English Football-Speak: A Guide for the Perplexed – II

I’m not going to dwell on individual errors. Football is a team game and, at the end of the day, we all have to take responsibility” –  “I can’t believe that useless plank has made such a stupid mistake and cost us the game again! The hairdryer treatment is too good for him – I wish I could just throttle the bastard!”

The hairdryer treatment – Being shouted at by the gaffer. Especially Sir Alex Ferguson.

Top –  Good.

Top, top –  Very good.

Top, top, top –  Excellent.

Top, top, top, top –  World class. See, for example: Strachan, Gordon; “Obviously, Steven Gerrard can do that, because he’s a top, top, top, top player.” See also, ‘Big, big (game/decision)’.

Bantz –  Banter (abbr.).

Top bantz – Robbie Savage, being a twat.

Lamps –  Frank Lampard.

‘Super’  Frank Lampard –  Frank Lampard.

Frank Lampard Sr. –  Frank Lampard’s dad.

Half a yard – The only unit of distance that football pundits know. Examples of usage: “He’s missed the goal by half a yard” = “His shot almost went for a throw”; “And you can just see, he’s about half a yard offside” = “He was so far offside when the ball was played that the last defender couldn’t have taken him out of the game with an AK47.” See also, ‘forty yards’, the only unit of distance that football commentators know; for example, whenever a player unleashes a ‘screamer’ (a powerful, well struck shot from outside the penalty area), the commentator will invariably observe, “And he just lashed it, from a full forty yards.”

A little tweak –  A seemingly innocuous injury, after which the legendary Liverpool striker will never be quite the same player again.

And you have to say, their fans have been just wonderful”  –  “Their national team’s performance at the finals of this major international tournament has been a humiliating flop and an unmitigated disaster at every level, but the fans seem like nice people, and I’m trying really hard to think of something positive to say to discourage them from committing ritual suicide on the spot, at the final whistle.” See, for example: Republic of Ireland.

The rivalry between these two sets of fans has always been a bit tasty”  – “Do not take your children to this fixture. Ever.”

‘He might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no denying his abilities on the pitch’ –“He’s an arrogant little prick who gets paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to kick a ball around, and has a twenty-two year old Venezuelan girlfriend who makes Helen of Troy look like the drug-ravaged bass player from a recently reformed eighties punk band. I hate him with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns.” *

Triffic”  – Slightly above average journeyman player. See, for example: any player Harry Redknapp has signed for more than one club.

You know what you get with (insert footballer’s name)  – “He’s shit.” See, again: Redknapp, Harry. Preferably with the window of his car rolled down.

A useful player – British understatement; he’s fantastic.

A bit of a joker – A complete knob.

A proper full back – A deeply scary man. See, for example: Pearce, Stuart; Atherton, Peter.

A good old-fashioned centre forward –  A hulking great clod of a bloke with the first touch of an African elephant, who spends so much time throwing his weight around in the penalty area that every so often the ball bounces off his head and into the net. Typically, the man upon whom England’s hopes rest whenever we qualify for a World Cup.

He can do a job for us”  –  “We both know he’s ready for the knacker’s yard, but the club is about to go into administration and we’ve only got one left back on the books.”

“We try to play football the right way” – “We know we have no chance of staying up, so we might as well win some brownie points by passing the ball around prettily and scoring the odd nice goal as we stumble from defeat to defeat.”

“We’ll stick to our philosophy” – See above.

A breath of fresh air – A club playing nice football while in the process of getting relegated straight back to the Championship.

A luxury player – A good player at a club whose fans, out of respect for tradition, only want shit players at their club.

Trophy drought – See ‘Newcastle United.’

Beckford Syndrome – A strange condition in which a crap striker starts finding the back of the net on a surprisingly regular basis – but only in matches that his team goes on to lose. Nota bene, this affliction is named in honour of the former Oldham Athletic player Darren Beckford, rather than Leed’s United’s Old Trafford-conquering hero Jermaine.

“Weurgh, triffic!” – An involuntary vocal spasm emitted by Harry Redknapp while doing the washing up, or pottering around in the garden. Often accompanied by a sharp bobbing movement of the bonce, as if he’s heading an imaginary football.


* Credit to Diane from Cheers for the ‘white hot intensity’ line, which I seem to remember her directing at Sam, though in what episode or context, I cannot recall!

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