The transfer window is firmly closed, we’re into the pivotal point of the season with leagues, tournaments and cups on the line, VAR is causing controversy all over the place and the World Cup is on the horizon, and yet which stories are still dominating the headlines? Transfer rumours of course.
Like it or hate it, nobody can deny the importance of transfers in modern day football – not only do they play a huge part in teams being strengthened or weakened, but the big money involved helps to fill the pockets of agents as well as to sell newspapers and garner clicks on football news sites.
Unsurprisingly then, some of the most memorable quotes in football have been on the subject of transfers, whether they’ve come from angry managers, disgruntled or ecstatic players, or indeed, agents representing their players. Here are ten of the most memorable.
#1 John Gregory on Dwight Yorke’s transfer to Manchester United, 1998
“If I’d had a gun, I would’ve shot him”
We go all the way back to 1998 for this classic. Aston Villa striker Dwight Yorke had been linked with a move to Manchester United for months going into the 1998/99 season, with United boss Alex Ferguson openly stating his admiration for the Trinidadian star. But Villa boss John Gregory didn’t want to sell for anything less than either a huge fee or a star like David Beckham in exchange.
That clearly wasn’t going to happen and unfortunately for Gregory, “player power” reared its ugly head when Yorke refused to sign a new contract at Villa and decided to beg Gregory and the club’s chairman Doug Ellis to allow him to move. Eventually, a £12.6m fee was decided on and Yorke was on his way to Old Trafford.
When asked about his meeting with Yorke, Gregory uttered a truly incredible quote – “A couple of weeks ago Dwight openly stated to me that he wanted to play for Manchester United and not Aston Villa. That really hurt me, and if I had had a gun I would have shot him.”
It hardly kept things in perspective, but it showed just how much Gregory cared about the future of his beloved Villa, and remains one of the wildest transfer-related quotes in football history.