Mini Blether: Favourite Football Words and Phrases

While watching more football on TV than ever before amid the Covid pandemic and in turn both experiencing the clean, crisp and well enunciated commentary on offer as well as missing out on the more industrial and colloquial language of the terraces, the mind does wander towards very specific football lexicon. Here we look at a few favourites.

Stoater (what an absolute stoater of a goal) – used to describe a powerful strike on goal, or a goal itself. Often resulting from shots from outside the box or hit at pace, with great power which fly past the goalkeeper. Not a word often heard on TV commentary, but one which is deserving of a place on this list.

Screamer (a screamer of a goal) – similar to stoater, a shot or goal hit so powerfully that it “screams” into the net. More frequently heard in commentary and analysis to describe just this event. An important part of the football language, certainly more interesting than “powerful shot”.

Stramash (a stramash in the box) – Much like the word itself, this is essentially a free for all and jumble of component parts used to describe when there is a free ball and multiple players, legs, feet and body parts flying in all directions to try and get a key touch on the ball. This word has been picked up in a lot of commentary, but fits the bill perfectly in terms of describing what is happening.

Melted (he melted that free kick) – used to describe where a player just strikes a ball with a lot of power. Often this does not even go on target or towards goal (he melted it over the bar). Essentially, the shot was hit with so much power that the ball melted seems to the the source of this one. Quite colloquial, but nonetheless an excellent description.

Roaster (the boy’s a roaster) – moving more into urban slang, but a valuable contributor to the football lexicon. Used to describe a referee, opposition player, manager, Chairman who lacks in basic decision making skills and tends to get a bit over excited. Essentially someone who loses things a bit and makes some ill advised decisions during the match – be that awarding bizarre fee kicks, or flying into tackles or picking fights for no reason.

Crisp Packet (hand like a crisp packet) – used to describe a goalkeeper who fails to stop a shot with his hand, either through the shot being too powerful or their hand and wrist being too weak and bending back or not possessing the required strength to repel the ball. The hand therefore appears like a crisp packet and crumples away offering very little resistance. Seldom referred to in modern TV commentary, with the preference for actual analysis, explanation or criticism, but the phrase has its place nonetheless.

Bombing (bombing it up the wing) – used to describe a player running with great pace, but possibly limited control or guile. Terms like “he showed great pace” are usually preferred by commentators, but the phrase still holds some descriptive value in terms of allowing an image of a player running towards a point where he might cause some damage to be expressed.

Halfed (he halfed him) – a rough or bad tackle where whether taking the ball or not, the opposition player is essentially cut in half and taken out of the game. Perhaps more of a playground phrase, seldom heard in professional commentary where more statement of fact terminology is used to describe bad tackles or the like.

Squiggler (Squiggler of a free kick) – used to describe when a shot if hit with some cross spin or where a lightweight ball may move up, down, left or right through the air – essentially “squiggling” through the air, quite similar to something squirming in no definitive direction or pattern to its movement.

Sky-ed (he sky-ed it) – just what it says on the tin, like Baggio in 1994, describes a shot which has only one trajectory and that is over the bar and into the sky. Can be found in some TV commentary, albeit as above more matter of fact terminology is often used. However, “sky-ed it” portrays the extent to which the shot missed the target far clearer than alternative terminology.

As we all strain to be allowed back into (safe) stadiums and experience football first hand, I am sure we are all looking forward to some of the above terms and phrases being dusted off. We can but hope.

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