A Glossary Of Terrace Talk

Something a little different this week. Instead of me ranting, moaning and complaining about some minor football issue we’ve seen this weekend I thought I’d open up into the world of footballing phrases.

These are the ones you hear spat out in every level from Sunday league right up to Europe’s elite sides. From pundits to press officers, they all love a coded phrase, so here are ten of my faves, translated into every day language… Manager jargon can be interpreted slightly differently.

Firstly let’s get warmed up with a few words that are often used in football chat. Worldie means very good and Stanchion are the weird brackets in the back top corners of the goal, just a few very simple, relevant words you’ll probably hear if you get dug into a conversation, they’re all yours now, enjoy.

We won’t go through all the usual ‘It’s a game of two halves’ sayings because they’ve been done a million times over so I’ve selected a few that have been heard recently and may not be most common.


“He’s just not that sort of player” – One you will have heard a lot in recent weeks since the Neil Taylor leg-breaking challenge on Seamus Coleman. Usually spouted in defence of the offender by a manager or fan or pundit. Ask yourself have you ever heard of a player that is that type of player?

Translation – It was probably accidental because he’s not plastered in tattoos, sacrificing chickens on Saturday and burning out a Harley Davidson outside a council estate.


“Can he do it on a cold, wet Tuesday night in Stoke” – Without doubt, the best phrase used by football fans. It’s usually in jest of a top quality player playing abroad questioning whether his hat-trick in the Champions League is enough proof of his ability. Until he can wrestle free of Ryan Shawcross’ man marking, dart towards the ball, flick it up and smash a bicycle kick into the postage stamp, is he even worth talking about?

Translation – This lad is exceptionally good, but let’s not give him too much credit until he’s turned water into wine and fed a village of 900.


“I didn’t see it” – Aaahhh the Arsene Wenger go to. He loves this one (once he’s found the zipper on his coat) usually referring to another theatrical performance from one of his players or a hideous decision from the officials. Usually balanced out with a rhetorical, smug answer of “I did see it but I prefer not to speak about this” (Aka, the Mourinho).

Translation – Everyone saw it. It was completely the wrong decision, you don’t need to ask me that and if I respond I’ll get in trouble. Do you want to pay the £25,000 fine for me? No? Well then, move on.


“He’s a quiet lad with a good head on his shoulders” – Usually in reference to an academy graduate breaking into the first team. Yet to buy his ninth Rolex and Overfinch Range but still got the tramlines cut into his barnet. Could be a baller in the making if they can keep his attitude problem a secret and flog him to the highest bidder next summer.

Translation – Usually the geekiest looking youngster on the circuit, in bed by 10pm except on a Friday when he pops down the local for an orange juice and swans in just a smidge past 11… Lad.


“I have never seen anything like that before” – Whether it be a worldie from 25-yards into the stanchion or a two-footed lunge go unpunished, we’ve seen almost everything now. Unless Mike Dean rises like a salmon at the far stick three minutes into injury time to nick a winner for Spurs, we’ve probably seen something similar happen before, so leave it out.

Translation – We haven’t seen anything like this since, well, erm last weekend probably. Yeah, then I remember vaguely something similar happening, but that was the first one I’d seen since, well the week before that… etc. etc.


“He’s lost the dressing room” or “The players aren’t playing for him” – Referring to the manager’s lack of influence over his playing staff when results are going down the pan. It’s a huge cop out used by fans because their gaffer isn’t prancing along the touchline smashing water-bottles into Row Z. One of the most overused terms used by under-qualified fans, how on earth would any of us know if he had “lost the dressing room”… Unless you’re reading this and you’ve got a squad number, if you are, what are you doing reading this? Get back to training and stop slacking.

Translation – The players have gone back to their useless selves. He conjured up a minor miracle and made them decent, now look, they’re back to being wack. SACK THE BOARD.


He’s a “No nonsense” or “old-fashioned player” – Basically, he smashes challenges like he’s breaking into an Easter egg, takes pride in clearing the ball out of the stadium and doesn’t wear gloves (even when it’s snowing…). Blood stains on his t-shirt, a nose more crooked than Sepp Blatter and plain black, leather boots. None of this fancy gold trim on his wheels, oh no, a good solid pair of Puma Kings with each of his victims… I mean, opponents, squad numbers carved into the tongue.

Translation – No-one will ever buy him from this team. He was born here, he will die here. He has kicked the ball less times than the oppositions striker so far this season and in his ten appearances he’s been sent off four times (all of which he claimed to have ‘got the ball’ and the other lad ‘made a meal of it’)


“He’s got an absolute wand of a left peg” – A term only ever heard about a lefty. For some reason seeing a goal scored with the left foot looks 10x better than a right footer, no idea why, it just does. It’s an accurate description of anyone who can strike a ball on their left side from 30-yards.

Translation – He can score with his left foot from anywhere outside the area. Goalkicks, he’ll take em’ and probably score. Throw-ins? Drop them too his feet and watch him fizz a diag to the opposite flank.


“They’re a team that like to play football” – Obvious one? Not quite. Talking about your Barcelona’s, your Bayern Munich’s, your Arsenal’s, side’s that don’t mind knocking the ball about for 20 minutes solid. The most ridiculous phrase ever used though, everyone likes playing football, that’s why they play football… well that and the £200k a week wage might sweeten the pot. Never in reference to a side that is physical, strong or assertive it’s about the cute, pretty sides that keep the ball on the floor and never shoot from more than 15 yards away.

Translation – They pass a lot, and I mean a lot. I once went for a hotdog on 15 minutes, came back at 27 and Pique and Mascherano we’re still doing one-twos on the edge of the box.


“The club is in crisis” – Fam, blood, fam, fam, fam, Wenger Out fam. Arsenal is a prime cause of this term being used weekly. Arsenal Fan TV does some superb work talking to fans where there is a genuine split of opinion. It is a crisis if Arsenal don’t finish in the top four because that is the size of that club, when people claim that you can’t have a crisis unless your going out of business it makes me laugh. Why not? It’s like saying you can’t say your hungry unless you haven’t had a meal in 3 weeks and are starving to death. Context is everything.

Translation – It’s pretty bad in terms of football but in the real world, these
problems are minor. Unless you are at a club in a genuine state, but usually these are the fans that moan and sensationalise the least.


Well, I hope these have been useful next time you’re sat in the boozer watching Soccer Saturday and just a little extra piece of jargon busting, ignore every tip Paul Merson gives you. Amazing pundit, top class footballer but dreadful luck in predicting results.

Thanks for reading,

Take it easy.


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