A Watford legend for 10 years back in the Graham Taylor heydays, Steve went onto even greater things in the 1990's when he became Professor of Footballing Vernacularisms at the University of Basingstoke. Now, along with his faithful understudy Wilf Rostron, he brings you his favourite selection of soccer slang...
Steve and Wilf's Key:
n - noun, v - verb, gaff - gaffer-talk, ply - player-talk, Pund. - classic punditry, Sch. - schoolyard slang, Sft. - serious footy term, tab - tabloidese
An actual word simply meaning 'judged'. Only ever used in football parlance.
Blast v. tab.
Use of forceful verbiage. Tabloidese, i.e. "Fergie Blasts FA Rap".
Boy Done Good Pund.
Classic punditry from former players not familiar with the queen's English like what we are. Used to describe a player who has done rather well in a game, most probably scoring.
By Mutual Consent tab.
Sacked; parted company.
Defensive tactical system to grind out dreary narrow victories, made famous in the 1960's by Inter Milan coach Helenio Herrera. Heavily influenced the Karl Rappan's Swiss Bolt system (Catenaccio being Italian for door-bolt).
Change pegs Sch.
Shouted out to alert opposition that an outfield player is about to become the goalkeeper and can now handle the ball without a peno being given.
Classic Hat-trick v.
See also Golden Hat-trick; Perfect Hat-trick.
Colin West v.
When a player in acres of space inexplicably slices a pass into the back of the nearest stand he is known to have 'done a Colin West'.
Corporate Fans tab.
See Prawn Sandwich Brigade.
Surely this is every child's favourite game. One goalie and a number of outfield players. As soon as you score a goal you go and sit behind the goal as you're through to the next round. 1 or 2 players get knocked out each round (depending on how many people are playing) until you're left with the final 2. Possible variations are single cuppie (every man for himself), double cuppie (players pair up so a bit of passing is involved) and treble cuppie (3 in a team). Favourite game of goal hangers.
Current Climate Pund. tab.
A theoretically temporary period which pervades football in terms of refereeing decisions - "that tackle was always risky in the current climate".
Early Doors Pund.
The opening minutes of a half. Another gift from Professor Atkinson.
Flawless Hat-trick v.
See German Hat-trick.
German Hat-trick v.
Three goals scored by the same player, consecutively, in one half of football, i.e. no other player should have scored a goal in between. See also: Flawless Hat-trick.
Goal-hanger n. Sch.
Person infamous for constantly Goal-hanging.
Goal-hanging v. Sch.
Refusing to do anything in a match apart from loiter around the opposition's goal mouth, waiting for a chance of a shot at goal and then taking all the glory if they score.
Glory Hunter v. Sch.
A 'fan' who swaps teams regularly to follow the most successful. In extreme cases going from Liverpool to Arsenal to Chelsea to Man Utd in the same season.
Golden Hat-trick v.
See also: Classic Hat-trick, Perfect Hat-trick.
Group of Death Pund.
The name given to a particularly tricky group of teams at a major tournament. e.g. Brazil, Argentina, Italy in 1982 or Italy, Holland, France and Romania in Euro 2008.
Hairdryer Treatment Pund. tab.
Motivational tool; A bollocking; Usually at half time and originated by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Handbags v. Pund.
Near perfect word to describe the pathetic pushing and shoving that takes place when there is some sort of fracas between players.
"He worked his socks off" gaff.
A phrase used by managers to describe the headless chicken antics of some mediocre player getting stick from supporters.
"He'll be disappointed with that" Pund.
Phrase used by pundits who are too scared to actually criticise some overpaid Jessie who couldn't hit a combine harvester with a clothes horse.
The Hole n.
A mysterious patch of ground located somewhere between a team's midfield and attacking areas. "Rooney's at his best when he's playing in the hole."
Horror Tackle Pund. tab.
A two footed, studs up challenge apparently designed to break legs, but never seemingly to do so.
Hospital Pass Pund. tab.
An under hit pass to a colleague which invites not only a strong challenge from an opponent but also an ambulance.
"I didn't see it" gaff.
Phrase used by managers, particularly French ones, to endorse correct decisions made by refs against their players.
Jumpers for Goal-posts Sch.
The method of creating temporary goal posts in the park by dumping jumpers down on the floor to indicate where posts would be, whilst ignoring the problem of the cross-bar. Imoortalised by the Fast Show character, Ron Manager.
The term given when someone absolutely smashes the ball, normally into the back of the net. Not to be confused with what can happen to you after a few post-match pints turns into a few hours...
Lollipop v. Pund.
Football skill. To move the foot quickly round the ball without touching it but making the opposition think you're going to.
Immortalised by 'Big' Ron Atkinson's legendary commentary... "One lollipop. Two lollipops. Three lollipops !"
Managerial merry-go-round tab.
Media driven football management tool for furthering stagnating careers. As used by Peter Reid, Graeme Souness, Bryan Robson, Glenn Hoddle, Steve Bruce etc.
Mutual Consent tab.
A decision by a Chairman or owner regarding a manager's future employment prospects. See also: Parted Company.
Nesh v. Sch.
To pull out of a winnable challenge - i.e. "he neshed it". Originates from North Derbyshire.
Word trained into young players to be used regularly as an opener for some bland comment they're about to provide to an interviewer.
Onion Bag n.
Panic Buy v. tab.
To make a last-minute purchase in the Transfer Window without really thinking it through.
Parted Company tab.
Perfect Hat-trick v.
Three goals scored by the same player in one match, one with the right foot, one with the left foot, and one with the head. See also: Classic Hat-trick, Golden Hat-trick.
Prawn Sandwich Brigade tab.
Corporate fans who care little about the game and understand less.
Rap v. tab.
A telling off in Tabloidese, i.e. "Fergie Cops FA Rap"
Relegation Dogfight v.
Situation where a number of clubs are battling it out to avoid relegation from a league.
Riot Act Pund. tab.
The imaginary reading of which, is used to conjure up a vision of fury from a manager towards his under-performing players, i.e. "Fergie will be reading the riot act at half-time".
Rush Goalie Sch.
Goalkeeper who is allowed to come out and score, rather than one who has to stay on his line.
Sixty Seconds Sch.
Schoolyard torture for the goalie. Goalie counts to 60 seconds whilst the outfield players attempt to score a goal passed him, the normal rules being that only headers or volleys are allowed with the occasional rule that players can also shoot from outside the box. It's up to the goalie to count up to 60, with the last 10 seconds usually providing more drama than Zico's disallowed goal from the 1978 World Cup.
Swaps v. Sch.
Duplicates in a Panini sticker collection; Swapsies.
Swapsies v. Sch.
Swiss Bolt Sft.
Defensive tactical system created by Karl Rappan back in the 1930's. Heavily influenced the Italian Catenaccio system.
Three and in Sch.
Simple, classic game involving one goalie and a number of outfield players. First to score 3 goals goes in nets. And the game starts again...
Togga n. Sch.
Football match; game; kick-about; As in "who's coming out for a game of togga ?"
Traditional Curtain Raiser n. Sch.
Tha Charity Shield; the Community Shield
Traffic v. Pund.
Irritatingly adapted from F1 commentary to mean 'players in the way'. Used almost uniquely by Clive Tyldesley.
Up Top Pund.
Irritating phrase used almost solely by Andy Gray to indicate the position of the main striker.
Wallee v. Sch.
Classic game that involves belting a ball against a wall (or section of wall), trying to get it to rebound into such a position that the next player will not be able to hit the wall (e.g. behind a drainpipe).