SLEDGING, trash-talking, plain old verbal insults – everyone loves a sportsperson who can tongue-lash an opponent (or spectator) with wit and eloquence. Here’s a killer collection of sporting one-liners.
No one sledges like an Aussie, as Phil Tufnell found out during an Ashes Test down under when a spectator shouted, “Oi Tufnell, can I borrow your brain? I’m building an idiot.”
Former England batting titan Graham Gooch prefers slating his own team-mates. When big-boned Mike Gatting was famously bamboozled by Shane Warne’s ‘ball of the century’ in 1993 Gooch said, ”If it had been a cheese roll it would never have got past him.”
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The trash talk
Muhammad Ali mastered the pre-fight put-down, annihilating opponents with a microphone before rearranging their features in the ring. “Joe Frazier is so ugly he should donate his face to the US Bureau Of Wildlife,” was one of his best.
You’d expect that kind of talk in boxing. But dainty, polite tennis? Surely not. Well yes. The sport has a surprisingly proud history of sharp-tongued servers, none better than John McEnroe who once screamed at a spectator, “What problems do you have, apart from being unemployed, a moron and a dork?”
The back-handed compliment
Paying compliments doesn’t come easy to your average limelight-hogging sporting great. When David Beckham came along, George Best said, “He cannot kick with his left foot, he cannot head a ball, he cannot tackle and he doesn’t score many goals. Apart from that he’s all right.”
And Muhammad Ali once told an up-and-coming young boxer, “If they can make penicillin out of mouldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”
Football coach Giovanni Trapattoni poked a verbal finger in Paolo Di Canio’s eye when asked if the wayward striker would be selected for Italy’s World Cup qualifying squad. “Only if there’s an outbreak of bubonic plague,” he replied.
While tennis hottie Maria Sharapova stuck her claws into court and modelling-contract rival Anna Kournikova, claiming, “I’m not the next Kournikova – I want to win matches.”
Think you know any sporting sledges that blow this lot out of the water? Let us know by leaving a comment below. And follow sport, TV and film chit-chat at Twitter/@tvfrombt