14 times football players, managers & directors were too honest: Arnold…
They say honesty is the best policy, but when it comes to football and, more pertinently, football fans, sometimes that really is not the case.
Deep down, all football fans know there are more important things in life than how often their team wins in a season. It’s about much more than the 90 minutes, after all.
That doesn’t mean, however, that we’re immune from getting wound up from time to time – and some of this lot were skating on the thinnest of thin ice…
In June 2022, the Manchester United Chief Executive Officer was secretly filmed discussing the club’s recent failings in a pub garden in Cheshire.
“I’m not thrilled with where we are,” Arnold said. “It doesn’t sit easy and we’ve got to get it sorted for the future.
“What’s happened is, we’ve f*cking burned through cash. You can’t go to our training ground and say, ‘By the way, show me where that billion pounds [spent on players over the past decade] is here.’ I don’t think we’ve done well with the money we’ve spent.”
While United fans will likely agree with the sentiment, it is a tad worrying to hear the club’s head honcho so speaking so frankly. Indeed it makes you wonder why more wasn’t curtail the excesses if they could see things weren’t working.
Arnold certainly won’t have pleased the Glazer family with his boozy candidness.
“I did my best, the players did their best. We tried, we lost and that is football.”
As much as we love football, we won’t argue with Mourinho’s rhetoric that it’s just a game. We all have to put up with our team losing from time to time.
He might have gone a bit far with the real talk after they were knocked out of the Champions League in 2018 by Sevilla, though…
“I sat in this chair twice in the Champions League after knocking out Manchester United at Old Trafford. In this chair with Porto and Real Madrid, they are out both times. It is not something new for the club.”
We’re not sure what happened to Rose in August 2017, but The Sun clearly caught him on a bad day.
“Time is running out and I want to win trophies,” he said. Fair enough.
“I will say this too, I will play up north. I don’t know exactly when but I will get back up north and play some football somewhere.” He’s getting into it now, but he’s a Northern lad so again, fair enough.
“If something came to me that was concrete, I’d have no qualms about voicing my opinions to anyone at the club.” OK Danny, maybe dial it down a bit now.
“I know my worth and I will make sure I get what I am worth.” You’re really not coming across that well now, mate. We’ll do you a favour and change the subject. What would you like Spurs to do this transfer window?
“I am not saying buy ten players, I’d love to see two or three – and not players you have to Google and say, ‘Who’s that?’ I mean well-known players.” We give up.
There were several instances in the summer of 2017 of players telling fans exactly how they felt.
Gibson was the most spectacular, telling Sunderland supporters while somewhat worse for wear: “We’re sh*t. Of course I’m bothered, I don’t want to be sh*t…There are too many people at the club who don’t give a f*ck.”
Being one of the best two players in the world has its drawbacks. Namely that your team-mates just aren’t likely to be as good as you.
Ronaldo certainly expressed that problem after third-place Real Madrid were beaten by city rivals Atletico Madrid in February 2016, saying: “If we were all at my level, maybe we would be leaders.”
Chelsea were criticised for a lack of depth in the build-up to the 2017-18 season and the difference between their squad and Arsenal’s for the Community Shield certainly caught the eye of Cahill.
“The back of the programme was interesting,” he deadpanned, chiming with the reported grievances of his manager, Antonio Conte.
We love McCarthy. There, we said it.
When asked whether some people might be frustrated by Ipswich Town’s 1-1 draw at Leeds in 2014, McCarthy had a rather succinct answer: “Some people can f*ck off.”
And another big Mick special, after a Neil Collins own goal in the opening minute gifted Reading a 1-0 win at Wolves in January 2009: “It was a crap start to a game. There you have it, can you print all that?
“F**king rubbish, absolute tosh. Drivel. Sh*te. Bullsh*t. That’s what I thought of it. Did that help? I’m quite pleased, apart from the fact that’s given them the poxy result, I’m f**king livid about it – of course I am. So, there you have it.”
Icardi has had a difficult relationship with Inter fans to say the least, with some of their ultras snatching his shirt and shorts which he was offering to a young supporter and throwing them back in the striker’s face.
The Argentina international responded in his controversial autobiography, writing: “How many are there [fans]? 50? 100? 200? Okay, I will bring over 100 criminals from Argentina and they will kill them on the spot. Then we’ll see.”
Okay, this one definitely oversteps the mark.
In truth, we could devote this whole article to Barton and his quotes – when they’re not Morrissey’s or Nietzsche’s – but we’ll just leave it at this one on his former Newcastle manager, Alan Shearer.
“I really don’t like that pr*ck, in fact I honestly despise him…I’d take it off Hansen and Lineker but not from that bell, same fella that stamped on Neil Lennon, then threatened FA if they banned him.”
Gallas’ spell at Arsenal was rather turbulent, and things reached a crisis point in November 2008 when, as captain, he criticised the attitude of some of the club’s young players.
“We have to understand that to be champions, you have to play big matches every weekend and fight,” he said. “We are coming up against teams who are not scared to play football against us, who are not scared to take us on at our place, and this is becoming dangerous for Arsenal. We are not brave enough in battle. I think we need to be soldiers.”
A day later the defender was stripped of the captaincy.
Hodgson’s reputation as boring precedes the manager, but as we were told by his former player Hannes Sigurdsson, he is anything but.
Our favourite story came as Sigurdsson was attracting interest while playing under Hodgson at Norwegian outfit Viking.
“I had offers from Stoke and some other clubs from England and Germany. Roy came to me again to try to talk me out of this. ‘It would be good for you to stay here with us,’ he said. ‘I would love you to stay.’
“But I wanted to leave, so I just looked at him and asked, ‘Boss, what would you do if you were me?’
“‘I’d fuck off,’ he said and started laughing. So that was that. I went to England.”
A classic from the former Peterborough manager, who revealed what he said to his players before a League Cup tie.
“I’ve told the players we need to win so that I can have the cash to buy some new ones.”
Brede Hangeland & Emmanuel Adebayor
After retiring, Hangeland gave an interview in which he selected an XI of the laziest players he played with and against, with the highlight being this particular section on Adebayor.
“I played for Fulham and he played for Spurs. We were attacking and I was marking Adebayor in the midfield, suddenly he says ‘Ah, I’m hungry.’
“I replied, ‘What?’
“I can’t wait for the game to finish, I’m so hungry. Do you know a good restaurant in London, Hangeland?”
Despite an impressive partnership on the pitch, Cole infamously did not get on with fellow Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham and pulled no punches in his autobiography.
“I was devastated when Teddy Sheringham signed for United because I couldn’t stand him.”