McLeish: "There is more than one way to win football matches." Mowbray: "We've had to dig deep into our squad and we've still managed to win football matches."
Lambert: "We've got to build a club as well as win football matches." Allardyce: "The only way I can continue to be the long-term future of West Ham United is to win football matches."
Sam Allardyce. That's where it all started. The maddening and irrelevant use of 'football matches' throughout (football) managers' lingo. The incessant need or desire to clarify exactly what business they're working in and exactly what it is they have to do. But isn't it obvious? Football managers have to win football matches.
Perhaps it's a coping mechanism to deal with the expansion of the game into a pulsating, mutated mass in which player power is at an all-time high and tricks such as name-dropping the 'Barclays Premier League' are seen as a way to curry favour. Football managers have to win football matches, but these days they also have to do a hell of a lot more.
But the creeping use of 'football matches' suggests a false sense of intellect, as if outlining the exactness of the matter can influence the listener's impression of the speaker. "He's not talking about winning any old matches, this fella specifically wants to win football matches and considering he's a football manager that's not a bad idea. He must be a bright spark."
In a game in which appearances can be everything (read this by John Nicholson and Alan Tyers for more) managers feel the need to not only boast their triumphs but also portray themselves as thinking men. Some, such as Rafa Benitez, have a natural charisma and wit while others merely want to prove they can manage at the top of the game by way of a brain offensive.
"I'm not suited to Bolton or Blackburn, I would be more suited to Inter or Real Madrid," Allardyce once said. Although he also claimed that Bolton fans "didn't quite endear themselves" to Gary Megson.
Big Sam isn't the only manager who tries to impress - Tony Pulis always enjoys flaunting his maths skillz after Stoke lose to Man City, while Brendan Rodgers compiles 180-page dossiers in his spare time. No-one likes a try-hard.
But the now ubiquitous nature of clarifying the need to win football matches serves only to suggest a vacuum between the ears, behind the eyes and up the nostrils. Although Allardyce was once a trailblazer in its use, his beloved phrase has since been purloined by his peers and mashed into yet another tired cliche. If a manager wanted to win anything other than football matches he'd be an idiot, so why elucidate for the sake of it?
The irony is that Allardyce and co don't need to try and sound clever; they only need to do the thing they endlessly say they need to do. To gas about the need to win football matches or to employ self-congratulatory middle-management guff about self-invented seven-and-a-half positions is redundant. The only consequence of such nonsense is to alienate fans and sound rather odd in the process.
Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.