A-Z of footballing acronyms: CR7, VAR and LTFOPWOTRP

Date published: Tuesday 3rd September 2019 8:46 - Will Ford

VAR is and will be the acronym of the season. People will be using it as a verb in no time. This is a look at some of the other, from the infamous to the ridiculous. The A-Z of football acronyms…


AET (After extra time)
Extra-time was first introduced over 120 years ago. A ‘play to finish rule’ was enforced – they would play until it was dark. Doncaster and Stockport once played for over 200 minutes before bad light stopped play, which sounds an awful lot like capital punishment. It’s only 30 minutes now, and still 30 minutes too long.

BBC (Bale, Benzema, Cristiano)
No, not the world’s oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. Rather, the Bale, Benzema, Cristiano trident that delivered four Champions League trophies in five years at Real Madrid. Speaking of which…

CR7 (Cristiano Ronaldo 7)
The defining image of Cristiano Ronaldo’s global empire. The descendant in name and brand of the original Ronaldo, CR7 has usurped R9 in every facet, save for perhaps human decency and

DM (Defensive midfielder)
The ‘DM’ acronym might be more familiar in Twitter parlance, although Granit Xhaka’s penalty-area escapades betray a man comfortable with sliding in anywhere.

EPL (English Premier League)
Ever been asked if you’re a fan of the EPL? The Americanised obsession with giving an acronym to everything – NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS – has brought us the EPL. Although Owen Coyle’s last breath will be spent praising the standard of the Barclays Premier League.

FIFA (The Fédération Internationale de Football Association)
An acronym many grew up associating with hours spent with a PlayStation controller in hand (or thrown at the TV) in fact represents one of the most corrupt institutions on the planet. Allegations and indictments for bribery, fraud and money laundering – FIFA through the nineties and noughties were a few murders away from a prohibition-era Mafia organisation. You might not hear from me for a while.

GOAT (Greatest of all time)
LL Cool J credited Muhammed Ali when he named his album G.O.A.T (Greatest of All Time) and said: “Without Muhammad Ali, there would be no ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ and the term GOAT would have never been coined.” It has more recently permeated popular footballing terminology as the Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Divock Origi advocates dispute who is truly the Greatest Of All Time.

HT (Half-time)
Herein lies an acronym that is widely used but rarely ever actually spoken, unless in jest by some sort of absolute cad.

ITK (In the know)
hows it going mates, i’m a perspiring football #journo & part of the football blogging #paternity. i have unlimited text messages every month & i love false 9s.

A reminder that Liverpool’s director of communications once took the above, the Twitter bio of a joke ITK account that ‘leaked’ transfer news, to be that of an entirely serious person to the extent that he threatened to revoke the actual person’s season ticket, and informed him that fans would post dog faeces through his door if his true identity was ever revealed. Times have changed a little at Anfield.

JPT (Johnstone’s Paint Trophy)
Surely no-one will call it the Leasing.com Trophy. Johnstone’s Paint was the perfect sponsorship match for the Football League Trophy for the ten years they were partners. The name evoked a feeling of nostalgia; a nod to a bygone era of flat caps and cigarette smoke drifting across the terraces. It will always be the JPT, just as it will always be the Milk or Carling Cup, depending on your age.

KDB (Kevin de Bruyne)
Has Kevin de Bruyne jumped into second place behind Robin van Persie as the most acronymable Premier League player ever? Virgil van Dijk and Ruud van Nistelrooy somehow don’t seem on the same level.

LTFOPWOTRP (Leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission)
This is a genuine result found when searching for footballing acronyms. I’ve never heard it used or even seen the action it denotes take place in a game of football. Fun though.

MOTD (Match of the Day)
An English institution matched only by Sir David Attenborough’s narration of wildlife documentaries and Elton John’s back catalogue, Match of the Day has now been on our screens for 55 years. Gary Lineker has hosted for two decades alongside the man Jonathan Liew described as ‘a large well-paid child’ – known more commonly as Alan Shearer – with A. N’Other doing the ‘punditry’.

NASL (North American Soccer League)
The NASL was American soccer’s big bang, the league that ignited a football boom that brought some of the greatest players of a generation to their shores: Pele, George Best and Johan Cruyff to name just three. Each team had character and characters. For example, during a losing streak in 1978, Ron Newman – manager of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers – was brought onto the Lockhart Stadium field in a coffin, sprang out, ran to a microphone and shouted: “We’re not dead yet!” The crowd went wild.

OG (Own goal)
Either the acronym used for Ice T’s seminal fourth album ‘Original Gangster’, or the letters next to Richard Dunne’s name in a match report summary. Jamie Carragher scored seven own goals in his 17-year career for Liverpool, managing just three at the right end. Shane Duffy managed three in the space of a week for Blackburn in 2016. But the OG for OG’s, in the Premier League at least, remains Dunne, with ten to his name.

PFM (Proper Football Man)
Tim Sherwood. Paul Merson. Sam Allardyce. Harry and Jamie Redknapp. Peter Reid. Everything you need to know about the PFM should be here.

QPR (Queens Park Rangers)
Remember when they broke their transfer record to sign Christopher Samba in January 2013 and sold him six months later after being relegated from the Premier League? That’ll be Harry Redknapp.

RAWK (Red And White Kop)
If you had never had the displeasure of frequenting or even being aware of RAWK, then more credit to you. In the 2014/15 season and many of the years under Rafael Benitez, RAWK would have made even the worst faceless Twitter trolls wince at the sheer toxicity.

SAS (Shearer and Sutton)
Suarez and Sturridge tried their damnedest to redefine the acronym almost two decades later, but Shearer and Sutton were the original and the best SAS. A tally of 49 goals between them in the 1994/95 season delivered the Premier League title to Blackburn. Of 42 league games that campaign, only 12 saw neither Shearer nor Sutton score.

TH14 (Thierry Henry 14)
The number 14 will forever be associated –  in the eyes of Premier League fans at least – with Thierry Henry. The Gunners’ current goal-scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang now wears the fabled number 14 and has to score just 185 more times to eclipse the Arsenal legend.

UEFA (Union des Associations Européennes de Football)
FIFA’s slightly less corrupt sibling. If FIFA was infamous outlaw and chief gunslinger Jesse James, UEFA would be his nerdy brother Frank – culpable for the missteps of his big brother, but sufficiently distanced from his crimes to get away with it.

VAR (Video assistant referee)
What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

WAGs (Wives and girlfriends)
It was stupid, weird and unnecessary when it was popularised around the time of the 2006 World Cup. It is laughable, regrettable and predictable that it remains in use to this day. And don’t forget (do forget) the HAPs.

XXL (Extra extra large)
A search of ‘match worn XXL shirts’ provides names such as Philippe Albert, Lee Bowyer and John Barnes – perhaps nice to hear for the heavyset among us who still blindly harbour hopes of a late push into professional football. Manchester United are selling this season’s shirt in 4XL – by that point hope might have been eclipsed.

YNWA (You’ll Never Walk Alone)
Just stop being silly sods about it, yeah?

ZZ (Zinedine Zidane)
The two-time Serie A and one-time La Liga-winning former world and European champion, two-time Intertoto Cup winner, 1998 Ballon d’Or holder, 1998, 2000 and 2003 World Player of the Year, Champions League record-breaking manager, and Marco Materazzi nemesis. Not bad for a Tim Sherwood imposter.

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