The Best Football Clichés List Ever

The Best Football Clichés

From the managers to the commentators, it is safe to say that football clichés are part-and-parcel when it comes to the beautiful game!

In this article, we will look at some of the most commonly over-used football clichés, what they mean and where you might hear them.


What Does Cliché Mean?

In short, a cliché is an opinion or phrase that is over-used and indicates a lack of original thought. It might have once been considered new or innovative, but a phrase falls into the “cliché” category when the novelty of using the phrase has long worn off.

Football Commentator Clichés

Some of the best football clichés you will hear will come from the commentators, without a shadow of a doubt. Whether on ITV, the BBC or Sky Sports, these are some of the most over-used football commentator clichés on the airwaves.

1. "In and Around the Penalty Spot"

Coined by Andy Townsend, this is a football cliché that causes understandable frustration - Is the player “in” the penalty spot, or is he “around” it? It can’t be both, Andy.

2. "You couldn't write a script like this"

When something "unique" happens in a football match, you might hear this being said... even though it's probably something that has happened hundreds of times before!

3. "They'll be discussing that over a bottle of red wine after the game"

This football cliche is most often directed at managers, suggesting that this would be the only circumstance in which two football managers would ever have a conversation (news flash - it isn't).

4. “Your Steven Gerrards / Frank Lampards”

A ridiculous pluralisation that is used to refer to legendary or world-class players.

5. "He's almost hit that one too well"

If you have ever seen a shot that you've considered to be taken "too well”, please get in touch and let us know!

6. "He's got great feet for a big man"

Any reasonably good player over 6ft tall will have had this said about them at some point; we can almost guarantee it.

7. "He's good, but can he do it on a cold, wet Tuesday night in Stoke?"

A reference to the harsh conditions that English players endure each year, but often directed at any international player, even if they already know what it’s like to play through the English weather. We also covered this cliché in our comprehensive list of football words and phrases.

8. "The lads put in a great shift"

A football cliché refers to players that run around on a grass pitch for 90 minutes a week for tens of thousands of pounds. Great work, fellas.

9. "Cultured Left Foot"

Another understandably frustrating football cliché, we are still sitting here wondering what exactly an “un-cultured” left foot would look like (…perhaps a right foot?)

10. "The Greatest Cup Competition in the World"

A football cliché that commentators utter before almost every FA Cup game.

The Best Football Clichés - Infographic

Football Manager Clichés

From Sunday League to the European Championships, let us look at some of the most overused football manager clichés that can be heard before, during and after the match.

1. "There are no easy games at this level"

2. "…One game at a time"

3. "I'm happy with the way our guys performed today"

4. "We're not quite there yet, but we're getting closer"

5. "We have a long way to go"

6. "We have to focus on the fundamentals"

7. "We need more explosive plays"

8. "We need to be more efficient with the ball"

9. "We have to control the tempo"

10. "Both teams were playing at a high level"

11. "At the end of the day, a win is a win"

12. "We need to show more conviction on the pitch"

The Worst Football Clichés

By far, these are some of the worst football clichés we have come across. Prepare yourselves for these ones!

1. "goals win games"

2. "He’s scored too early"

3. "If it was on target, it would have been a goal"

4. “He’s going to have nightmares about that one for years”

5. "The new Messi"

6. “He/They gave it 110%”

7. “This game needs a goal”

8. “He’s a no-nonsense player”

9. “That was a great cross but there was no one there”

10. “He was in acres of space”

Books on Football Clichés

It’s safe to say that despite how much we dislike football clichés as a whole, many of them have become common parlance and can be heard in many different areas of everyday life and conversation… so much so that many people have written some hilarious books on football clichés that are well worth the read!

Here are some of our favourites:

📖 Football Clichés - Adam Hurrey

📖 Football's Funniest Quotes - Harry Kaye

📖 Football Clichés: Decoding the Oddball Phrases, Colorful Gestures, and Unwritten Rules of Soccer Across the Pond - Adam Hurrey

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