This Is Why We’re Here

Winning isn’t everything.
There should be no conceit in victory and no despair in defeat.
(Sir Matt Busby)

Please do not call me arrogant, because what I say is true.
I’m European champion, I’m not one out of the bottle, I think I’m a special one.
(Jose Mourinho on taking over at Chelsea in 2004)

I want to build a team that’s invincible.
So that they have to send a team from bloody Mars to beat us.
(Bill Shankly)

Never change a winning team.
(Sir Alf Ramsey)

People want success.. It’s like coffee, they want instant.
(Sir Bobby Robson)

Players lose you games, not tactics.
There’s so much crap talked about tactics by people who barely know how to win at dominoes.
(Brian Clough)

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)

It’s best being a striker.
If you miss five then score the winner, you’re a hero.
The goalkeeper can play a blinder, then let one in, and he’s a villain.
(Ian Rush)

The Special One…
He must really think I’m a great guy.
He must think that, because otherwise he would not have given me so much.
I have a great family.. I work in a place where I’ve always dreamt of working.
He must have a very high opinion of me.
(Jose Mourinho on God)

I know what it’s like to win things.
You need a certain type of player with a determination to win.
You see it in the eyes.
(Ruud Gullit)

I won’t say we have to win.
I won’t put that pressure.. But we can’t lose.
(Jose Mourinho)

Behind every kick of the ball there has to be a thought.
(Dennis Bergkamp)

Football’s not just about scoring goals, it’s about winning.
(Alan Shearer)

When results aren’t good the manager gets the sack, that’s the game.
(Roy Keane)

As a professional football player, I have known perfectly well from the day I started playing that every day I have to fight for my place.
(Luis Figo)

People say it is part of the game.
You win some, you lose some.. But not for me.
(Ruud van Nistelrooy)

It doesn’t matter who scores the goals so long as we win.
(Steven Gerrard)

Something deep in my character allows me to take the hits and get on with trying to win.
(Lionel Messi)

Footballer’s Pay Explosion…
The top weekly rate for footballers, introduced in 1901, was just £4.. But it was still almost five times the average working wage of 17/6d (87p).. By 1939 it had risen to £8, double the usual industrial wage.. And in 1960, when the wage cap was dropped, football stars were on £20, £5 more than the working man.. In 1961, England captain Johnny Haynes became the first £100-a-week player.. Premier League average pay is now £44,000 a week, £2.29million a year, compared with the regular worker’s £26,500.. Wayne Rooney is the Premier’s highest-paid ace on £260,000 a week.

(Daily Mirror, 15.01.2016)

A lot of football success is in the mind.
You must believe you are the best and then make sure that you are.
(Bill Shankly)

For sportsmen or women who want to be champions, the mind can be as important, if not more important, than any other part of the body.
(Gary Neville)

In football you always get judged on your last game.
Whoever you are, or how amazing you are, it’s the last game that everyone has seen.
(Thierry Henry)

In football as in watchmaking, talent and elegance mean nothing without rigour and precision.
(Lionel Messi)

Football is a game about feelings and intelligence.
(Jose Mourinho)

Obstacles don’t have to stop you.. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up.
Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.
(Michael Jordan)

Champions keep playing until they get it right.
(Billie Jean King)

It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out.. It’s the pebble in your shoe.
(Muhammad Ali)

Remember this.. Hold on to this.. This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others.. This is the only thing we can do that has any lasting meaning.. This is why we’re here.
(Andre Agassi)

When Britain Topped The Olympic Medals Table…
The fourth ever Olympic Games in 1908 were originally awarded to Rome, but sadly for the Italian capital, Mount Vesuvius had other ideas.. After the volcano erupted in 1906, mounting Italian financial problems led to Rome withdrawing and the Olympic organisers looking for an alternative host city with just 18 months to go.
Luckily for all concerned, the head of the British Organising Committee was the remarkable Baron Desborough.
Desborough quickly set about building a stage to make Britain proud.
By striking a deal with an exhibition that was planned for White City in 1908, Baron Desborough got a 66,000 capacity stadium built to Olympic specifications in double-quick time.. The new stadium was therefore ready for the first ever Olympic Games Opening Ceremony on July 13, 1908 – in which representatives from the 22 competing nations paraded flags in front of King Edward VII.
London 1908 was the first Olympic Games where the athletes – some 2,008 of them, including 676 from Great Britain – competed as part of a national team rather than as individuals.. Great Britain topped the medals table with 38 Bronze, 51 Silver and a staggering 56 Gold.

A Life Of Good Sport

Sir Alex Ferguson Behaved Quite Outrageously…
It was a depressing tantrum.. a foot-stamping, arm-waving, finger-jabbing eruption of self-indulgence, with more than a hint of the bully about it.

Sir Alex Ferguson behaved quite outrageously at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.
He may be incomparably accomplished but for a man on the eve of his 71st birthday he can sometimes seem distressingly immature.
(Patrick Collins, The Mail on Sunday, 30.12.2012)

Our Philosophy Won’t Change…
Football is more than just splashing out.

It’s much deeper, much bigger than that.
It’s about sweat, thinking, working hard.
You have a big tradition of that in England.
I believe the pride of this country, historically, is built on that.
It’s what makes this football strong and interesting.
I am scared all these qualities today have less importance in the game.
Our philosophy won’t change.
It doesn’t mean we will not spend money.
I am always painted like a guy who refuses to spend money, like a greedy guy.
We want to be the best, but the best is not only about buying players.
We need to continue with what has made us strong until now.
Look, I don’t say that money doesn’t play a part, but it’s not only about that.
We have to continue to believe that it’s not only about that.
Football has to be even, interesting, unpredictable.
(Arsene Wenger, December 2012)

I look forward to hearing from the silent majority.
(Alex McLeish)

I want a life of good sport, good people and the competition that goes with it.
I’m here to try to get something accomplished.
(Randy Lerner, Owner of Aston Villa)

Ron Atkinson is one of the top three managers in the country.
(Doug Ellis, November 1994 .. Ron Atkinson was sacked five days later)

Stress is a player at Rochdale with a family to bring up and a contract expiring at the end of the season.
(John Gregory, commenting on Stan Collymore’s admission to the Priory Hospital suffering from stress, 1999)

People in this game don’t realise how lucky they are.
You drive to the ground, play a few five-a-sides, then have lunch.
It’s wonderful, enjoyable fun.
(Ron Atkinson, 1993)

You can have the best tactics in the world but, if your players can’t play, it won’t make a difference.
(Brian Clough)

We were not good enough today, particularly in the fringe department.
(Sam Allardyce)

My addictions are always there, waiting there for me.
They’re doing press-ups outside my door.
(Paul Merson, 1999)

Today was about our lack of ability to not produce the ability that we’ve got.
(Sam Allardyce)

I personally think referees should be wired up to a couple of electrodes and they should be allowed to make three mistakes before you run 50,000 volts through their genitals.
(John Gregory, 1999)

It’s so daft it’s almost stupid.
(Chris Kamara)

The Merseyside derby games are unique in the city.
(Brendan Rodgers)

There’s as much chance of a recession as there is of Aston Villa winning the league.
(Mervyn King on being appointed Governor of the Bank of England in 1999)

Why all the fuss over Prince William becoming an Aston Villa fan ?
Ay least he didn’t choose to support Manchester United like everybody else in Berkshire.
(Richard Littlejohn, Sun columnist, 2000)

Aston Villa always seem to have problems taking the final step towards being a really big club.
(Graham Taylor, 2001)

I was in hospital with instructions not to have any visitors for 24 hours.
I awoke to find Ron Atkinson at the end of my bed saying, “Sorry, I’m late, but I had to walk round the hospital three times before anybody recognised me”.
(Gary Newbon)

There is no policy that more defies common sense than the sale of school playing fields.
(Jojo Moyes)

Everyone should strive to win every single day of their life.. At whatever they do.
(Piers Morgan)

A silver medal is not success, it’s a consolation at best.
Without wishing to belittle a silver medal, I can only truly be satisfied with gold.
(Jessica Ennis)

British Tennis Is A Question Of Class…
British tennis is as middle class as Pony Clubs and using a Porsche Cayenne to ferry a toddler to a playdate.. From Andy Murray down, British tennis players are middle class.
There is nothing wrong with coming from a comfortable home and having a good education, but middle class domination of our tennis is why it has no fire in its belly.
Playing tennis is not like kicking a ball.
You need kit, a court and, if you are any good, years of private lessons.
If you had given Wayne Rooney a racket when he was five, he would have won Wimbledon a few times by now.
To be any good at any sport, you have to start young.
Because tennis is as middle class as skiing, many people do not get anywhere near it until they are adults.. The sad state of British tennis is not about quality.
It is a question of class.
(Tony Parsons)

Football Snobbery Goes On

It’s just like a game of the mind, between me and the goalkeeper.
Me, I know how to control my mind.
When the keeper moves before me, it means that in this game of the mind he has lost.
(Mario Balotelli on taking a penalty)

I won’t ever be going to a top-four club so I think we’ll just leave it at that.
It’s because I’m not called Allardici, just Allardyce.
(Sam Allardyce)

I think there is a bit of football snobbery goes on.
I have a philosophy that if you win more games than you lose you tend to get accepted.I have to get a result by any fair means.
You have to find a formula to win the game.
All the best teams work hard, it is not a dirty word.
(Mick McCarthy)

I need to know what makes them work and what doesn’t.
I can say that after a few days I know pretty much where 90 per cent of my squad lives, who’s married and single, what they do and when they arrive in the mornings and their attitude towards working hard.
Take the football out of it… if you’re in any management set-up in any company, it’s important you know your staff.
I’m going to guess that in any successful business, the employees or the players will follow the standard set by the management.
You need to treat a player as a person before you coach them.
Hopefully that’s one of my strong points.
(Dougie Freedman)

My relationship with Mancini is really important.
He’s known me since I was young and he’s like a father to me.
I used to play with the young children at Inter Milan, so I know him very well and I can tell him anything.
I have to train hard every training session.. And give everything on the pitch.
You have four or five things that the manager asks you to do, then you have to play like you can play and give everything.
(Mario Balotelli)

Sometimes in football you have to score goals.
(Thierry Henry)

I’m big on Aston Villa because the name is just so sweet.
Other clubs are like “Arrrrsenal” or “Maaaan United” but Aston Villa sounds like a lovely spa.
(Tom Hanks, 2004)

I’ll give the ref the benefit of the doubt but he’s got a lot wrong.
(Mark Bright)

There are fundamental problems at Aston Villa that are preventing it from becoming a top four club.
(Graham Taylor, 2003)

West Ham have committed 13 fouls, but they weren’t fouls, they were commitments.
(Ray Wilkins)

I think one of these teams could win this.
(Andy Townsend)

There’s something curious about the relationship between Coventry and Villa.
We don’t particularly dislike them. But blimey, do they hate us !
(John Gregory, 1999)

I think they’re great.
(Prince William on Aston Villa)

After watching the Olympics and the Paralympics, aren’t these overpaid footballers boring now ?
(Paul Lowry)

Since it has been our lot to frequent football matches we have never been witness of such disgraceful scenes.
If the dribbling game is to be marred by such cowardly exhibitions, the sooner football is consigned to oblivion the better for all concerned.
(Birmingham’s Saturday News on disturbances at the Villa v Preston FA Cup tie in 1888 when the cavalry were called in to restore order)

What pleasure could ladies ever have in watching a game of football on such a miserable afternoon ?
Would they not have been better employed at home darning socks or assisting in the housework rather than catching colds at Perry Barr ?
(The Birmingham Mail, 1896)

When Villa appoint a manager I hope the board will permit him to manage, and support him.
(Sports Argus, May 1934)

I’ve no time for those theories.. Get the ball in the bloody net, that’s what I want.
(Frederick Normansell, Aston Villa chairman, 1936)

The big myth of British soccer.. That Aston Villa are still a major force.
(The Birmingham Post, 1964)

I told the manager, “If you keep buying Third Division players, where do you think you’ll end up ?”
(Larry Canning, on Aston Villa’s side during the 1960s)

The whole club needs restructuring.. The youth policy is not good enough, the scouting system is not good enough, the team is a shambles and I have come to sort it out.
(Graham Taylor, upon his appointment as Aston Villa manager, 1987)

He can’t kick with his left foot, he can’t head, he can’t tackle, and he doesn’t score many goals.. Apart from that he’s all right.
(George Best on David Beckham)

What problems do you have, apart from being blind, unemployed and a moron.
(John McEnroe to Wimbledon spectator)

Manchester City will be kings of Europe.. But it might not be until I’m in charge.
(Jose Mourinho)

Joe Frazier is so ugly he should donate his face to the US Bureau of Wildlife.
(Muhammad Ali)

Stan’s a lovely man, a lovely lad.He’s just made one or two bad decisions.
(Brian Little on Stan Collymore)

The chairman of Brighton wouldn’t recognise Gareth Barry if he was stood on Brighton beach in the team strip, with a seagull on his head and a ball in his hand.
(John Gregory)

You can’t be sure he will be taken on by a club anywhere.
Unless it’s some Outer Mongolian outfit that has been locked away from news, television and society for 10 years.
(The Nottingham Post on Stan Collymore, 1999)

After those moving, mind-blowing, awe-inspiring Paralympics, I hope that the next Premier League footballer to fall over when he is not really hurt has the decency to die of embarrassment.
(Tony Parsons)

I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business but I was in the top one.
(Brian Clough)

We couldn’t defend a fish supper.
(Sam Allardyce)

Football these days isn’t going forwards.. It’s going sideways.
(Bobby Gould)

One of the all-time greats.. Someone to compare with Bobby Moore.
(Jack Charlton on Paul McGrath)

If that lad makes a First Division footballer, then I’m Mao Tse Tung.
(Tommy Docherty on Dwight Yorke after his Aston Villa debut in 1990)

I’ll never be able to achieve what Tommy Docherty did and take Aston Villa into the Third Division and Manchester United into the Second Division.
(Ron Atkinson)

Someone asked me last week if I miss the Villa.
I said, “No, I live in one”.
(David Platt after his transfer to Bari, 1991)

Once Tony Daley opens his legs, you’re in trouble.
(Howard Wilkinson)

The game has been tailored to the wine-bar fraternity.
The culture has gradually been eradicated.
(Nigel Kennedy, 1997)

Why didn’t you just belt it ?
(Barbara Southgate after her son Gareth missed that penalty in Euro 1996)

Football Crazy

He’s sort of facing the goal with his chest.
(Lee Dixon)

It’s like a stone rolling down a hill.. It’s gathering more and more.
(Graeme Souness)

There was nothing wrong with his timing, he was just a bit late.
(Mark Bright)

Whoever you support, you’ve got that blood in your veins.
(Phil Neal)

He’s the player who can unlock the key.
(Stuart Robson)

The proverbial is hitting the flan at the moment.
(Alvin Martin)

In the FA Cup, you always have to expect the unexpectable.
(Roberto Di Matteo)

It’s six of one, half a dozen of the other at least.
(Stan Collymore)

He went in with his shuds stowing.
(Gary Neville)

He could have done one of three things.. He didn’t do either.
(Gordon Strachan)

There’s always been a fierce rivalry between Spurs and Tottenham.
(David Pleat)

Beware of the clever, sharp men who are creeping into the game.
(William McGregor, 1909, Aston Villa committee member and founder of the Football League)

Taking my son to see Aston Villa play for the first time this season was a wonderful moment for me.. And one that I hope he will treasure too.
(David Cameron)

I know that some people have sought to perpetrate a myth that I am a naturally defensively-minded manager.. However, this is a case of certain people not letting the facts get in the way of a good story.
Having played in an Aberdeen team that got used to winning trophies regularly – including the European Cup Winners Cup – and having steered Rangers to seven trophies in three seasons, I can assure you that my appetite for attacking, winning football is second to none.
We all know that football is an unpredictable business but I would like to think that my time here as manager will be a long and rewarding one.
(Alex McLeish, Manager of Aston Villa F.C.)

England have players who can rattle anyone’s feathers.
(Michael Owen)

The game is not over until it is.
(Dwight Yorke)

When Gareth Bale opens his legs like that, it’s just a magnificent sight.
(Gary Neville)

We didn’t give them any opportunities, but unfortunately they took one.
(Neil Warnock)

We’ve won 10 out of 11 .. You can’t do any better than that.
(Harry Redknapp)

His legs have gone and it’s time to hang them up.
(John Hartson)

It definitely would probably have been a penalty.
(Chris Waddle)

When you’re comfortable, and you think you’re comfortable, it’s uncomfortable.
(Roy Keane)

There were two quick goals.. Bang, Bang, Bang.
(Alvin Martin)

We want to win the match in 90 minutes, even if we have to go to extra time to do it.
(Alex McLeish)

Everyone is sitting on the fence on the edge of their seats.
(Alan Smith)

We have to reduce our expectations of England and we have the players to do it.
(Steve McClaren)

I call myself a 100 per center because every week I give 110 per cent.
(Bradley Johnson)

I’ve been consistent in patches this season.
(Theo Walcott)

It was goalposts for jumpers.
(Tony Mowbray)

It’s never over until somebody sings.
(Clayton Blackmore)

I’m still claret and blue through and through.. I’m just desperate for us to win.
(Doug Ellis)

As a kid you want to play every minute of every game, that’s what you dream about.
(Gabriel Agbonlahor)

I’m a much better manager than when I started, but not half as good as I will be.
(John Gregory)

Too many of us were playing in the comfort zone, where it doesn’t hurt enough if we lost.. Sometimes I wonder if we care enough.
(Paul Merson)

We spent enough money, we just bought the wrong players.
(Alun Evans)

I’d like to play for an Italian club, like Barcelona.
(Mark Draper)

This is my field of dreams.
(Stan Collymore, on the pitch of Villa Park after signing in May 1997)

An All-English Football Team

Aston Villa 1980 – 81 …
Ron Saunder’s team became English football champions after using just 14 players in all domestic matches.
They were:- Jimmy Rimmer, Kenny Swain, Gary Williams, Colin Gibson, Ken McNaught, Allan Evans, Dennis Mortimer, Gordon Cowans, Des Bremner, Gary Shaw, Tony Morley, Peter Withe, David Geddis and Eamonn Deacy.

The Last All-English Premiership Football Team…
The last premiership side to field an all English team (a team who could have represented England) was Aston Villa on the 27th February 1999, against Coventry at Villa Park.
The team consisted of:-
Michael Oakes, Alan Wright, Gareth Southgate, Steve Watson, Riccardo Scimeca, Ian Taylor, Paul Merson, Simon Grayson, Lee Hendrie, Dion Dublin and Julian Joachim.
The three substitutes were Gareth Barry, Mark Draper and Stan Collymore.
The manager, John Gregory, was also English.

The First Football League Game Under Floodlights…
The first football league game under floodlights was at Fratton Park on February 22, 1956, when Portsmouth played Newcastle United.

Rangers staged the first Scottish league game under lights at Ibrox Park on March 7, 1956.

The Star Of Berlin 1936…
The 1936 Olympic Village, on the western edge of Berlin, lies forlorn and forgotten.
Around 4,000 athletes – including Great Britain’s 208-strong squad – took part in the Games in the summer of 1936.
Adolf Hitler looked on with delight as his German ‘supermen’ lived up to his dreams of glory, winning the Games with a medal count of nearly 90.
Great Britain came tenth with just 14.
The only real slap in the face for the Fuhrer was the success of America’s black track-and-field athlete Jesse Owens.. He won four gold medals and was the star of the Games in the world’s eyes – even if Hitler regarded him as inferior because of his colour.. Ironically, Owens’s tiny room – No. 5, in block 39 – is the only athlete’s room that has been renovated.. It’s a simple space that reflects the modesty of the humble man who stayed there – a man who, paradoxically, enjoyed more freedom in Nazi Germany at that time than he did in his segregated US homeland.

Failed Footballers And Coffins Of Heroes…
On the 29th June 2010, two aeroplanes landed in England.
One of them arrived at Heathrow containing England’s failed football World Cup squad, 23 immature under-achievers who complained about being tired and missing their families after two weeks in a luxury hotel.
The other one carried the coffins of seven fallen British soldiers who had spent months in Afghanistan away from their loved ones, living in tents in a war zone.
They couldn’t complain.
Those soldiers earned less in a year than what the whining footballers earn in a week.

Mackems…
Between 1897 and 1997, Roker Park was home to Sunderland AFC – a team whose supporters are referred to as Mackems.. Used as an insult by rival Newcastle supporters since the early 1980s, it’s a word that the people of Sunderland have reclaimed as their own, as it conjures up images of the city’s shipbuilding past.. The term is said to come from the phrase “mackem and tackem”, meaning “we make them” (the ships) and “they take them”.

Women’s Football In The 18th Century…
Football in medieval times was more of a riot than an organised sport, with much more in common with rugby.. It might not have been seemly for women to take part – though no doubt some did in disguise or in person.. There are stories dating back to the 18th Century that women’s matches took place in Scotland, such as single girls versus married, as part of folk festivals.. There are also diary accounts of Mary Queen of Scots owning a football and being a fan of the game.. Scotland continued to play its part in women’s football from its earliest beginnings, with the first recorded ‘official’ women’s game being in May 1881 at Edinburgh’s Easter Road Stadium – better known as a rugby venue these days.. It was organised by a very early Scottish suffragette, one Helen Matthews.. She was the only player to use her own name.. All the others in the Scotland versus England match used pseudonyms (like modern day Brazilian footballers).