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Tuesday 17 April 2012

Premier League 20 Seasons Awards: Most Memorable Quote

Take a look at the nominees for the Most Memorable Quote in Premier League history

The Premier League is compelling both on and off the field - and many well-known sayings have originated from the competition.

A panel of leading football figures, journalists and commentators will vote for the Most Memorable Quote in the competition's history.

These are the five that made it on to the shortlist:

Eric Cantona, 1995

"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much."

The enigmatic Frenchman is known for his many philosophical musings but this intriguing statement in 1995 is the most famous of them all. The quote came in the wake of the Manchester United forward's infamous 'kung-fu' kick on a Crystal Palace fan after Cantona was sent off at Selhurst Park.

At a press conference, Cantona used this famous statement to convey his frustration at the media attention he was receiving. The words were delivered calmly and deliberately and he was so composed that he even paused for a sip of water halfway through. It was his only comment, and after finishing the brief sentence, he simply got up and walked out.

Alan Hansen, 1995

"The trick is always buy when you're strong so he needs to buy
players. You can't win anything with kids. You look at that line up Manchester United had today and Aston Villa at quarter past two when they get the team sheet, it’s just going to give them a lift and it will  happen every time he plays the kids. He's got to buy players, as simple as that."

This statement is one that the Match of the Day pundit has never been allowed to forget. It was the opening day of the 1995/96 campaign and Manchester United had just lost 3-1 to Aston Villa. Sir Alex Ferguson had begun the process of creating another title-winning team after selling experienced heads such as Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis during the summer.

The squad that started the season was full of fresh-faced youth including the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville and Phil Neville, which led to Hansen's damning verdict after that Villa Park defeat. It was far too early to write them off, however, as United's youngsters lost only five more matches to win the Premier League for the third time in four years.

Kevin Keegan, 1996

"When you do that with footballers like he said about Leeds, and when you do things like that about a man like Stuart Pearce. I've kept really quiet but I'll tell you something, he went down in my estimations when he said that. We have not resorted to that. You can tell him now, we're still fighting for this title and he's got to go to Middlesbrough and get something. And I'll tell you, honestly, I will love it if we beat them. Love it. But it really has got to me. I've voiced it live, not in front of the press or anywhere. I'm not even going to the press conference. But the battle is still on and Man United have not won this yet."

Kevin Keegan's swashbuckling Newcastle side had dominated most of the 1995/96 campaign and held a 12-point lead over their nearest rivals at one point. But never ones to throw in the towel, Manchester United had clawed their way back into the title race. With the season reaching its denouement, Alex Ferguson upped the ante with three matches to go by suggesting that other teams may not try as hard against Newcastle as they would against his side.

Keegan was furious and, asked about Ferguson's comments after the Magpies had defeated Leeds, the manager - voice cracking with emotion - launched into the famous tirade live on TV. It has become the stuff of legend. Everyone knows what happened next - Newcastle went on to draw their final two fixtures as Manchester United won the title by four points.

Sir Alex Ferguson, 2003

"We have to carry on doing our best. It's getting tickly now - squeaky-bum time, I call it. It's going to be an interesting few weeks and the standard of the Premiership is such that nothing will be easy."

The 2002/03 Premier League title race was going down to the wire with Ferguson's United going head-to-head with Arsene Wenger's Arsenal. The Gunners were eight points clear at the start of March, but this was said just as Ferguson and United had started the process of hunting down their rivals.

In the end, Manchester United won the title by five points thanks to an 18-match unbeaten run at the end of the campaign. The Scot's quote is now such an integral part of the sporting lexicon that it is used almost every time a title battle enters a crucial period.

José Mourinho, 2004

"Please don't call me arrogant because what I am saying is true. I am European champion so I am not one of the bottle. I think I am the special one."

Charismatic, stylish, gifted and quotable, the Portuguese announced himself to the British media with this memorable sentence at an astonishing press conference in London. Mourinho was speaking for the first time since being appointed Chelsea manager in 2004 and, fresh from winning the UEFA Champions League with Porto, he was understandably brimming with confidence.

The statement stuck in the minds of all the journalists present, with media outlets immediately dubbing him 'The Special One'. His extraordinary entrance into English football, and that quote in particular, gave a tantalising glimpse as to what the next three entertaining years at Stamford Bridge would be like.

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Key Points

  • Premier League is celebrating 20 Seasons
  • Awards for the greatest stars and best moments in Premier League history
  • An expert panel will decide on the Most Memorable Quote award