Sunday 20 October 2019

There's a fine line between most fine lines

The Fielder: The real adventures of an inter-county footballer

Sportsfile
Sportsfile

The Fielder

'Obviously, it's a huge opportunity for me and I'm delighted that the club has given me the nod. There's an extremely talented backroom team in place and I think that the right attributes are there to get the very best out of the team. I hope to build an extremely professional atmosphere and I'm quite serious when I say that no expense will be spared for this panel. At this point I'm very excited to begin my journey with this group of players; a journey that will hopefully prove to be a successful one . . ."

I smiled to myself and continued to brush my teeth. I'd been appointed as a selector with our ladies under 16 team at the AGM earlier that evening and my mind had begun to wander as I prepared for bed; culminating in an imaginary interview with Marty Morrissey regarding my appointment, my toothbrush acting as a microphone. It was the start of a new beginning.

I'd talked for years about taking on an underage team in the club, but a busy schedule had prevented it. Now, moving home from college had afforded me some free evenings during the week that wouldn't involve six Dutch Gold and my Coppers Gold Card. Though my commitments with the county panel meant that I couldn't take on the team myself, this was a stepping stone. Rome wasn't built in a day.

That evening at the AGM, I'd drank close on 10 cups of tea and scoffed my weight in custard creams. My belly was aching and I was finding it hard to get asleep. Eventually I sat up in bed and began to make a list of some of the quotes and lines that I was going to use.

After ten minutes I read back through my list and laughed to myself. Everything on the page was a cliché. But what did managers really mean when they used some of these well-known expressions?

'Alright lads, game faces from now on.'

This is usually uttered by a manager as a bus pulls into a stadium before a big game. Literally means stop laughing and talking in general; look angry.

'They're in there laughing at us.'

As quotes go, this one has always puzzled me. It's commonly blurted out at half-time when one's team is getting beat out the proverbial gate. But what's strange is that I've been in manys a dressing room with a healthy lead at half-time and we've never laughed at the other team. We've never even smiled really. The mind boggles.

'Go out and fight for every ball.' When a manager says this, what he really means is 'do not under any circumstances fight because you will get sent off. But really try your best to get the ball'. The first one sounds hardier though.

'Drive it on/get stuck in/take the game to them/c'mon t'fuck.'

All of these can be literally translated as 'please go out there and score more points than the other team'. But again, the first few sound more masculine.

'They're a town team. Get on top of them and they'll start fighting with each other.'

Although I'm not a fan of townies in general, I must admit that I've yet to see any evidence that they do in fact fight with each other when getting bet. In my experience, it's the hardcore culchies you need to watch.

'I'm not one for speeches lads/The talking is over.'

When a manager says one of these, what he really means is that he sat down to write a speech that morning but a feckin' cow started to calve and now he has nothing to say.

'Look at the man next to you. Are you going to do it for him?'

In this situation you must never smirk when you make eye contact, even if you've shifted his sister. If the game isn't a big one, I like to pull a face or go cross-eyed to try and catch a team-mate out. Make sure to shout 'YES!' good and loud too.

'Let's take it one game at a time okay.'

This is commonly muttered after a comprehensive victory in the first round of the championship. When this is heard, you can be sure that everyone in the room, including the manager, is thinking about winning the championship outright.

'Our attitude was all wrong lads.'

Managers will usually use this phrase after a defeat. Something such as a mobile phone going off in the dressing room or a poorly-timed fart can be enough to deem the attitude of the team as unacceptable.

'We're coming in through the long grass. This is exactly where we want to be.'

Why is the grass long in the first place? That silage should've been cut two weeks ago!

'Work your socks off.'

Here we have another brain teaser. Is it possible to run so much that your socks fall off? If it is, would your boots not keep that from happening? Who comes up with this?

'What I need are good, honest footballers.'

He wants players who will do a load of running and won't tell lies when mammy asks who ate all her caramel digestives, I think?

'Win every 50:50 ball.'

But if I win every 50:50 ball, then they aren't really 50:50 balls are they? The correct ratio is 100:0 isn't it? Your calculations are wrong sir. Some day I'm going to challenge this thought, some day.

'It was a good sporting game out there.'

It's usually an opposition manager who uses this phrase when visiting your dressing room after a game. When he says this you can take it that he's sweeping under the rug the fact that there were five men sent off and two on the way to hospital after a woeful melee on the stroke of half-time.

I'm currently building a database of managerial quotes for my under 16 ladies. With the championship fast approaching, I would appreciate if you could tweet your best motivational lines to @TheFielder2. There's a prize of a dozen Bounty sweets for the best one.

(They're left over since Christmas, who eats feckin' Bountys like?)

For more, follow The Fielder on twitter at @TheFielder2

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