“Famous football quotes from history and literature.”
#4) “A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!”
Shakespeare’s Richard III, Act 5, Scene IV This dramatic exclamation is reportedly attributed to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson at the height of his titanic tussle with two Irish millionaires over the ownership of the racehorse ‘Rock of Gibraltar’. Fergie expresses his disbelief at the lengths to which the Irishmen are willing to go in order to get their way. They attempt to wrest control of Fergie’s Old Trafford kingdom and overthrow his regime as a dastardly act of vengeance for his claim to the sought-after steed.
#3) “The game’s afoot: Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge Cry God for Harry, England and St George!”
Shakespeare’s Henry V, Act 3, Scene 1 The closing words of a rousing pre-match team-talk by England boss Henry V during an early edition of the ‘Tournoi de France’. Around 10,000 Englishmen travelled to this game at Harfleur, near Le Havre, in the summer of 1415 to witness an emphatic away win. Such was the dominance of Henry’s men – the French were unable to break out of their own half – that the match has become known as the ‘Siege of Harfleur’. A rematch was arranged for October 1415 at Agincourt, and this again resulted in an English victory.
#2) “So will I turn her virtue into pitch, and out of her own goodness make the net”
Shakespeare’s Othello 2.3.332-4 Iago (an assistant to the Moorish supremo Othello) utters these words during a speech about his plans to ruin Cassio (Othello’s right-hand man). Iago is bitter that Cassio was selected ahead of him for the position of assistant manager of the Moorish national team and arranges a football match to resolve the issue. The game takes place during a training camp in Cyprus although the facilities are poor and they have to improvise. Cassio is sent-off for fighting, tests positive for alcohol and is sacked by Othello for bringing the game into disrepute.
#1) “You shall go to the ball”
A famous tactical remark by the fairy Godmother to Cinderella, a hitherto un-noteworthy player whose career was overshadowed by her more illustrious sisters. The words inspired Cinderella (usually left-back) to be more proactive on the field and have more influence in games. That year her small-town team enjoyed an epic cup run, which was finally ended away at Palace after she lost a boot. Ever since, small sides on cup runs have been dubbed ‘Cinderella teams’.