Crossing The Pond: UK Soccer Terms That Should Be Used In The NFL

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Crossing The Pond: UK Soccer Terms That Should Be Used In The NFL
(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

English football/soccer fans are known for many things. Violence, drinking, violence, and drinking come to mind. But often forgotten is the genius of the terminology flying about the bars, stands, and anywhere football is discussed.

A selection of terms that must be adopted by the NFL follows.

1. “WUM”

An acronym for “Wind Up Merchant,” someone who specializes in teasing and aggravation. Do you have any rival fans, who, to you, say things about your team with the sole purpose of trying to annoy you? Meet a Wind Up Merchant.

2. “ABU”

An acronym for “Anyone But United.” The “United” bit refers to Manchester United, the most successful soccer team in the country, and the people of the UK willing them to lose. If you support a successful team such as the Patriots, and find a lot of hate coming your way, then meet an “ABU.”

3. “Glory supporter”

Pretty obvious. Someone who you feel follows a team they have no regional connection with, purely because they are successful. We call them bandwagon fans over here. Manchester Utd. fans in the UK are generally known as “glory supporters,” as most of them don’t live anywhere near Manchester.

4. “Put it in the mixer”

A phrase heard around the stadiums in the UK. The mixer refers to a food mixer and how the madness of a packed penalty area resembles it. When a fan asks for the ball to be “put in the mixer”, he is asking his team to loft the ball into the madness, in the hope that they will get a fortunate goal from it. It's very much like a Hail Mary pass.

5. “Goals pay the rent”

A commonly-used term to describe the importance of goals in football and how highly teams/franchises regard players who can do it regularly. “Goals pay the rent” would be a good way to describe Terrell Owens. Trouble, yes, but touchdowns pay the rent, so he’ll keep getting paid.

6. “If in doubt, launch it” and “put it in row Z”

Both refer to the same phenomenon of players putting the ball out of play, when they get in trouble.

Usually referring to defenders, who aren’t known as skill players. They are advised to kick the ball out of play as far as they can if they get in trouble, allowing the team to regroup. A quarterback throwing away the ball would be “putting it in row Z.”

7. “Football is not a matter of life and death. It’s much more important than that”

A quote from the legendary British coach Bill Shankly in reference to how important football is to people. Commonly quoted by fans in reference to how devoted they are to their team and the sport in general.

8. “It’s a game of two halves”

Rather obvious point, but with a hidden meaning, this states that teams often improve after a poor first half.

Really telling your team two things: If you’re winning, get ready, as the opposition is going to come back strong. If you’re losing, don’t worry, as there is still another half to get back into it.

9. “You only sing when you're winning"

Chanted at rival supporters to demonstrate the fact that they only follow their club with passion when they are successful. The term "sing when you're winning" is also used to describe "fairweather fans," supporters who only show interest in the team through glory periods.

10. “They parked the bus in front of the net”

Quite a modern term, but used often. Credited to ex-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who claimed that his opponents that day were so defensive, and conservative, that they may as well have just stayed on the team bus, drove it into the ground, and parked it in front of the goal, making it impossible to score.

If a team “parks the bus,” it means they have gone to an away ground and played very conservatively.

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