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Top 10 Myths Of Football

You can’t watch or read about a game of football these days without seeing or hearing something from a commentator or writer that means nothing.  Here’s my top ten:

1 – He’s not a goalscorer (aka the Emile Heskey defence)

As soon as a manager says these immortal words about a striker you know you have problems, especially if it’s at the press conference to announce his signing.  A striker is there to score goals.  Wingers, midfielders, full backs, Peter Schmeichel’s long throw outs and the bellboy who dries the ball for Rory Delap are there to help create the goals.  Get used to goal droughts and post-match “he put the defenders off” quotes.

2 – He’s a box-to-box midfielder/got a good engine

Basically, he can’t tackle, he can’t head the ball and he can’t shoot, but he can run for days.  Every team has (at least) one.  Runs about like a madman from 18 yard box to 18 yard box but contributes nothing once inside either penalty area.  Prime example would be Carlton Palmer.

3 – I’ve seen them given

Usually concerned with questionable penalty claims.  Classic commentator phrase which basically means I have no guts to say what I truly think so I’ll sit on the fence and say “Well, I’ve seen them given”.  Classic Martin Tyler.

4 – They’ve scored too early

Just a ludicrous, ludicrous statement usually uttered when underdog scores early goal away at a big team.  You can just imagine a manager saying to his team – “Don’t score before the 14th minute, it’s too early”.  Usually used by the same commentators who complain when the underdog loses an early goal for defending too much early on.

5 – He’s a good shot-stopper

Directly translates as “this keeper is dodgy”.  Any goalkeeper (except Manuel Almunia) is a good shot-stopper, that is why they are a goalkeeper.  What sets them apart is all other aspects of their game.  Probably used most in reference to David James.

6 – The ref played more injury time than the board said

Not sure if this qualifies as a myth but your team has bottled it basically.  The board signifies the minimum amount of injury time to be played, it’s not an exact figure.  One of the easiest deflecting excuses a manager can use after the game.  Sir Alex is the master at using this both for and against his team.

7 – You’re most vulnerable after scoring

If you are Hans-Jorg Butt and still celebrating the penalty you’ve just scored and the opposition lobs you from kick-off then maybe.  How often does a team actually recover and score within a minute or two?  Not often.

8 – He needs a bit of time to settle into his new surroundings

The manager has just brought in an expensive new foreign signing and is bricking himself that he is going to be a massive flop.  Use this age-old excuse and cross your fingers he turns into an Edin Dzeko and not a Jo.

9 – That was totally out of character

A player has put in a horrendous two-footed challenged or elbowed someone square in the face and the manager comes out with this defence.  Well no, it clearly wasn’t out of character or he wouldn’t have done it in the first place.

10 – He’s a future England captain

What does this actually mean?  Most lately used to describe Phil Jones.  Does this mean he is going to be a leader of men with an immense drink problem like Tony Adams, a future Match of the Day pundit like Alan Shearer or a teammate shagging, alleged racist like John Terry.  Best of luck Phil.

Grant Fisken

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