By Chris Wright
“You need people like me so you can point your f**kin’ fingers and say, “That’s the bad guy!”
Dietmar Hamann’s new book, “The Didi Man: My Love Affair with Liverpool”, is being serialised in the Daily Mirror this morning, and one excerpt contains what is surely the single greatest line ever uttered within the football sphere, delivered by Mr Cool Bollocks himself, Sven-Goran Eriksson:
“A man of such charm and sophistication that had the James Bond character been Swedish, then it would surely have been modelled on him.
“He was polished, professional, polite, dapper unflappable and likeable. Added to that he had great knowledge of the game and was prepared to show himself as a leader. He led from the front and made us want to play for him.
“As the 2007-08 season came a close with Manchester City, we all knew these were almost certainly Sven’s last days as manager, yet during our time on a post-season tour of Thailand, he never changed his demeanour at all.
“One morning when I was on a sun lounger by the pool, he walked towards me with a bottle of champagne and two glasses on it.
“It was still only 10 in the morning. I looked up and said, ‘Boss, what are we celebrating?’ expecting him to make the triumphant announcement he was staying.
“He turned to me and smiled that gentle smile of his and took the air of a Buddhist philosopher, as he said, ‘Life, Kaiser. We are celebrating life’.
“With a glass of champagne in hand he stood and looked out towards the horizon, then spoke in that higgledy-piggledy Swedish accent:
“‘You know Kaiser, I like this place. I think I will manage for another five years and come back here and live with two women. Yes. I think I need two beautiful women.’
“He was a man who loved life and it was impossible not to like him and love being in his company.”
“Life, Kaiser. We are celebrating life.” Slicker than puréed velvet, that svelte Swedish son-of-a-bitch.