Seeing The Funny Side Of Sport

Chris PotterCorrespondent IJune 24, 2008

Ex-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho once replied to a question about the dubious state of Chelsea's Stamford Bridge pitch with the following pearl of wisdom:

"Sometimes you see beautiful people with no brains. Sometimes you have ugly people who are intelligent, like scientists."

Struggling to see the logic? You're not the only one.

Having lost two of the most enigmatic and witty coaches in modern-day football in Martin Jol and Jose Mourinho from my television screen within 2 months of the start of the 2007-08 Premier League campaign, I desperately asked myself who could provide me with similar amusement—often bemusement—on such a regular basis?

Sure, Ian Holloway and Gordon Strachan have never been known for their tact or their diplomacy, with the former once comparing the performance of his players with a soft core porn movie. Lots of foreplay but nothing going on...well, I'll let you work out the rest.

But there is something different and intriguing about a funny remark; an unusual line when it comes from the mouth of a stranger.

Foreigners have a way with the English language that may often seems stilted (understandable of course) but which is nevertheless charming and endearing.

It may be that we as football fans who are accustomed to the demoralisingly dull and monontonous bore-mongers who have plagued our screens for years, let these foreigners off more easily for their mischief and bravado and even warm to their cheeky chappy charm even if we do secretly think they are arrogant scoundrels.  

After all, Jose Mourinho is to George Graham as a passion fruit is to a satsuma. He is the exotic other.

He may not be the taste of the day to some, he may be pricey and awkward but he is undoubtedly exotic. His personality is infectious, his character has many layers and nuances and he will leave a lasting impression.

Compare Mourinho's wild and passionate reaction to Porto's Champions League  win over Man Utd in 2003 or to Drogba's goal in the Nou Camp with the sorry figure that Steven McClaren cut under his umbrella or the still-life portrait that is Sven Goran Eriksson. 

He is clearly a man that is not afraid to show his emotions but also one who packs a punch with his words. He also had a witty riposte to unnerving questions and left many a journalist wincing and red-faced, ruing their decision to take on the "special one," a title he famously gave himself.

So, to the debate.

Who is the funniest sportsman/woman to have ever graced our television screens?

What is the funniest all-time sporting quote (by either a sporting great or someone else)?

Is humour an essential asset in a sporting world where it is increasingly difficult to step out  from the pressure cooker and have a laugh and enjoy the moment?

A trans-Atlantic view of things would be greatly appreciated here as I can only call on my somewhat limited sporting experience and domain.

My personal favourite is the following:

"I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out," Rodney Dangerfield

The funniest character I have come across is one-time cricket commentator and Indian test match batsman Najvot Sing Sidhu. Always different, always entertaining, he came out with many an amusing comment, including 'It is easy to criticise an egg but difficult to lay one' and 'Curry is a worry'. Deep!

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