Often it's the men at the top who provide more entertainment than those on the pitch, as Richard Edwards explains...
1. “THEY CAN DIE!”
To say Atletico Madrid supremo Jesus Gil was a man who struggled to contain his emotions would be a gross understatement. Shortly after having a pacemaker fitted in 2003, Gil ranted on-air that: “There are too many bloody passengers in this team! They can die!” When told by the presenter that it might be good for his ticker to relax, he responded with the most physiologically impossible nonsense since Roy Keane told Mick McCarthy to “stick it up your bollocks”. “They can stick my heart up their arses!” thundered Gil. He died a year later.
2. Bates berates Roman’s mate
Looking like Santa’s furious, red-faced uncle, Ken Bates’ stint as Chelsea chairman was never short of scandal, and at a boozy £35-a-head supper club in 2008, the pressure of Roman Abramovich’s attempts to squeeze him out of Stamford Bridge became too much. Bates ranted that Roman’s deal-maker Pini Zahavi was “a d***head”: he was handed a one-way Tube ticket out of Fulham Broadway shortly afterwards.
3. A sorry apology
Earlier this year, irascible Steaua Bucharest chairman Gigi Becali hosted a press conference to clear the air with “everyone he had offended this year”. He started with a sensitive plea to sexual minorities. “I apologise to them. It’s their problem, their disease, not mine.” That sorted, he moved on to the fans. “I’m sorry. Apart from the ones who called for me to die just before Easter. They are possessed by Satan.” Job done.
4. Pay up Pompey, Pompey pay up…
After picking up 11 points from a possible 45 in March 2002, Pompey owner Milan Mandaric took drastic action against men he labelled as “non-triers” – by refusing to pay them. “We won only one match in February and that was against Coventry,” raved the Serbian tycoon. “I regard it as extortion." The PFA’s Gordon Taylor was unimpressed. “It’s like going back to the dark ages,” he said. Mandaric’s response? “The only mistake I made was making it public.”
5. “You’re a bunch of chuckers”
Life was never dull at Darlington with George Reynolds at the helm – and Mrs R had a crazy-talking potty mouth on her, too. In 2002 she turned up at a fans’ forum, but failed to win hearts or minds when she hinted that the Darlo players had thrown matches. The players stormed out, but her husband was in no mood to placate them. “If these players don’t like what I or my wife has said, they can f*** off,” he grumbled. Which they already had.