"David O'Leary's experiments with the English language are as fascinating as Ron Atkinson's."
        - John Boland, TV Critic, "Irish Independent"

"And Bonner has gone 165 minutes of these championships without conceding a goal. Oh danger here..."
         - George Hamilton, tempting fate...

"Oh noooooooo! Disaster!"."
        - George Hamilton, after Mexico go 2 up against Ireland (USA 94)

"By our calculations George is directly responsible for over 87% of the goals the Irish national team has conceded."
        - The pundits at DangerHere.Com produce a worrying statistic

"Real Madrid are like a rabbit in the glare of the headlights in the face of Manchester United's attacks. But this rabbit comes with a suit of armour in the shape of two precious away goals."
         - George Hamilton

"Referee Nodlinger is outstanding in the sense that he stands out."
        - George Hamilton

"The Baggio brothers, of course, are not related."
         - George Hamilton

"You sir, are an idiot!"
        - George Hamilton, politely rebuking Lilian Laslandes after a red card offence.

"Careful lads, we need him for the Championship!"
        - George Hamilton, after fellow pundit Marty Morrissey gets caught up in Munster's celebrations

"Their (Liverpool) fans are being man-marked by the Italian police."
        - George Hamilton, on the security preparations for Liverpool v Juventus

"The coaching staff are like an army on the touchlines! Does anybody hear? Would it make any difference?"
        - George Hamilton

"Here's Ronaldo, we've almost seen him score one tonight...ooooh! Close but no banana"
        - George Hamilton, commentating on Roy Keane's testimonial for RTE

"They have seen the Juventus away goal — and raised it!"
        - Clive Tydlesey, after Man Utd score their second away goal against Juventus (1999)

"The mountain that is English Football is a long and difficult one to climb, but the view from the top is breathtaking, Chelsea are champions again".
        - Martin Tyler, as Chelsea lift the title (2006)

"This is the lad you thought was Italian, he's from Marino."
"Si! Marino!"
        - George Hamilton meeting some Shelbourne fans (Marino is a Dublin suburb)

"Never mind San Marino, you'd get a better team from Marino."
        - Anonymous hack after Ireland beat San Marino 5-0

"Owen runs like rabbit chasing after what do rabbits run after? They run after nothing. Well, running after other rabbits."
        - Tom Tyrell

"It's the first time that two teams have started a league game where both teams begin with that letter."
        - Jeff Stelling, as York versus Yeovil looms large in the fixture list

"And they'll be dancing in streets of Total Network Solutions tonight."
        - Jeff Stelling, as TNS capture the Welsh title

"Matt Le Tissier had firm views about Austria's reluctance to allow Turkey full membership of the EU last Saturday, I seem to recall."
        - Jeff Stelling, revealing what happens during ad breaks on "Sky Soccer Saturday"

"Jeff I'm not exaggerating it could have been 10-0."
"Ah go on, you're exaggerating. Hahaha!"
"I've told you a million times, I don't exaggerate."
        - Charlie Nicholas and Jeff Stelling, "Sky Soccer Saturday"

"There's been a penalty awarded at Old Trafford — I don't think you need me to tell you which way it's gone."
        - Jeff Stelling, updating us on "Sky Soccer Saturday"

"It's amazing what the sight of four gentlemen with red crosses on their backs can to injured players."
        - Jon Champion, as Arsenal's Freddie Lungberg makes a sudden recovery

"Thierry Henry will look like a Subbuteo player to them."
        - Peter Drury, looking at the fans in the top deck of the Bernabau for ITV

"It's survival of the fittest now here in the closing minutes."
        - John Motson, as West Ham and Liverpool stagger through FA Cup Final extra time

"I'm sorry to report that there seems to be trouble in the far-right section of the ground..."
        - Conor McNamara, with a potential freudian slip on "Radio Five Live" in Birmingham

"Good evening. The game you are about to see is the most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football, possibly in the history of the game."
        - David Coleman's BBC intro to the infamous 'Battle of Santiago', Italy v Chile, 1962 WC

"Lord Nelson, Lord Beaverbrook, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Clement Atlee, Henry Cooper, Lady Diana! Maggie Thatcher! Can you hear me Maggie Thatcher? Your boys took one hell of a beating. Your boys took one hell of a beating."
        - A Norwegian commentator goes OTT as Norway's part-timers beat England for the first time

"Kevin, how do you rate Valerenga's chances?"
"Not great, they're only part-timers."
        - Channel 5 press advertisement making fun of Keggy Keegle.

"The good news for Paraguay is that they've gone two-nil down so early on."
        - The dreaded Kevin Keegan

"He'll flick one. Koeman's going to flick this. GOAL!"

"Welcome to Bologna on Capital Gold for England versus San Marino with Tennent's Pilsner, brewed with Czechoslovakian yeast for that extra Pilsner taste and England are one down." "We've been playing for 61 minutes here in Serravalle, and it's just occurred to me that Scotland are drawing 0-0 with a mountaintop."
        - BBC Radio Scotland commentator Ian Archer on San Marino v Scotland, 1991

"Harry Commentator is your carpenter."
        - Frank Bough mis-introducing Harry Carpenter

The Eleven Stages Of Clive Tyldesley: (1) Awe. (2) Belief. (3) Sycophancy. (4) Wonder. (5) Disappointment. (6) Frustration. (7) Annoyance. (8) Hysteria. (9) Bitterness. (10) Disbelief. (11) Silence.
        - Football 365's analysis of the Man Utd fan and ITV commentator


"There's only one plan in football: win you next match."
        - John Giles, dismissing talk of a 4-year plan for Ireland

"McGeady, Doyle... and the referee."
        - John Giles, explaining the factors in an Irish win over Georgia thanks to a dubious penalty

"Kilbane did what he normally does: ran his heart out and gave the ball away a lot."
        - John Giles, watching Ireland lose to Germany

"I've never seen Walcott do anything like that before in my life."
        - John Giles, after Walcott's 80-yard burst isn't enough to save Arsenal v Liverpool

"You said that that was the worst defending you've seen from a top side?"
"Well, I don't like to make outlandish statements... all the time. Wimbledon would have beaten them 10-0."
        - RTE's Bill O'Herlihy and Eamon Dunphy, after Chelsea put 4 'route one' goals past Bayern

"Probably the worst set of defenders, collectively, I've ever seen in the Champions League."
        - Eamon Dunphy, on Dynamo Kiev's defence 2007-08

"After watching Watford against Manchester City last night that was like a bubblebath. It was beautiful."
        - Eamon Dunphy, on the delights of watching Barcelona in the ECL

"Bayern, Arsenal, Real, Porto, haven't a hope. Chelsea good but won't win it, will struggle. AC Milan are not a top class side, Barcelona lack a bit of steel. If United beat Milan they'll win it"
"I think Chelsea have a great chance"
"I agree with John, I think Chelsea will beat Barcelona and reach the final."
        - Eamonn Dunphy, with a John Giles-inspired flip-flop, "RTE"

"It was like two drunks in a back alley throwing punches at each other."
        - Eamon Dunphy, after a thrilling 4-4 draw between Liverpool and Chelsea

Eamon Dunphy: " idiot like Niall Quinn..."
Bill O'Herlihy: "Ah now, Eamonn, you can't be saying things like that!"
        - from an RTE discussion of Roy Keane's departure

"He's a gentleman. He's a class act. He's a rebel. And he stands up to bullies."
        - Eamonn Dunphy, with the climax of his defence of Roy Keane on "RTE"

"It would have to be a young, hungry fighter. That rules out everybody here." <jerks thumb towards Liam Brady>
        - Eamonn Dunphy, discussing possible replacements for Brian Kerr in the RTE studio

"His reign ended with that nil-all defeat by Switzerland at Lansdowne Road."
        - Colm Murray, covering Brian Kerr's departure as Irish manager for RTE

"I'd have given anything to hear what Dunphy, Giles and Brady would have made of the nightmare."
        - Chris Lowry, on TV3's coverage of Ireland's 5-2 loss in Cyprus, "Evening Herald"

"He doesn't look like a manager! He doesn't sound like a manager! ...Would you let him sit in your seat Bill, without any training? ...Would you let him drive the train to Cork without any training Bill? It's the same thing!"
        - Eamon Dunphy, letting fly at Steve Staunton on RTE (Sept'07)

"And I would take the job as well..."
        - Eamon Dunphy, listing replacements for Steve Staunton (Oct'07)

On RTE last week Dunphy took apart Terry Venables' career with his award-winning mix of comedy and hysteria... John Giles addressed Dunphy with the tone of a hostage negotiator trying to coax a man waving a pistol down from the top of a very tall building.
        - Dion Fanning, after Dunphy launches a Stop Venables campaign (Dec'07)

"He was like a drunken gambler in a casino, Bill, he was throwing chips on the table. Noel Hunt for Kevin Doyle — are you serious? Folan for Keogh — are you serious? He didn't know what he wanted. He was just gambling."
        - Eamon Dunphy, after Trappatoni's Ireland salvage a draw against 10-man Italy (Apr'09)

"Just think of the Irish children crying going to their beds last night."
"But Eamon, what about the happy children in Norway?"
        - Eamon Dunphy and Vincent Browne, after Ireland fail to beat Norway

"In the space of about 10 minutes he's knackered himself."
        - Jim Beglin, as Stephen Hunt bursts from the bench for Ireland

"Andy Reid is a liability when we don't have the ball."
"Sometimes Hunt and McGeady are a liability when we *do* have the ball."
        - Ronnie Whelan and Eamon Dunphy, on whether Ireland can afford a playmaker, "RTE"

"It means more if you say it. They think I'm mad!"
        - Eamon Dunphy, looking for backup from Johnny Giles about Andy Reid

Trap was delighted, exchanging a high-five with Brady and later calling Duffer aside to issue a series of gestures that surely translated as: "Do more of that beating-three-men-and-laying- on-a-perfect-chip business."
        - Keith Duggan, after Duff sets up Ireland's winner v Cyrpus, "Irish Times" (Oct'08)

You can take the man out of Italy but you can't take Italy out of the man, however. Ireland scored after four minutes and we settled in for some fun. Wrong! ... Long ago an early goal like that one would have been a rousing bugle call to action. For an Italian, though, there is no amount of time between here and eternity for which a 1-0 lead cannot be lovingly defended.
        - Tom Humphries, after Trappatoni's Ireland beat Cyprus 1-0, "Irish Times"

Of the manager's apparent aversion to midfielders who play for Sunderland there were inevitable inquiries. Andy Reid and Liam Miller were left to do the crossword on the Irish bench last night as a young central midfield pairing failed to shine.
        - Tom Humphries, on the post match press conference, "Irish Times"

"Ability and guts is an unbeatable combination."
        - Eamon Dunphy, on what it takes to win

"I was just going to recount my own experiences in Europe with Millwall... though we usually went on holidays."
        - Eamon Dunphy, surrounded by John Giles and Ronnie Whelan

"I've been out of my depth plenty of times, and that's what it feels like."
        - Eamon Dunphy, former journeyman, watching a young Irish side go down to defeat

"Ardiles strokes the ball like it was a part of his anatomy."
        - Jimmy Magee, RTE World Cup Commentary

The great French film director Jean Renoir once observed of the legendary critic Andre Bazin that his reviews would probably be remembered longer than the movies he was writing about. In the same way, the highlight of many a poor soccer match has been its dissection by the trio of Dunphy, Giles and Brady, brilliantly facilitated by Bill O'Herlihy.
        - Eamonn Sweeney, "The Irish Independent"

Italia 90 was my favourite tournament by some distance. It wasn't regarded as a great World Cup by an awful lot of the serious pundits. From our point of view, however, it was the first time we'd ever qualified and the atmosphere was fantastic, as I said earlier. The drama was brilliant too. You'll remember the time Dunphy threw his biro across the studio in disgust. You see he had a point and Giles was very much in his corner. They believed that, while we had gone a long way under Jack Charlton, the team was actually better than Jack allowed it to play. They always felt that the team could have gone much further than it did. The argument Dunphy was making about Ireland's 0-0 draw with Egypt was that we hadn't played to our capabilities. That was part of the drama. However, it was totally subsumed by the celebratory nature of the time. The other occasion that I look back on fondly, again from an Irish perspective, would be the match against Italy at Giants Stadium in 1994. I was talking to Ray Houghton about the game. He said that when the Irish team walked out on the pitch they could not believe that of the 75,000 in the crown, nearly all of them were Irish. This was just outside New York and it was a place that should have been crawling with Italians. It was an amazing thing to watch and it was amazing to see Ireland winning. I think that had Ireland played all their games in the northern parts of the US, rather than down in Orlando where they were overcome by the heat, they might have done an awful lot better. The heat beat them rather than anybody else.
       - Bill O'Herlihy, RTE Anchorman

"Michelle, after playing Manchester United tonight, do you feel they will soon reach the promised land by ending their long wait for the first division title? <silence> ...Michelle, do you speak English?"
"Yes. Do you?"
        - Raymond Smith of The Irish Independent, firing questions at Michel Platini

"Mentally slow; the weakest link; a tramp of a player."
        - Eamon Dunphy, excerpts from a rant against Rio Ferdinand

"Here we have Cisse, right wing, attempts to put in a cross, BANG...hits the full back, again BANG hits the full back, the full back again, and once more, BANG...smacks the full back again.... Millions of euro and he can't clear the first man, I mean...what's he trying to do to the full back here, Kill him??"
        - Eamon Dunphy, letting loose on Djibril Cisse

"What I'm seeing on Match of the Day every week is pretty dreadful. They just talk drivel. Whoever is winning is great, whoever isn't, isn't. It's banal. And also semi-literate at times ... they never criticise in an intelligent way. Anything that isn't banal is said to be an outburst. They've created this cartoon world where everyone talks like Lineker and says nothing."
        - Eamonn Dunphy, in an interview for "442 Magazine"

We remember when Alan Hansen used to enlighten us with his analytical skills, but either his expertise has been neutered by a BBC eager to pander to the lowest form of human life and thus reduce all half- and full-time analysis to a facile rerun of the major goals and incidents accompanied by a gruff authoritative Scots voice stating, “He lays it back there…” as if the audience are incapable of observing this for themselves.
        - The Custard, reviewing BBC Euro 2008 coverage

"Can you imagine Tiger Woods or any of the great sportsmen; Lewis Hamilton, Padraig Harrington, Ruby Walsh the jockey - going out in front of a paying audience and playing like that - while they are world player of the year. It's an absolute disgrace to the game...
What they saw tonight was an impersonator, a clown, a self-indulgent idiot really, doing crazy things. He's a petulant brat Bill, poncing around all night...If you say that's showbiz, this is showbiz Bill (points at self). If you really want to make it showbiz, take your gear off."
        - Eamon Dunphy, laying into Cristiano Ronaldo

For John Giles, Eamon Dunphy and even the younger Liam Brady, football is still their game - but it is no longer their world... Football was then a trade that paid out modest wages after a hard apprenticeship. Nowadays it is a product in the portfolio of globalised entertainment. Where once it was run by small builders and second-hand car dealers in flash overcoats, it is now owned by television companies and stock exchange businessmen. Where once its primary relationship was with the working class men who paid in at the turnstiles, it now belongs to people who worry in their air-conditioned office suites over television ratings, advertising revenue and newspaper sales. In this world it doesn't matter if Ronaldo really is a great player or merely a good one. What matters is that he is a star. In the same way that it doesn't matter if Brad Pitt is a great actor or merely a good one: he is a star who sells tickets at the box office. In that world every new movie is marketed as unmissable, and in this world every match is massive and every player is a star.
Giles is a stranger in this world. He is not so much a pundit as a kind of presiding judge, honorary secretary of the guild of master footballers, whose job it is to grade every new member of the trade according to the strictest standards of ability and character.
He is, it could be said, the last of the keepers at the gate, the steward of footballdom... The reality is that the generations who came after Giles grew up in the media culture. A lifelong diet of wild exaggeration, contrived excitement and simplistic analysis has anaesthetised viewers into passivity; words have become meaningless, the lines between the real and the phoney blurred.
Giles cannot stand to hear the Portuguese lad being described as "great" because it lowers standards and because it diminishes those who truly were great. And it's not just a matter of semantics: it's a matter of longevity and achievement. I love great players," he said, "I've a great respect for the Peles and the Maradonas, the Beckenbauers, the Bobby Moores, the Bryan Robsons, the Roy Keanes of this world. And they had to put in an awful lot of hard work and achieve an awful lot before they were considered great players." Bang on. There is a big difference between being exceptionally talented — which Ronaldo is — and great, which he is not. It is the difference between a Jimmy White and a Stephen Hendry.
        - Tommy Conlon, "The Irish Independent" (Apr'07)

"Looking at Ronaldo I see him doing things that great players do — but a lot of the time I also see him doing things a great player would never do. I never saw Best, Maradona, Charlton nor Cruyff give the ball away as Ronaldo did with his first touch on Wednesday night."
        - Johnny Giles, assessing Cristiano Ronaldo after Milan eliminate Man Utd (Apr'07)

"Ireland have to go for broke. Fiddling for a draw will only invite the disaster of defeat. Sometimes it is only when a team is pushed against the wall and decide to make a fight of it that you can begin to see some of their best quality."
        - Johnny Giles, ahead of a crucial away qualifier for Ireland (Sep'07)

"Some coaches believe in players — Matt Busby, Arsene Wenger, Alex Ferguson.  And some coaches believe in systems — Charlton, Trappatoni. And that, in my belief, is folly. Jack Charlton was a disaster, that was the best collection of players we ever had. Benitez is in the Trappatoni\Charlton mould. Players must fit in with his system..."
"...But Charlton got results."
"Up to a certain point. But he didn't get the best of out those players... Ultimately you lose out."
        - Eamon Dunphy, Bill O'Herlihy and John Giles, after Liverpool beat Real Madrid in Spain, "RTE"

# WORLD CUP 2006

Former German international Günter Netzer proved to be the feistiest broadcaster, asking moderators on public television: "Will you let me get a word in?", "Do you really expect me to answer that?" and "Why do you invite me here if you're going to talk all the time?"
        - The Financial Times pick their "World Cup winners"

"It's not meant to be entertaining. If you want entertainment, go to the pictures. This is serious!"
        - Eamon Dunphy, watching a cagey Germany v Argentina for RTE

"I think what's happened here is that the full brunt of the ball was felt on Dwight Yorke's Michael Ballacks"
        - The ART channel, Dubai, on Dwight Yorke's unfortunate injury

"'Thanks for that, you just got me the sack'... he shouldn't be shaking his hand, he should be punching him in the face."
        - Graeme Souness, watching the Polish manager's reaction after a Pole is sent off on RTE

"Kewell should have been yanked off the pitch at half time and put in a hot bath, a boiling hot bath."
        - Eamonn Dunphy

"England have seven or eight world class players. But their midfield doesn't fit together, Gerrard and Lampard don't balance each other out."
        - Eamon Dunphy, on RTE

"80 minutes of pure pleasure."
        - Eamon enjoyed England v T&T until England scored

"For the plain people of Ireland... If your car's got a puncture, and you know its got a puncture and its still got a puncture after two weeks, then you don't know how how to change a tyre."
        - Eamon Dunphy, explaining why Jurgen Klinsmann hasn't fixed Germany's defensive problems

"When the Italians play the Germans it'll be fascinating. Mightn't be very good football but it'll be great psychology."
        - Eamon Dunphy, after Germany go through on penalties (again)

"They'll be dancing in the streets tonight in Rio celebrating that win. Would you be joining them John?"
"I wouldn't celebrate that win... but I might join in anyway."
        - Bill O'Herlihy and John Giles, after Brazil fail to impress v Australia

"When John (Giles) was manager of Ireland, much as he loved me, he still dropped me."
        - Eamon Dunphy, on rumours of a player 'clique' in the French camp

"This is the 671st game in World Cup history, starting all the way back in 1930 in Uruguay... and no I haven't seen them all."
        - Jimmy Magee, adding some old school gravitas to Japan v Croatia on RTE

"I wasn't going to get into this argument—"
"But you're in it, you're right in the middle of it!"
        - Martin O'Neill and Alan Hansen, disagreeing about a possible penalty on BBC

"He's not the type of guy you want to be walking into a disco with. Bring back Dowie!"
        - Martin O'Neill, on all-Brazilian Leonardo's looks

"A magic pass... into that corridor of uncertainty."
        - Mark Lawrenson, as a Crotian cross zips across the six yard box (BBC)

"Terry, you're the manager of England..."
[bursts out laughing] "Sorry Jim, I thought you'd lost it there."
        - Terry Venables, eventually realising what a hypothetical question is on ITV


"Manchester United are buzzing round the goalmouth like a lot of red blue-bottles."
        - David Coleman

"If ever the Greeks needed a Trojan horse,it is now."
        - Gerald Sinstadt

"Izzet.... no is the answer."
        - Barry Davies after Leicester's Muzzie Izzet fires just wide.

"He was behind bars, now he's hit the bar!"
        - Rob Palmer, as Birmingham's recently-freed Jermaine Pennant goes close

"I was about to say, before something far more interesting interrupted..."
        - John Motson

"We'll have more football in a minute, but first we have highlights of the Scottish League Cup final."
        - Gary Newbon, the question is - was it intentional?

"They (Liverpool players) are passing the cup down the line like a new born baby. Although when they are back in the dressing room they will probably fill it with champagne, something you should never do to a baby."
        - Alan Parry

"And in the day's other football match, Manchester City and Norwich drew love-all."

Poland nil, England nil, though England are now looking the better value for their nil. - Barry Davies Unfortunately, we keep kicking ourselves in the foot. - Ray Wilkins, speaking on BBC1 I would not say he [David Ginola] is the best left winger in the Premiership, but there are none better. - (RON ATKINSON in a TV interview) What's it like being in Bethlehem, the place where Christmas began? I suppose it's like seeing Ian Wright at Arsenal.... - (SIMON FANSHAWE, speaking on Talk Radio) I was saying the other day, how often the most vulnerable area for goalies is between their legs... - (ANDY GRAY, Sky Sports) The lad got over-excited when he saw the whites of the goalpost's eyes. - (STEVE COPPELL, Radio 5 Live) They [Rosenborg] have won 66 games, and they've scored in all of them. - (BRIAN MOORE, ITV) Arsenal are quick to credit Bergkamp with laying on 75% of their nine goals. - (TONY GUBBA, BBC Match of the Day) Gary always weighed up his options, especially when he had no choice. - (KEVIN KEEGAN, Radio 5 Live) And I suppose they [Spurs] are nearer to being out of the FA Cup now than any other time since the first half of this season, when they weren't ever in it anyway. - (JOHN MOTSON, BBC) I never make predictions and I never will. - (PAUL GASCOIGNE) And the news from Guadalajara where the temperature is 96 degrees, that Falcao is warming up. - (BRIAN MOORE) I'm not a believer in luck..... but I do believe you need it. - (ALAN BALL) I think that was a moment of cool panic there. - (RON ATKINSON) Many clubs have a question mark in the shape of an axe-head hanging over them. - (MALCOLM McDONALD) And I honestly believe we can go all the way to Wembley......unless somebody knocks us out. - (DAVE BASSETT) That's football, Mike, Northern Ireland have had several chances and haven't scored but England have had no chances and scored twice. - (TREVOR BROOKING) Mirandinha will have more shots this afternoon than both sides put together. - (MALCOLM McDONALD) I'm going to make a prediction - it could go either way. - (RON ATKINSON) And with 4 minutes gone, the score is already 0-0. - (IAN DARK) Strangely, in slow motion replay, the ball seemed to hang in the air for even longer. - DAVID ACFIELD What I said to them at half time would be unprintable on the radio. - GERRY FRANCIS It's as if there's a magnet on the outside of the posts and bar. Cantona's expression saying the whole French dictionary without saying a word. With news of Scotland's 0-0 victory over Holland... Borussia Moechengladbach 5,Borussia Dortmund 1 : so Moechengladbach win the Borussia derby. 2-0 is a cricket score in Italy. For those of you watching in black and white, Spurs are in the all-yellow strip. - JOHN MOTSON "Streaker on the field... And that's the first catch Rodney Marsh has made today."
        - BBC commentator, after a cricket match is interrupted

"And I interrupt myself to bring you this news..."
        - Murray Walker, F1 commentator

"A man who has spent his whole life looking for a full stop and has yet to find one."
        - Barry Davies, about Murray Walker


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