Dictionary365: O is for Odegaard, Official, Offside, Old Trafford, Open goal and Our League

Dave Tickner

On we go to the next letter in the alphabet as Dictionary365 hits some of the less obviously helpful letters to find stuff to write about. O is still for quite a lot of things, though.


Obstacle – Not of course a purely football word, but one that does have a specific football application, namely any impediment to the swift completion of a mooted transfer. Can be anything from the two clubs remaining some distance apart on a fee, a disagreement about payment plans or possible add-ons, uncertainty on the part of the player about the move itself or personal terms, or quite often simply that the entire story is bollocks concocted for hits from a dubious Google translation of an Italian or German nonsense machine.

Obstruction – The white dog dirt of football offences. You just never see a good obstruction decision these days, do you? A shame, because a free-kick in the opposition penalty area with its panicked goalline wall and inevitable bollocksed shot was and remains one of the great sights in this daft game of ours.

Obvious, clear and – The point at which an error becomes overturnable by VAR, a phrase possessed of all the precision, rigour and objective definability that has so encapsulated the video ref’s introduction to this daft game of ours.

Odegaard, Martin – A hyped-to-the-stars child prodigy who has achieved the unprecedented feat of going on from such a start to struggling at a superclub to actually becoming an actual proper top-tier footballer.

Offer – A financial package designed to entice another club into transferring one of their players to your club. Can be derisory, speculative, opening, final, record-breaking, unwelcome and many, many more. Only very occasionally will it be successful.

Official – Second mention of referee in any circumstances where ‘wanker’ or ‘bastard’ is unacceptable or unprofessional.

Official statement – What football clubs are obliged to put out if they, a staff member or player have done something reprehensible. Also the two words that will make up the entirety of the tweet linking to said statement on the club’s website, which will, of course, be accompanied by a stock photo of a corner flag.

Offside – Straightforward and fundamental football rule designed to eliminate goal-hanging. Despite famous jokes involving salt and pepper pots and, in the more misogynistic or xenophobic versions, inexplicably baffled women or Americans, actually quite a simple rule to understand until VAR got involved and started applying it to the pedantic millimetre because that’s what stupid people who hadn’t thought it through said they wanted.

Old Trafford – World-famous home of Manchester United Football Club but now very much a stadium where the first word of its name feels more and more apt as other clubs with newer and better redeveloped grounds leave it behind. Self-styled puffed-up status as the Theatre of Dreams increasingly appears self-deprecatingly ironic for both the stadium itself and the football played within.

Ole! – Joyous terrace exclamation when your team starts knocking the ball around in the closing stages of a comfy win. Particularly joyous and fun when your team is known for neither knocking the ball around nor comfy wins.

Only statistic that matters, The – see also scoreline, goal, xG.

Open goal – A chance so easy it is impossible to miss. Primarily used when that impossible miss somehow materialises.

Opportunistic – Any goal scored by a striker after a defender or goalkeeper does something daft.

Opportunity – What beleaguered managers in the midst of an injury and suspension crisis, perhaps with a dash of fixture congestion thrown in, are obliged to optimistically and euphemistically call the situation for the poor young sods who are about to get thrown in.

Opposition – A bunch of cheating shit bastards with terrible fans and who always get all the decisions from the officials because of some conspiracy or other

ORNSTEIN – Popular social media howl, often with far more Ns than is really necessary, whenever the respected transfer journalist David Ornstein issues a positive update about whatever your club is up to at the moment. Before the replies fill with fans of other clubs demanding updates on their situation like the desperate addicts they are.

Our LeagueBarclays.

Over – Where shots are blazed.

Overturned – Bloody VAR. Never happens to anyone else. And absolutely never goes in our favour. We’re being singled out.

Owen, Michael – Wildly exciting young footballer who hit middle age – in every way – at 25 years old and became a man whose sheer boringness managed to become far more annoying than any confected cartoonish personality ever could be.