Every now and then I like to look at the collected quotes of British football as punted on the BBC website to gauge the state of the game. After all football managers are interviewed incessantly, and as a large group of people there are always a few of them who spit out fruity and downright stupid missives. If you add to this the large number of hopeless sports journalists who ask stupid or banal questions you have a recipe for a handy box in every newspaper every week. But the quotes are not just from the great Northern plain speakers*, the European influx of “great thinker” types like Mourinho and Wenger have perked up the scene. So it is amusing when the oft fined for saying ref’s are crap Arsene Wenger says, “They have my credit card number, and we will say ‘how much do you need this week? Let’s do it’.” about another FA fine.

I daresay others might find this Wenger quote amusing too. When asked about the number of international games he has to release players for, he muses as follows: “You now have Gibraltar who want to come in. Why not Barnet? It is the same.” Now it is poor form to pick up the factual accuracy of what a football manager says in the heat of the moment. So I shall do it. Five ways in which Barnet is unlike Gibraltar.

1: Climate. Gibraltar is on the southern coast of Spain, enjoying a temperate climate. North London less so.
2: Coastline: Gibraltar is lapped by the Mediterranean, with a view to Morocco. The river Brent rises in Barnet, and then scarpers.
3: Population: Barnet has a population of 300,000. Gibraltar 30,000.
4: Rampant Nationalism: Gibraltar is the British enclave, constantly under threat from Spain, strategically important. The government just cut the central grant to Barnet council again, but no BNP councillors!
5: Apes: Gibraltar have shit throwing apes on a big rock. Barnet – oh, maybe not so different.

Why not pick on the Isle Of Wight Wenger?

Further down on the quotes it is interesting to see the pop-songs which are currently being co-opted into football chants. Always tricky, it appears that two mentioned might have legs. The chant “They try to take the ball past Nyron, he says no, no, no!” from Sunderland seems tenuous but pretty well adapted from Amy Winehouse’s Rehab (a song which should appeal to most football fans anyway). It may have legs. But I expect to see “What’s that coming over the hill? It’s relegation, it’s relegation!” for seasons to come.

*Mick McCarthy: after losing six nil being asked “Is this a one off” replying: “I fucking hope so”.