25 of football’s top philosophical quotes

Eric Cantona, former Manchester United strikerWe’ve all heard the famous footballing quotes from Jose Mourinho’s ‘Special One’ to Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘Football. Bloody Hell.’ A good quote can earn you the limelight for some time, indeed Ian Holloway’s reputation is practically based on his ability to deliver a quality press conference with some amusing anecdotes or insane ramblings.

However, some quotes can be funny, some can be a slip of the tongue or some can be simply inappropriate. Often though, players, managers, officials or even commentators can offer musings on the game in a very philosophical manner, be it about how the game should be played or certain incidents in football. Collected below are some fine examples of when individuals in the beautiful game have given their taken on certain aspects of football with either hilarious or baffling consequences. Try and make some sense out of 25 of football’s best philosophical quotes:

25. Terry Venables – “As a manager you learn with your ears and not with your tongue”.

24. Mark Lawrenson – “If you’re a goalkeeper, it doesn’t matter what you save the ball with; if you keep it out, it’s not a goal.”

23. Johan Cruyff – “Football is simple. You are in time or too late. When you are too late, you should start sooner.”

22. Ian Holloway (describing a win over Chesterfield) – “To put it in gentleman’s terms if you’ve been out for a night and you’re looking for a young lady and you pull one, some weeks they’re good looking and some weeks they’re not the best. Our performance today would have been not the best looking bird but at least we got her in the taxi. She wasn’t the best looking lady we ended up taking home but she was very pleasant and very nice, so thanks very much, let’s have a coffee.”

21. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – “There are no good saves, there are only weak shots.”

20. Sir Bobby Robson – “If we start counting our chickens before they hatch, they won’t lay any eggs in the basket.”

19. Sir Alf Ramsey – “The missing of chances is one of the mysteries of life.”

18. Gordon Strachan – “The world looks a totally different place after two wins.”

17. Stuart Murdoch (on his position in charge at Wimbledon) – “I am in a good position at the moment because no-one is running the club. I am hoping there is nobody out there to sack me.”

16. Bill Shankly – “Train the right way. Help each other. It’s a form of Socialism without the Politics.”

15. Graeme Le Saux (on competition for places) – “When you’re walking onto a bus and trying to get there before the person in front of you, that’s a different level of competition than playing in front of 80,000 people.”

14. George Hamilton (commentating on Real Madrid) – “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.”

13. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (The anti-philosopher) – “Then Guardiola started his philosopher thing. I was barely listening. Why would I? It was advanced bulls**t about blood, sweat and tears, that kind of stuff.”

12. Howard Wilkinson – “I’m a firm believer that if the other side scores first you have to score twice to win.”

11. Dennis Bergkamp – “Behind every kick of the ball, there has to be a thought.”

10. Glenn Hoddle (on Paul Gascoigne) – “75% of what happens to Paul Gascoigne in his life is fiction.”

9. Fabian Barthez – “Unconsciously, I fell in love with the small round sphere, with its amusing and capricious rebounds which sometimes play with me.”

8. Graeme Souness (on the return of Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke) – “It was only a matter of time before they got fit and after that it’s like riding a bike or making love to a beautiful woman; you never forget.”

7. Mark Viduka – “I would not be bothered if we lost every game as long as we won the league.”

6. Sam Allardyce (on team spirit) – “There are scientists who will tell you that spirit, because it can’t be measured, doesn’t exist. Bollocks. It does exist”

5. Ian Holloway (on the January transfer window) – “It’s been an absolute living nightmare, to be honest. It is just ludicrous, I don’t see who it benefits at all. When my wife’s shopping, we need some milk and bread on a regular basis. We can’t buy it all at the start and then wait until January because it would have all gone off.”

4. Jose Mourinho (on pressure) – “For me, pressure is bird flu. I’m feeling a lot of pressure with the problem in Scotland. It’s not fun and I’m more scared of it than football.”

3. Brian Clough – “If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he’d have put grass up there”

2. George Best – “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered”

1. Eric Cantona (on the English press) – “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.”

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