be satisfied as then we can say that we’re better than Brazil (routed 7-1 by Germany at the World Cup).” 

Amateurs Gibraltar take on world champions Germany in a mismatched battle in the European Cup qualifiers on Friday the 14th. Their goalkeeper Jordan Perez will be happy if they fare better than Brazil who lost 1-7 to the Germans in the World Cup semi-final this summer.

What he really meant:

“At least, our defence will be better (than Brazil’s) with me in citadel. We can’t just be torn to shreds even though our current record stands at 0-17.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Well, at least, our morale is higher than Brazil’s and we have no great expectations neither from our fans nor our press.”


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