Funny Quotes by Football Managers

Funny Quotes by Football Managers


There have been some really comical quotes made by football managers over the years – in the heat of the moment – and since we tend to become too serious at times about our football it may be good just to browse through some of these and have a chuckle.

Sir Bobby Robson (Uncle Bobby to Newcastle fans) has most of the top ones.

Also Bill Shankley, the great Liverpool manager, Kevin Keegan, Brian Clough (who never was short of confidence), and Sir Alex Ferguson, the best ever at Manchester United have some choice quotes listed.

Read on — and enjoy!

Sir Bobby Robson

  • We didn’t underestimate them but they were a lot better than we thought – after England sneaked through against Cameroon in the 1990 World Cup.
  • The first 90 minutes are the most important.
  • We’re flying on the Concorde. That’ll shorten the distance — that’s self-explanatory.
  • I would have given my right arm to be a pianist.
  • I’m not going to look beyond the semi-final – but I would love to lead Newcastle out at the final.
  • I do want to play the short ball and I do want to play the long ball. I think long and short balls is what football is all about.
  • He’s very fast and if he gets a yard ahead of himself nobody will catch him.
  • If we start counting our chickens before they hatch, they won’t lay any eggs in the basket.
  • There will be a game where somebody scores more than Brazil and that might be the game they lose.
  • Steve Hodge has been unfit for two weeks, well, no, for 14 days.
  • Look at those olive trees – they’re two hundred years old — from before the time of Christ! – Sir Bobby illustrates how great life is in Barcelona.
  • Titus looks like Tyson when he strips off in the dressing-room, except he doesn’t bite and has a great tackle — on Titus Bramble at Newcastle.
  • I played cricket for my local village. It was 40 overs per side, and the team that had the most runs won. It was that sort of football.
  • He’s got his legs back, of course, or his leg – he’s always had one but now he’s got two.
  • He never fails to hit the target – but that was a miss.
  • Sir Bobby to Bryan Robson: Good morning, Bobby. Bryan: You’re Bobby, I’m Bryan!

Bill Shankley

  • Some people think football is a matter of life and death — but I assure you, it’s much more serious than that
  • He has football in his blood – the disappointed scout complained. You may be right, Shanks said, but it hasn’t reached his legs yet.

Kevin Keegan

  • They compare Steve McManaman to Steve Highway and he’s nothing like him, but I can see why – because he’s a bit different.
  • The good news for Nigeria is that they’re two-nil down very early in the game.
  • I came to Nantes two years ago and it’s much the same today, except that it’s totally different.
  • The 33 or 34-year-olds will be 36 or 37 by the time the next World Cup comes around, if they’re not careful.
  • Goalkeepers aren’t born today until they’re in their late 20s or 30s and sometimes not even then
  • I’m not disappointed – just disappointed
  • We deserved to win this game after hammering them 0-0 in the first half.
  • Argentina won’t be at Euro 2000 because they’re from South America.
  • There’s a slight doubt about only one player, and that’s Tony Adams, who won’t be playing tomorrow

Brian Clough

  • I wouldn’t say I’m the best manager but I’m in the top one
  • They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I wasn’t on that particular job
  • If I had an argument with a player we would sit down for twenty minutes, talk about it and then decide I was right!
  • The river Trent is lovely, I know because I have walked on it for 18 years
  • Walk on water? I know most people out there will be saying that instead of walking on it, I should have taken more of it with my drinks. They are absolutely right
  • Football hooligans – well, there are 92 club chairmen for a start
  • I can’t even spell spaghetti never mind talk Italian. How could I tell an Italian to get the ball? He might grab mine.

Sir Alex Ferguson

  • If we can play like that every week, we’ll get some level of consistency
  • As with every young player, he’s only 18 — talking about a young David Beckham
  • Cole should be scoring from those distances, but I’m not going to single him out.


  • I never comment on referees and I’m not going to break the habit of a lifetime for that prat – Ron Atkinson
  • Jean Tigana has spent the entire first half inside Liam Brady’s shortsJimmy Magee
  • I couldn’t settle in Italy – it was like living in a foreign country – Ian Rush, (ex-Liverpool) when asked how he enjoyed his time at Juventus
  • That’s great, tell him he’s Pele, and get him back on – John Lambie, Partick Thistle Manager, when told his concussed striker did not know who he was
  • It took a lot of bottle for Tony to own up – Ian Wright, on the Arsenal captain’s confession to alcoholism
  • I hear Glenn Hoddle has found God, that must have been one hell of a pass Jasper Carrott

If you have any funny quotes that you’ve come by or lists similar to this one, please drop a link in the comments!

Manchester United / Barcelona midfield target, Keano and Sunderland, Becks out of Europe XI
Larsson to play against Manchester United for Europe XI


  1. “When he was dribbling, he used to go through a minefield with his arm, a bit like you go through a supermarket.” Bobby Robson, on Paul Gascoigne

    “Their football was exceptionally good – and they played some good football.” Bobby Robson

    “Well, we got nine and you can’t score more than that.” Bobby Robson

    “Maybe not goodbye, but farewell…” Bobby Robson

    “Home advantage gives you an advantage.” Bobby Robson

    “Eighteen months ago they (Sweden) were arguably one of the best three teams in Europe, and that would include Germany, Holland, Russia and anybody else if you like.” Bobby Robson

    “Players only understand substitutions when they become managers.” Bobby Robson

    “They can’t change any of their players, but they have changed one of their players and that’s the coach.” Bobby Robson

    “They’ve probably played better than they’ve ever done for a few weeks.” Bobby Robson

    “Gary Speed has never played better, never looked fitter, never been older.” Bobby Robson

    “Where do you get an experienced player like him with a left foot and a head?” Bobby Robson

    “In a year’s time, he’s a year older.” Bobby Robson

    “Some of the goals were good, some of the goals were sceptical.” Bobby Robson

    “Anything from 1-0 to 2-0 would be a nice result.” Bobby Robson

    “The margin is very marginal.” Bobby Robson

    “We’ve got nothing to lose, and there’s no point losing this game.” Bobby Robson

    “I thought that individually and as a pair, they’d do better together.” Bobby Robson

    “Everyone’s got tough games coming up. Manchester United have got Arsenal, Arsenal have got Manchester United and Leeds have got Leeds.” Bobby Robson

    “We don’t have to play them every week, although we do play them next week.” Bobby Robson

    “Until we’re out of the Champions’ League we’re still in it.” Bobby Robson

    “I said to the lads at halftime, I said, there was nothing to say.” Bobby Robson

    “Practice makes permanent.” Bobby Robson
    “We’ve got great speed in the team, not just Gary Speed, but great speed!” Bobby Robson

    “Now we’ve got Southgate…” Bobby Robson, on signing Jonathan Woodgate

    “He’s the only man I know who could start an argument with himself.” Bobby Robson, on Graig Bellamy

  2. Wednesday 30th September 2009

    Nottingham Forest 2 Scunthorpe 0 in the English Championship league

    BBC match report

    Scunthorpe boss Nigel Adkins:

    “The goals changed the game for us.’

    ‘At 0-0 we had a chance, but they scored and that was that. We’re disappointed because we could have got something out of the game.

    “We want to play football and we’ve tried to do that this season. It didn’t pay off tonight, but we’re really enjoying the challenge.”

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