The lexicon of love

The lexicon of love


Soccer is rightly considered the beautiful game but some of the language used to describe it is strikingly (forgive the pun) ugly.

Herewith are some choice examples;

“Agricultural”, adjective used to describe a crude but effective tackle.

“Beans on toast” is Cockney rhyming slang for the goal post.

“Enckelman moment”, an egregiously bad goalkeeping error (references an infamous own goal by keeper Peter Enckelman).

“Game of two halves”, stock phrase employed to describe a game in which first one team then the other enjoyed ascendancy.

“Game on”, obligatory mantra invoked when the team that was behind has just scored making the game more competitive.

“Has his principles”, characteristic condescendingly attributed to a manager who (allegedly) puts style before results and may therefore be in imminent danger of dismissal.

“Having a mare”, i.e. the player in question is having a nightmare of a game.

“Has a low centre of gravity”, pseudo-scientific expression used to “explain” why a particular player is so elusive.

“Homer”, inelegant and derogatory term employed when a referee (allegedly) exhibits bias towards the home team.

“Johnny on the spot”, refers to an opportunistic goal scorer with the knack of being in the right place at the right time. The metaphorical terms “predator” and “fox in the box” are sometimes used alternatively in this context.

“Knows where the back of the net is” i.e. the player in question has an eye for the goal.

“Leapt like a salmon”, inane simile favoured by Sky commentator Chris Kamara.

“Mountain to climb”- self-explanatory, ditto “The mountain just got steeper”.

“Nailed-down” or “stonewall penalty”, i.e. a blatant penalty, at least in the opinion of the commentator.

“Set his stall out”, as in “the manager has set his stall out…” This is a meaningless concatenation of words.

“Terracotta army”, trope famously used by “Big” Ron Atkinson when referring to an especially ineffective and static defence. The more prosaic “caught ball-watching” is generally preferred in this context. “Mickey mouse defending” has a similar connotation.

“The red mist descended”- graphic and arguably exculpatory term deployed when a player has become violent or abusive.

“Under the cosh”, cliché invariably trotted out when one team is experiencing extreme pressure and appears to be about to concede a goal.

We trust that this glossary will be of use to our esteemed editor who has recently exhibited an unexpected interest in football.

LJ, 31st March 2012




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