Classic Ronglish

Remember when Ron Atkinson was in charge at Forest and got into the Arsenal dugout by mistake? What a tit. But luckily Ron gave the game more than cheap laughs from his shortsightedness, he invented a whole new language of punditry that we like to call Ronglish. Obviously I don’t in any way condone the ridiculous racist remarks Ron made that brought his TV career to a swift end, but he was definitely more entertaining than Jamie Redknapp. So to celebrate Ron’s birthday this weekend, here’s a selection of Ron’s greatest hits:

  • “for fun”: when a player repeats the same positive action over a consistent period (scoring goals, tackling, saving penalties, beating opponents with a mazy dribble), he is clearly doing it “for fun”. Other pundits and commentators have followed in Ron’s footsteps and adopted this one
  • “early doors”: meaning, er, ‘early’. Ron’s number one phrase, the one that has crossed over into mainstream English. Used when the word ‘early’ on its own simply doesn’t convey quite enough earliness
  • “little eyebrows”: often used in the longer phrase “giving it the little eyebrows”, meaning a flicked backward header. Sadly this has not caught on in the mainstream as it has absolutely no application in life away from the near post corner
  • “spotter’s badge”: awarded to a player who picked out a team mate with a Brady-like 40-yard pass, or a co-commentator who (rarely, obviously) saw something Ron didn’t
  • “second stick” / “back stick” / “far stick”: the goalpost furthest from the play, or from Ron’s gantry position. These terms would be thrown in at random to ensure Ron’s co-commentator was actually listening to the big man (cf. “first stick” / “front stick” / “near stick”)
  • “amusement arcade”: a player who, in Ron’s expert view, was all tricks and no end product
  • “instalments”: sometimes things happen slowly in football, and when they do Ron liked to say they happened in instalments (for example Emile Heskey making a run, David James diving, Gareth Bale diving, etc)
  • “wide awake club”: what defenders usually aren’t in when facing the likes of Messi or Ronaldo
  • “I’m not so sure about that”: make no mistake, Ron was ALWAYS sure. So when he said he wasn’t, he was just sparing the feelings of his co-commentator. If he were someone less polite, say, I don’t know, the Archbishop of Canterbury or perhaps Shane MacGowan he’d probably say, “You absolute fecking eejit, Clive, you’re fecking blind!”
  • “I’ll tell you what”: this one has been adopted by every pundit out there, from the big hitters like Wrighty to the bottom feeders such as Beglin and Kamara. It’s all-round multi-purposeness makes it ideal as filler while they gather their thoughts and then spit out something banal and quite possibly factually incorrect. Not Ron, though. He would use it as an introduction to a many-faceted observation summing up a crucial passage of play as only he could, eg: “I’ll tell you what, the way the big fella’s gone past him there, the full-back’s not in the wide awake club, the tackle’s come in in instalments, so he’s knocked it early doors to the front stick, little eyebrows and bang, goodnight Marbella.”

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One thought on “Classic Ronglish

  1. Pingback: The Rehabilitation of Big Ron – The Pressing Game

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