Rabbits ensuring dog's life for Mick


PLANET SOCCER:MICK McCarthy’s press conferences over the years have rarely been dull, but of late they’ve become unmissable. Last week, for example, he was asked by a valiant reporter if he thought Saturday’s home game for Wolves against relegation-threatened Plymouth would be easy.

“I’ll ask you a question,” he replied. “There’s a greyhound going through a field and he sees a rabbit. The rabbit gets up and starts running. The greyhound fancies a bit of snap, but the rabbit fancies his life. Who runs the hardest? The rabbit, absolutely! That’s been my view on life.”

And true enough, the rabbit outran the greyhound at Molineux, winning 1-0. “Let’s cut to the quick, we were hopeless,” he said.

As he put it before the game: “It’s an anagram isn’t it? If I get promoted I’m a god – and if we don’t I’m a dog.” His fate is in the paws of his sluggish greyhounds.

Quotes of the week

“The players realise that the fans deserve more from the team than 0-0 scores.”

– Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia before Saturday’s game against Fulham. Which finished 0-0.

“I must admit I have a little trouble understanding Northerners. When we talk about football the vocabulary is fairly limited, but when we get away from that it becomes more difficult.”

– England manager Fabio Capello on the long silences in his chats with Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Co.

“I love London very much. It is good to be here. I love self-irony, which is so common in England. You can look at yourselves in the mirror and say ‘how stupid I am’ – this is good to see.”

– Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink on the peculiar conversations he has with himself when he’s shaving.

“I’m proud of him. I am trying to offer some of my experience about this world of sharks that he is going to enter into. I advise him to only trust the words of his mother.”

– Arsenal’s William Gallas offers some wise words to his cousin Mathieu Bastareaud, who made his debut for the French rugby team against Wales on Friday.

End of the affair sure to prove painful

IT’S only a few weeks since we shared with you a story that appeared in the Observerabout Brazilian dancer Joana Machado and her love for Inter Milan’s striker Adriano.

Sadly, the tale was updated yesterday with news that the pair have broken up, although it should be pointed out that Adriano’s agent denied they were ever an item in the first place. Hindsight, of course, is handy, but we’re guessing Joana now regrets having Adriano’s name tattooed in the region of her tummy – “I want to be branded . . . Adriano owns me, owns my life,” she had said. Now? “I am examining tattoo-removal options – for I am my own woman.”

More quotes of the week

“I heard tales Berbatov was an arrogant snob who, after training, would just throw his dirty boots to the man who takes care of our footwear saying, ‘Clean them for me!’ No one likes such people.”

– Roman Pavlyuchenko on his dislike for former Spurs man Dimitar Berbatov.

“It would be wrong not to dream about this. I have realised that the English Premier League is exactly why you should start playing football in the first place. And Man United is the leader of it. Once your first dream comes true you must start dreaming of another target.”

– Roman Pavlyuchenko on his dream of linking up with Berbatov at Manchester United.

“What he’s saying is obscene, flippant and gross. And yet perhaps it’s no surprise coming from someone whose pinnacle of literary achievement is being able to read a sports newspaper. Mayors should never be this simple.”

– River Plate president Jose Maria Aguilar on criticism of the club by Mauricio Macri, mayor of Buenos Aires and former president of Boca Juniors. Jeez.

Tough pizza cut

YOU’D have to have some sympathy for Jeroen Verhoeven, goalkeeper with Dutch side FC Volendam. So far this season he’s conceded 59 goals in 24 games, a record that has helped ensure his side remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

Opposing fans have taken to pointing out Verhoeven is a bit on the chubby side with Ajax supporters proving particularly heartless when he visited their ground recently.

Every time Verhoeven took a kick-out thousands of Ajax devotees roared: “Oooooooooh: PIZZA!” Worse, the video is now ‘a YouTube sensation’.

Even more quotes of the week

“When Sam Allardyce and I started communicating like this when we were at Bolton we got some kind of crossed line just as we were involved in a crucial tactical decision. And instead of Big Sam telling me who he wanted subbing I got some bloke asking me if I could deliver him a pepperoni pizza.”

– Hull City manager Phil Brown. We’re guessing the poor fella is still waiting for his pizza?

“All players have their habits. Superstition exists in our sport. But this kind of thing doesn’t make you any younger.”

– Arsène Wenger on Arsenal starting the second half against Roma with nine men . . . because Kolo Toure insists on being last out of the dressingroom, and so waited for William Gallas who was receiving treatment. Bizarre? That’s the word.

“To me, it’s about not settling for second best. That’s why I came. I could be sitting at home now, still a West Ham player. No disrespect, but I don’t regret what I did.”

– Manchester City’s Craig Bellamy with a, eh, respectful tribute to his former club.