LONDON: Bill Shankly felt soccer was more important than life and death, and fans around the world agree with the former Liverpool manager yesterday.
Scotsman Shankly, who died of a heart attack in 1981, beat former Manchester United and France forward Eric Cantona in a poll organised by the Plain English Campaign to pick soccers most memorable quote.
Shankly struck a chord when he said: Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. Im very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.
Campaign spokesman Dave Smith said: We surveyed 10,000 supporters in 80 countries. They really liked the power of the Shankly quote.
Votes for him peaked after England went out to Portugal in the quarter-finals (of the World Cup). It described their passion for football. We got votes from all over, from Australia, America, all English-speaking countries.
Shanklys passionate commitment to the game gave him top spot above Cantona, who once bewildered fans by saying: When the seagulls follow the trawler, its because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.
Third place went to former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne for saying: I never predict anything and I never will.
BBC commentator John Motson took two of the top-10 spots.
I think this could be our best victory over Germany since the War, said Motson, who also once declared that the World Cup is a truly international event.
Former Manchester United great George Best, famous for his passion for the good life, was at number eight in the poll for saying: I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.
Smith said: We have been conducting the poll throughout the World Cup and thought the final was the perfect time to publish it.
Italy play against France in the final in Berlin tomorrow.
The Plain English Campaign is an independent group whichurges clearer information in public documents.
Each year it takes great delight in naming and shaming bureaucrats, politicians and companies who mangle the language into incomprehensibility. Reuters