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Here are 13 of our favourite sporting anecdotes

Including Niall Quinn on Jack Charlton and various people on a young Jonah Lomu.

1. Trigger on Roy Keane at the 94 World Cup

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2. Brian Clough on Peter Taylor

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3. Alex Ferguson on Paul Gascoigne

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4. Charlie Sheen on Lance Armstrong

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5. Alan Quinlan on Declan Kidney

The room is quiet when Deccie wheels in a TV monitor and video machine. The lads look at each other. What the hell is going on? Are we going over tapes of the opposition?

“I want you to watch this lads,” says Deccie. “Just watch.”

So, for the next couple of hours, the entire Munster squad, a team supposedly in search of their first Heineken Cup trophy and ravenous for another big-name scalp, sit back in their seats and watch fluffy little bundles of golden fur romp across the screen as we view ‘The Lion King’.

Tempting though it might have been to make a joke or say something smart, no one utters a word — this is a Deccie Kidney production, so everyone is concentrating hard on exactly what kind of message Simba, Timon and Pumba are delivering.

In the end, he called it exactly right showing us the movie, because we beat Saracens on their home ground in a tough encounter.

I think they’d have been mortified if they’d known that Munster’s secret weapon had been ‘The Lion King’.

From Red Blooded: The Alan Quinlan Autobiography

6. Niall Quinn on Jack Charlton

“We all shuffled into Harry Ramsden’s. Jack is a shareholder. Packie or Paul or somebody cut a ribbon and officially opened the place. So the night before the game, after a week of drink, I settled down to fish and chips. Gary Kelly took the Harry Ramsden’s Challenge and ate a fish about a yard long and a mountain of chips and anything else they challenged him with. He thought there’d be a certificate but he got a free dessert instead, which he duly ate. Jack herded us out pronto. Twenty minutes later, it’s dusk at Lansdowne Road and we’re all waddling about the pitch, groaning, full of fish and chips and trying to do a training session the night before this must-win game. We’re burping and farting and creased over with laughter. Our main thought was it’s been a happy era and it’s ending soon.”

From Niall Quinn: The Autobiography

7. Wayne Rooney on Ronaldo

He loves his clothes, and the clobber he wears is super expensive and covered in shiny logos – Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, you name it. He’s swaggered into training, looking immaculate from head to foot. He must spend a fortune on his wardrobe, but Ronaldo’s biggest love is football.

He tells us he wants to be the best player in the world, that he’s desperate to be the greatest.

Ronnie’s ambition isn’t just talk either. In the changing rooms before the 2006/07 season I notice something different about him.

He’s bigger. He’s come back from the World Cup in Germany muscly and beefed up, like he’s been on the weights all summer.

On the pitch in pre-season, he’s started cutting out the fancy tricks and flicks, and finding an end product to his mazy runs.

I know one thing: this change in Ronaldo hasn’t come about by luck. He works bloody hard.

When I watch him train or see him scoring great goals for fun in pre-season friendlies, I think he really could become the best player in the world.

From Wayne Rooney: My Decade in the Premier League

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8. Chris O’Dowd on Shane Curran and John Newton

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9. Various people on a young Jonah Lomu

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10. John Aldridge and Jack Charlton on that infamous FIFA official

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11. The Irish rugby players on Martin Johnson

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12. Tony Cascarino on Italia 90

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13. Muhammad Ali on Joe Frazier

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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