What a shame. Two of the top seeds pitted against each other in the first round. When it comes to memorable quotes, these two are super-heavyweights in a division of lightweight pretenders.
Famous bloodhound impersonator, ‘Appy ‘Arry Redknapp has been trading blows with the big boys since his West Ham days, while Blackpool gaffer, Ian ‘Ollie’ Holloway used to be more famous as a walking oddball and quote machine than as a football manager.
So here we go, it’s Nadal v Federer, it’s Senna v Prost, it’s Barry Town v Total Network Solutions… it’s Redknapp v Holloway in the hotly-anticipated first round match-up of the internationally-famous and widely-admired Transfer Tavern Quote-Off.
‘Arry’s a cock-er-ney, ain’t he. The classic barrow-boy done good, Redknapp’s quotes are often sprinkled with a liberal helping of obscenities and an underlying sarcasm that have the press boys in turns chastised and amused.
“My missus could’ve scored that, to be fair”
The blunt, and accurate, reaction to a spectacular miss by now Aston Villa star man Darren Bent for Spurs against Portsmouth in January 2009. Funnily enough, Bent left the club that summer; rumours that he’d lost a game of keepy-up with Ledley King’s gran are largely unfounded.
“Most of them are crap. They can f***ing make anyone look good. I signed Marco Boogers off a video. He was a good player but a nutter. They didn’t show that on the video.”
A typically open assessment of the uncertain merits of using video as the sole factor in choosing players. Boogers, appalled at this unfair character assassination, proved everyone wrong by, er… going to live in a caravan.
“Even when they had Moore, Hurst and Peters, West Ham’s average finish was about 17th. It just shows how crap the other 8 of us were“
Harry excuses West Ham’s World Cup winners from the club’s poor performances, by laying the blame at his own doorstep; what a gent.
“Samassi Abou don’t speak the English too good“
A master of irony, ‘Arry’s London roots come to the surface with his pot and kettle judgement of Premier league hero, Samassi Abou’s standard of the Queen’s.
“Hartson’s got more previous than Jack the Ripper“
It might be an oft-used phrase, but it’s a rare occasion when a football manager says it about his own player; Harry laying bare the misdemeanours of John Hartson’s past.
Despite taking Blackpool to the heady heights of the Premier League, Holloway’s managerial reputation is secondary in football fans’ minds to his standing as a niche nut-job. A favourite for the title, Holloway started his quoting career with some early classics at QPR and Plymouth, before really coming into his own in the last eighteen months with the Tangerines, this contender could have what it takes to bring the belt to Bloomfield Road.
“In the first-half we were like the Dog and Duck, in the second-half we were like Real Madrid. We can’t go on like that. At full-time I was at them like an irritated Jack Russell.”
Following Blackpool’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace, we have a nice pub team analogy followed up by a typically colourful description of his approach to the full time team talk; let’s just hope he avoided fouling on the pitch, down boy!
“If you’re a burglar, it’s no good poncing about outside somebody’s house, looking good with your swag bag ready. Just get in there, burgle them and come out. I don’t advocate that obviously, it’s just an analogy.”
Discussing scraping a win, Ollie explains the need to act quickly and score goals when you get the chance, while inadvertently promoting burglary. Priceless.
“I love Blackpool. We’re very similar. We both look better in the dark.”
As the Golden Mile lights up in the evening, Blackpool’s worn-down arcades take on a new, vibrant sheen; and in the dark you can’t see Ian Holloway’s face. Short, simple and correct, nice work Ollie.
“You never count your chickens before they hatch. I used to keep parakeets and I never counted every egg thinking I would get all eight birds. You just hoped they came out of the nest box looking all right. I’m like a swan at the moment. I look fine on top of the water but under the water my little legs are going mad.”
A messy menagerie of bird-based metaphor and simile, Holloway takes a well-worn metaphor, transforms it into real life parakeet-husbandry and delves back into the big book of clichés with the swan comment. Extraordinary stuff and a straight red for serious fowl play. (Sorry).
“There was a woman in it who was quite well-endowed and two boys who used to get drunk and have a fight – it had everything for me.”
Here’s Ollie’s honest appraisal of 80s TV classic, The Dukes of Hazzard. While many a man would agree with this frank assessment, it’s maybe not the talk of top level manager. Can you imagine Arsene Wenger commenting on his love for The A-Team, or Alex Ferguson discussing the merits of Magnum P.I.?
And relax, the fight is over. The judges agonised over every stage of this epic contest, it’s almost too close to call, but the decision had to be made and my winner of this first round battle, on points, by the narrowest of margins is: Ian Holloway.
The laid-back, sarcastic and foul-mouthed style of Redknapp has many quotable qualities, and his musings are often highly amusing, but the sheer craziness of Holloway, combined with his conspiracy theories and hilariously-laboured analogies and metaphors ought to send the Bristolian oddball through to the next round, just.