World of Sport

Quotes of the Week: ‘You get the chance to kill someone. Legally.’


"Shut up, monkey." - What referee Mark Clattenburg is alleged to have called Chelsea's John Obi Mikel, sparking a venomous series of allegations and counter-allegations.

"I'm gonna break your f****** leg, ref." - A threat allegedly shouted at Clattenburg by one of the Chelsea party who confronted him in his office after the match on Sunday.

"He said nothing of the sort - and he will fight this all the way. There's always a lot of noise on the pitch and the players could easily have misheard." - A source 'close to Clattenburg' tells a newspaper that he does not accept the allegations.

"Meet Mister Controversy... He is one of the new breed of celebrity officials, always happy to be the centre of attention in a world of glitz and glamour." - Just a few hours after the final whistle, the Daily Mail publishes a thoughtful and legally-sensitive article giving the world a bit of background on the man at the centre of the storm.

"I'm disgusted at what has gone on. I am on Mark Clattenburg's side... I'm sure he might have said a few things but if Chelsea had won that game there would not have been one iota of a complaint. I think he's made a mistake [in sending off Torres] but Chelsea are trying to kill him because of that and I don't agree with it at all. If it is proved wrong whatever Chelsea players alleged that Mark said, I hope they get done." - Leeds manager and perennial rent-a-gob Neil Warnock gives his equally balanced view.

"I prefer, when I didn't behave well, that I have an explanation with the referee at the end of the game or on another day, (rather) than going public with little proof. I'm not a great believer in making these stories public. One of the great things in sport as well is tolerance, forgiveness and explanation internally and I think it should stay like that. It can happen that a referee doesn't behave well, I do not say they are angels, but it is always better to sort it out in the room." - Arsene Wenger tries to calm the situation with an appeal of level-headedness that somehow manages to shoehorn in a dig at Chelsea for their lack of proof.

"Clattenburg: Referee, leader, legend." - Manchester United fans unfurl a banner at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night poking fun at their hosts.

"Chelsea: Standing up to racism since Sunday." - More Manchester United fans unfurl a different banner, also at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, poking more fun at their hosts.


Unsuspected psychopath of the week

"Where else in the world do you get the chance to basically kill someone with two bouncers in an over. Legally. I think that can bring out the anger in anyone. Off the field I'm pretty chilled, but on it, it's all business." - South African bowler Dale Steyn on exactly what it is that he loves about Test cricket.

Unrepentant mercenary of the week

"I am tired and doing these things are easy. Competing and getting ready for another golf tournament, I just didn't want to do that. I've got four more rounds at my tournament in LA and I'm done until Abu Dhabi next year so I'm looking forward to having this extended break." - Tiger Woods explains why he refused to play at the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament in China, just three days after collecting a $1 million fee for an 18-hole match against Rory McIlroy in the same country.

Poor little rich boy of the week

"Just because he is a famous footballer doesn't mean he has any money coming in." - Michael Ballack's laywer explaining why his client would not be paying  a Spanish speeding fine, despite earning around £30 million during the last six years of his career alone.

Lost a bit of perspective there, Brian?

"This feels like a funeral. It's the worst defeat of my career." - Reading boss Brian McDermott after his team blew a 4-0 lead to lose 7-5 to Arsenal in the League Cup on Tuesday night.

Worried man of the week

"They're basically saying 'all those years of practice you've done are down the drain'." - 2011 US PGA Champion and US Ryder Cup star Keegan Bradley gives his thoughts on the likely ban on long putters set to be imposed by the R&A and USGA. Bradley has never putted any other way throughout his career. R&A chief Peter Dawson said that the legality of the extra-long putters - which are anchored to the belly or chin - was "firmly back on the radar", with a decision (and a possible ban) expected in the next few months.

Kick a man when he's down - and kick him hard

"Joe Cole had an opportunity, the club has invested a astronomical sum of money on a talented player and he has to seize his opportunities." - Brendan Rodgers delivers a damning verdict on the former England  midfielder, who stank the pitch up against Swansea City in the League Cup and seems destined never to pull the Liverpool shirt on again.

Hero of the week

"I decided to attach the front of Eric's bike to the back of my bike using a rope I found in a rubbish bin by the side of the course. We took the front wheel of Eric's bike off to link it on to mine, and off we went. We looked like the A-team!" - Former F1 driver-turned Paralympic champion Alex Zanardi describes how he helped a quadriplegic fellow competitor finish the Venice Marathon in high winds and torrential rain.

New-age imperialist of the week

"For our game to continue to grow and be special we have to expand our fan base, and I think from our cultural and language point of view, going to England and playing there and developing the game made sense. We have such a following in the UK and people really grab on to the game. It's wonderful to see another country embrace our sport, and by bringing the real game there I think they have really loved it." - New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on why London's success hosting NFL games will make it the first City outside the US to get an NFL team.

Lunatic of the week

"The prize is only important if Zlatan wins. If not, then it will only reinforce the idea that this is a politically corrupt prize." - Zlatan Ibrahimovic's agent Mino Raiola gives his verdict on who should win the Ballon d'Or. At first we though he must be crazy (particularly given Lionel Messi's 80 goals last season), but then he went on to describe Sepp Blatter as a "mad dictator" and call Michel Platini a "mob boss" who has "never done anything important for football" and should "go to hell".

Cocky idiot of the week

"COME ON!" - What an unknown MMA fighter yelled at his opponent after becoming convinced that he had nothing to fear, and immediately before opening his arms out wide to offer up a free shot. Suffice to say that three seconds later, he was no longer conscious.