12. Maradona vs journalists
“You lot take it up the arse.”
11. Fergie slams Alan Wiley’s fitness
“The referee was not fit enough. The game demanded a referee who was fit. He’s not fit. You see referees abroad who are as fit as butcher’s dogs. He was taking 30 seconds to book a player then having a rest. Ridiculous.”
10. Robbie Fowler spreads his cheeks for Graeme Le Saux
A memorable, if distasteful, visual gag and one designed to taunt the Guardian-reading Le Saux, whose sexuality was frequently questioned by opposing fans. Scouse wit, eh.
9. Carlton Palmer’s first touch
“Carlton covers every blade of grass on the pitch – but then you have to if your first touch is that crap.”
Gotta love Dave Jones for that barb. It perfectly sums up the black humour that courses through the British game.
8. Arsene Wenger’s lovely wife
“Everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home.”
Wenger aimed this subtle jibe at Alex Ferguson in 2002, after Fergie claimed Man Utd had been the best team in the Premiership.
7. Giovanni Trapattoni hearts Di Canio
‘There will have to be a bubonic plage for me to pick Di Canio.”
Fair to say that the former boss of Italy, now in charge of Ireland, wasn’t a big Paolo Di Canio fan.
6. Paolo Di Canio on David James
“David James must have a brain the size of a pea! I called him a cretin a year ago so it has taken him a whole year to find out the meaning of the word. My two-year-old daughter could learn quicker than that.”
Di Canio joined James at West Ham six months later. Oops.
5. Bryan Roy on the city of Nottingham
“Berlin has everything. It is a cosmopolitan city with theatres and the people are open-minded. They are not as narrow-minded like the people in Nottingham. There are no theatres, no cinemas, hardly anything. All Nottingham has is Robin Hood – and he’s dead.”
Roy had just moved to Hertha Berlin from Nottm Forest. Nice parting shot, Brian.
4. Alex Ferguson, friend of Italy
“When an Italian tells me its pasta on the plate I check under the sauce to make sure.”
Nice one Fergie – insulting an entire nation with one simple statement. He said it before Man Utd’s Champions League tie against Inter Milan in 1999.
3. George Best rates Beckham
“He cannot kick with his left foot, he cannot head a ball, he cannot tackle and he doesn’t score many goals. Apart from that he’s all right.”
Say what you see, George.
2. Didier Deschamps, ‘the water carrier’
Criticism by a fellow player cuts the deepest, and Eric Cantona’s disdainful appraisal of his limited French team-mate stuck – the term ‘water carrier’ still gets used to this day.
1. Roy Keane to Mick McCarthy
“You were a crap player, you are a crap manager. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are manager of my country and you’re not even Irish, you English ****. You can stick it up your bollocks.”
Keane’s alleged tirade got him sent home from the 2002 World Cup. Not that he seemed to care, preferring instead to walk his dogs at home.