Nine Football Announcing Cliches We Could Do Without


With the 1.24 billion league matches on offer at Sky, Setanta, and the Other Ones, you can’t really blame professional football announcers for over-relying on their trusty grab bag of football clichés.  But now that John ‘Motty’ Motson has left for good, I think it’s time to wipe the slate clean in English football.  Here is a list of stock footie commentator observations I would like to personally shank to Row Z.

1.    It’s a dream start for [insert team name here] – Said if there is a goal in the first ten minutes. A dream start?  Does nicking a goal before the other team within ten minutes of kick-off really constitute some sort of Dionysian reverie?  Do the scoring players run into their managers’ arms crying, “I must be dreaming!”?

2.    He really should have scored there – Normally heard when an opposing forward manages to make a foot or two of free space on a corner or free-kick and makes contact with the ball only to see if go wide or over. He should have should he?  Have you ever played football?  Do you live on a planet where scoring on every single free-header is considered some sort of categorical imperative?  I’d even prefer, ‘That were close, innit?’

3.    The crowd is sensing something here – Used when the home side manages to string four or more passes in the opposing half, causing supporters to murmer in unison. Unless those twenty thousand large men singing “No One Likes Us” are Spidermen or Deanna Troy clones in disguise, I don’t think they’re sensing anything.  I think they’d like to see a goal.

4.    That should provide some talking points after the match – Uttered after a red card, two-footed tackle, missed penalty call, etc. This is one of the worst.  Dumb people who work in politics use talking points.  Football journalists cover stories.  Know the difference and you’ve won half the battle (another one!)

5.    This top-of-the-table-clash promises to be a thriller – Is it Grand Slam Sunday already? Come on…most of us have been watching the Premier League for years now.  Even if you’ve only been following the league since last season, you’d have a pretty good hunch that Liverpool v. Chelsea should not be watched while working with heavy machinery.   Let the game do the talking.

6.    Time for one more goal maybe?  Winning side gets possession in the last minute of injury time. Who knows?  Maybe there’s still time for one more throw-in perhaps?  Or another goal kick?  Or another sideline foul?  I was going to flip to the weather channel now that we’re four-up on Bolton, but since you’ve reminded me the possibilities are endless, I think I’ll stay.

7.    Could they score here?  What a story that would be! – Side one-goal-down gets possession in the last minute of injury time. My club is losing and they haven’t created a decent chance in the last half hour. Please please please please leave me alone.

8.    A goal at this point would only be consolation – Side two-or-more-down gets possession in the last minute of injury time. I feel consoled we’ve lost five-one instead of five-nil.  Yowza.  Off to the pub now, right as rain.  Anyway, the joke’s on the announcer – I switched to the weather station three goals ago.

9.  [Insert team name here] have been ripped apart — An absolute shower gets hammered.  Think Liverpool 8 Besiktas 0. You know, they’re not actually killing each other out there.  I’d love to see some poor defender’s intestines hanging off Steven Gerrard’s fists on a quiet Saturday morning, but then football would be pay-per-view and I wouldn’t be able to afford it.  Perhaps I’ve given Scudamore an idea though…

Richard Whittall runs A More Splendid Life, a blog that chronicles one fan’s escape to the beautiful game.

6 thoughts on “Nine Football Announcing Cliches We Could Do Without”

  1. Good article Richard. I enjoy your other blog as well.

    I find that more and more the TV folk are ‘announcers’ and feel the need to be constantly saying something…anything. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here, I much prefer a single ‘commentator’ who lets the match do most of the talking. The HBS feeds from Euro 2008 were excellent to watch IMHO.

    I would dispute a couple of points: “Dumb people who work in politics use talking points. Football journalists cover stories.” There are mediocre people in every field…football reporting is not exempt from that.

    “I feel consoled we’ve lost five-one instead of five-nil. Yowza” Actually I think a lot of people, given the choice, would rather lose five-one instead of five-nil. At least by scoring a goal you can take something away from the match to build upon. Not scoring a goal can be quite demoralizing. There’s no doubt that it means little to the outcome of the match but it can mean something to the team morale heading into the next match.

  2. I actually think the best bit comes around the sixty-fifth minute when no one says anything at all for thirty seconds and you think maybe something’s wrong with the sound. As bad as some English announcing gets, this would NEVER happen during an American telecast…

  3. Pretty much anything ever uttered by Mark Lawrenson would also fit quite nicely into this article. ‘Its a Greek tragedy’ when England thrashed Greece just one example of how infuriatingly cheesy the man can be.

  4. Those near misses when a ball hits the post or misses the post by a few inches. ‘That should have gone in’, or ‘they should be one up now’, ‘they deserve to be level’. It doesn’t matter whether it misses by an inch or a mile it is still a miss.

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