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"Football is not a matter of life and death, it is more important than that."

Bill Shankly, Liverpool Football manager

Sport in “quotes”,

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Sport in “quotes”, Lewes, Ammonite Press, 2011. ISBN 978-1-90770-852-7

This lovely book is a history of sport in quotes and photos. It has 184 pages, each with a sporting quotation supported by a brief context statement and a contemporary photo. The oldest is William Foulke in1894 and the newest Tiger Woods in 2010.

Quotations are serious or funny, classic and esoteric. In the year that England’s women’s cricket team established themselves as World Champions, Len Hutton’s “Ladies playing cricket – absurd. Just like a man trying to knit” 1950s remark now appears a little embarrassing.

Bill Shankly’s famous: “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you it is much more serious than that” is included.

Also Gary Lineker’s: “Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.”

There are what used to be known as “Colmanballs”: Ron Pickering apparently once said in commentary, “Mary Decker Slaney, the world’s greatest front runner. I shouldn’t be surprised to see her at the front”. And one from the master, David Coleman, himself, “We estimate, and this isn’t an estimation, that Greta Waitz is 80 seconds behind”.

Inevitably Brian Johnston makes an appearance: “Welcome to Leicester where the captain Ray lllingworth has just relieved himself at the pavilion end”.

Jonathan Edwards makes it into the book twice: “It’s only jumping into a sandpit” and “I was always dismissive of sports psychology when I was competing, but I now realize that my belief in God was sports psychology in all but name”.

My favourite is Gareth Chilcott’s quip to Dai Young: “Do that again son and you will live up to your name”.

As this website specializes in the relationship been sport and Christianity, we were amused to read Fred Trueman’s comment after Rev David Sheppard had dropped a catch: “You might keep your eyes shut when you’re praying, Vicar, but I wish you would keep them open when I’m bowling”.



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