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The Phrases That Mean Something Completely Different To Irish Amateur Footballers

The Phrases That Mean Something Completely Different To Irish Amateur Footballers
By Gary Reilly
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Whether you're a veteran of the game or a fair weather player who only joins in when you're friend's team is in dire need of someone to stand in at full back, the culture surrounding amateur soccer in Ireland is one which we can all revel in.

It is comfortingly familiar and baffling all at the same time. When you think of this very unique culture, the first thing that they may spring to mind is a dressing room full of middle aged blokes rushing through a shower so that they can get to the pub.

But, in reality, it's so much more than that. One of the most endearing aspects of the game is the very unique lexicon in which the English language is twisted and bastardised to such an extent that it becomes a language of it's own. That language may be unintelligible to everyone else, but we know what we're talking about.

Whether it's the AUL, the LSL or the WCL, the language is universal and it's a thing of beauty. For anyone not lucky enough to have a first hand knowledge, here's a quick glossary of some of the key words and phrases.


Cheating

What it means in the civilised world:

To break a rule or law usually to gain an advantage at something

What it means in amateur football:

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This is either the most heinous crime that can be committed on the field of action or a cunning ploy which can be used to great effect. The negative cheating involves being a bit lazy and refusing to follow 'your man' as he makes an attacking run. The positive cheating is very similar, except you're lucky enough that 'your man' is a bit shit going forward and he loses the ball leaving your cheating arse free roam of the left wing.


Howzaaaay

What it means in the civilised world:

How is he?

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What it means in amateur football:

Used in the the sentence 'Howzaaay, ref? Ref, howzaaay?'. This phrase is usually used by everyone on the sideline to bring to the referee's attention the fact that an opposing player is in an offside position. It is often followed by the linesman/older gentleman who's on the club committee throwing down his ceremonial flag in disgust.


Nil-Nil

What it means in the civilised world:

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The score is 0-0

What it means in amateur football:

The score is somewhere between 0-0 and 9-0 depending on how determined the captain is to keep a clean sheet and/or rack up a scoreline designed to embarrass the opposition. The sentence around which 'Nil-Nil' is constructed changes as the score increases.For example, at 1-0, the captain might say, 'Okay, lads. We've got one but we have to treat this as a 0-0 game, we're right back into this.' The obligatory 'Come on' can be added into any part of that sentence. When the score is anywhere past 4-0, a simple '0-0 lads' in a warning tone will suffice.

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Row Z

What it means in the civilised world:

A row of seats in a stadium which is far away from the side of the pitch

What it means in amateur football:

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The adjoining pitch which is host to an u12's cup game or the other side of the ditch into the field with the assorted livestock.


Tape

What it means in the civilised world:

A long, narrow piece of material that is sticky on one side and that is used to stick things together or to cover or repair something

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What it means in amateur football:

Pretty much the same as the above but with the added provision that it is (A) a commodity more valuable than gold and (B) something which magically allows your 'luxury' attacking midfielder to perform at an optimum level.


Warm up

What it means in the civilised world:

To engage in exercise or practice especially before entering a game or contest

What it means in amateur football:

The phrase is already designed for this purpose but it really needs further explanation. Lay-people understand what the phrase 'warm-up' is supposed to convey but they have no idea what it really means. The spectrum of Sunday league football is vast and that is perfectly summed up by examining the warm up routines of different teams.

For the teams who play at the lowest rung of the most insignificant ladder, the warm up consists of players firing pot shots at an overworked keeper. For the teams who play at a level where one time League of Ireland players have turned to management, the warm up is a ritual more fiercely contested than the actual game. It's a time before the manager has named the team and, as a result, the desire to run oneself into the ground is taken as an indication of how ready you are to run through walls during the game. The fact that the warm up has sapped your energy to run through walls is irrelevant.


Shots

What it means in the civilised world:

A stroke or throw in an attempt to score points in a game

What it means in amateur football:

This was once heard as 'no shots' but it is said so often that the 'no' part has been rendered redundant. It is an overarching philosophy which is certain to prevent the opposition from scoring. Quite simply it can be summed up as 'if the opposition aren't allowed to shoot then they're very unlikely to score'. The manager usually shouts this at the least capable defender after the most capable opposing player has curled in a peach from 25 yards. The idea of this is that, if the dodgy defender had thought 'No shots' in advance, he would have certainly been able to prevent the goal.


Stand up

What it means in the civilised world:

To rise to a standing position

What it means in amateur football:

What the shit full back MUST do to prevent the tricky winger from tying him in knots. Failure to 'stand up' will mean that the shit full back will soon be on their arse for no reason. However, this is prefaced by the fact that usually a successful 'stand up' will mean that the shit full back resembles a hippo turning in mud when the tricky winger skips past him anyway.


Boots

What it means in the civilised world:

A fitted covering (as of leather or rubber) for the foot and usually reaching above the ankle

What it means in amateur football:

The gauge by which the need to kick the opposition is judged. For example, Mr. Puma Kings is required to kick the player Mr. Mercurial Vapors a certain number of times or else he has failed and should hang his head in shame.


Touch

What it means in the civilised world:

To bring a bodily part into contact with especially so as to perceive through the tactile sense

What it means in amateur football:

Any number of things depending on the inflection used. When it is shouted by the goalkeeper in a tone which rises in pitch it usually means 'you have time to take a touch'. Conversely, when it is shouted by everyone on the team in a tone which starts high and sharp but is then elongated, it usually means you don't have ample time so take a touch and you should get rid. Finally, when it is said in unison by everyone on the sideline in hushed tones, it means that the home team's answer to Andrea Pirlo has just done something beautiful.

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