Happy birthday Big Ron Atkinson!

By Graham Hill

TODAY marks the birthday of one of Villa’s legendary managers Ron Atkinson.

Happy 80th Ron.

Atkinson delivered silverware to Villa Park when he was in charge – the famous League Cup victory over Manchester United when he out-thought Alex Ferguson.

But he also led Villa to place in the first ever Premier League season in 1993 – the United win followed a year a later.

Ron also brought European football to Villa on the back of both of those seasons.

As of 2015, Atkinson’s second place remains the highest-ever finish by an English manager in the Premier League, subsequently equalled by Kevin Keegan in 1995-96.

But, despite leading Villa to their first major success since their 1982 European Cup triumph, he was sacked by the late club chairman Doug Ellis after a 4-3 defeat by Wimbledon in November, 1994.

But Ron’s appearances as a TV pundit also produced a language called ‘Ron-glish’. Here are some of his more memorable quotes.

“I never comment on referees… and I’m not going to break the habit of a lifetime for that prat!”

“Liverpool will go home tonight and think ‘we could have won this 2-2’.”


“You don’t want to be giving away free-kicks in the penalty area…”

”He had acres of time there.”

“He could have done a lot better there – but full marks to the lad!”

“That boy can throw a ball further than I go on holiday!”

“The Spaniards are reduced to aiming aimless balls into the box here.”

“He sliced the ball when he had it on a plate.”

”You half fancied that to go in as it was rising and dipping at the same time.”

“They must go for it now as they have nothing to lose but the match.”

“He would have scored there, but his shot was TOO perfect.”

“If Glenn Hoddle said one word to his team at half-time, I’m sure it was concentration and focus.”

“Carlton Palmer can trap the ball further than I can kick it!”

“Ryan Giggs is running long up the backside.”

“I wouldn’t say David Ginola is the best left winger in the Premier League, but there are none better.”

“The Bulgarian players are tried and trusted. Well, I’m not sure they can be trusted.”

“I tell you what… if the Cameroons get a goal back here they’re literally going to catch on fire.”

“Well, it’s all about the two M’s: movement and positioning.”

“Davor Suker has a first touch like a camel.”

“Now that Manchester United are 2-1 down on aggregate, they are in a better position than when they started the game at 1-1.”

“Someone from the England team will have to grab the ball by the horns here.”

“If you score against Italy, you deserve a goal.”

“Scholes gets tackling wrong. He comes in so late that he arrives yesterday.”

“van Nistelrooy… predating as usual…”

“You can see the ball go past them, or the man, but you’ll never see both man and ball go past at the same time. So if the ball goes past, the man won’t, or if the man goes past they’ll take the ball.’

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