“There are some people running on the pitch, they think it is all over. It is now.” This is arguably one of the finest and most memorable pieces of commentary in football history. As many Englishmen will fondly remember, this particular bit of punditry was from the legendary Kenneth Wolstenholme. His commentary on the 1966 World Cup Final is as infamous as the game itself.
The above citation relates to the final goal where Sir Geoff Hurst ran into the 18-yard box. His ferocious strike ensured England were triumphant against West Germany in the 1966 final. To this day, Hurst is the only man on the planet to have scored a hat trick in a World Cup Final. Yet, commentators are like goalkeepers to a certain extent. Not only do they have their own unique style but they can certainly be unpredictable at times.
In fact some have been caught with their footballing trousers down after the dreaded commentators curse. This is when a pundit reveals a confident analysis only to trip over his metaphorical shoe laces as things turn out the opposite. Take for example the incident which involved former Liverpool marksman Kevin Keegan. Whilst commentating on the France '98 World Cup game between England and Romania, he declared to iconic commentator Brian Moore, “Well there is only one team that’s going to win this game from here and that’s England”. He was of course referring to his native Three Lions. Unfortunately, moments later, ex-Chelsea defender Dan Petrescu ghosted in to slot the ball home past David Seaman.
Whether a team has supplied a hammer blow or a case of running the channels, there are a number of different phrases that are regularly plucked from the typical commentator’s mind. Here are the 15 most overused football commentary terms of all time.
15 "It’s A Game Of Two Halves"
14 "A Cold Windy Night In Stoke"
This phrase is often referred to as the ability for a team to tackle the toughest of oppositions when everything is against them. This includes the likes of the weather which is a predominantly important aspect when commentators use this phrase. The term originates from the Britannia Stadium which is home to Stoke City Football Club. Known for its treacherous weather conditions, some of the corners of the ground are exposed to the elements. Therefore, it makes it increasingly difficult for teams to perform there whether playing during the day or at night.
13 "Fox In The Box"
12 "Running The Channels"
One of the most popular commentary terms which has been used over the last decade has been the phrase “running the channels.” As the modern game evolves, so do the tactics that several football managers use. In this way, coaches are adopting new situations and scenarios to adapt their play during the game. It means that they are asking a lot more of strikers to run down the wings and cover as much ground as possible. This will not only help midfielders but will take away the defenders for the middle men to run into the space.
10 "Couldn’t Hit A Cow's Backside With A Banjo"
9 "Got The Bottle"
8 "Early Doors"
7 "Stepping Up To The Plate"
6 "A Dig"
5 "Putting In A Shift"
4 "Into The Mix"
3 "Not Over Till The Fat Lady Sings"
2 "Onion Bag"
1 "Funny Old Game"
It just goes to show that football is most definitely a funny old game. This term relates to the sheer unpredictability of the beautiful game. From the scintillating highs to the lowest of the lows, football has a habit to bite managers and players where it hurts. This includes an AC Milan team 3-0 up at half time that went on to lose to Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League Final in 2005. It is the complete organized chaos that makes football such a dramatic and highly engaging sport.
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