Colemanballs Quotes


Colemanballs is a term coined by Private Eye magazine to describe gaffes perpetrated by (usually British) sports commentators. It is derived from the surname of the now retired BBC broadcaster David Coleman.

  • 1 Notable Colemanballs
    o 1.1 Double entendres
    o 1.2 Contradictions
    o 1.3 Hyperbole
    o 1.4 Religion
    o 1.5 Freudian slips
    o 1.6 When is a draw not a draw?
    o 1.7 Mixed metaphors
    o 1.8 Stating the obvious
    o 1.9 Tongue-tied
    o 1.10 Mumbo Jumbo
    o 1.11 Too soon

    Notable Colemanballs

    Double entendres

  • He [Diawarea] brings out an extra six to twelve inches and it’s a fantastic tackle.
    o Scott Minto, BBC
  • If he opens his legs, he’ll be hard to handle.
    o Graham Taylor
  • Ardiles strokes the ball like it was a part of his anatomy.
    o Jimmy Magee, RTÉ
  • Neil Harvey, standing at leg slip with his legs wide apart, waiting for a tickle.
    o Brian Johnston, BBC
  • Botham struggled to get his leg over there.
    o Jonathan Agnew, BBC
  • Rutherford’s asking the umpire how many balls he’s got left… he’s got two.
    o Bryan Waddle, Radio New Zealand
  • This is Gregoriava from Bulgaria. I saw her snatch this morning and it was amazing.
    o Pat Glenn, Weightlifting Commentator
  • I was saying the other day, how often the most vulnerable area for goalies is between their legs…
    o Andy Gray, Sky Sports
  • The Czech Republic are coming from behind in more than one way now.
    o John Motson, BBC in 27th minute of World Cup 2006 game against Italy.
  • And Michael Schumacher just stood on his seat and pulled out something special.
    o Martin Brundle, ITV
  • Gary Neville says that Porto are a bunch of girls who go down too easily.
    o Peter Schmeichel
  • This is really a lovely horse, I once rode her mother.
    o Ted Walsh
  • The batsman’s Holding, the bowler’s Willey.
    o Brian Johnston, BBC Radio 4, Test Match Special)[1] (possibly apocryphal)[2][3]
  • Arsene Wenger’s lips are firmly sealed on Sir Alex Ferguson”
    o Sky News
  • Reverend John, who is living with an openly gay partner, is no doubt feeling rather sore today.
    o Paul Handley, Radio 5 Live


  • And here’s Moses Kiptanui, the 19 year old Kenyan, who turned 20 a few weeks ago.
    o David Coleman, BBC
  • Don’t tell those coming in the result of that fantastic match, but let’s have another look at Italy’s winning goal…
    o David Coleman, BBC
  • What I said to them at half time would be unprintable on the radio.
    o Gerry Francis
  • I was in Saint-Etienne two years ago. It’s much the same as it is now, although now it’s completely different.
    o Kevin Keegan, BBC
  • I imagine that the conditions in those cars are totally unimaginable.
    o Murray Walker, BBC and ITV
  • Mansell knows exactly where he (Ayrton Senna) is because he can see him in his earphones.
    o Murray Walker, BBC and ITV
  • The Baggio brothers, of course, are not related.
    o George Hamilton, RTÉ, referring to Roberto and Dino Baggio
  • The lad got over-excited when he saw the whites of the goalpost’s eyes.
    o Steve Coppell, BBC Radio Five Live
  • Ralf Schumacher has been upstaged by the teenager Jenson Button, who is 20.
    o Murray Walker
  • For those of you watching in black and white, Spurs are in the all-yellow strip.
    o John Motson, BBC
  • He knows all about the Italian opposition, playing now in Turkey…
    o John Motson, BBC
  • You need at least eight or nine men in a ten-man wall.
    o Mark Lawrenson, BBC
  • Billy Gilbert hit a kamikaze back pass which Justin Fashanu pounced on like a black Frank Bruno.
    o Ian Darke, BBC Radio. As most British people would know, Frank Bruno is black.
  • He’s very quick for a man of his age. I suppose you’d call him ageless. He’s 33 or 34.
    o David Pleat, ITV
  • I’m not going to drag it out or make a point, because points are pointless.
    o Simon Jordan BBC
  • He’ll have a pair of sharp and canny shoulders to listen to.
    o David Platt, BBC Radio 4
  • An inch or two either side of the post and that would have been a goal.
    o Dave Bassett
  • Well Clive, it’s all about the two ‘M’s – movement and positioning.
    o Ron Atkinson, ITV
  • Neil Baker is standing on the touchline with his hands in his tracksuit bottoms scratching his head.
    o Chris Kamara, Sky Sports
  • I’ll be back in just 15 minutes in an hour’s time.
    o Kirsty Young, Channel 5
  • Obviously it would be tough playing up in the Premiership next season, but I wouldn’t lose any sleepless nights.
    o Alan Pardew, ITV
  • Rob McLean, (BBC Scotland): John Hartson is playing superbly today.
  • Sandy Clark: Yes, Rob, there’s no one better today.
  • Rob McLean: So, Sandy, who is your man of the match?
  • Sandy Clark: Alan Thompson
  • Matches don’t come any bigger than FA Cup quarter-finals
    o Neil Warnock, Radio 5 Live
  • You won’t win silver medals at the Olympic Games unless you’re the very very best.
    o Brendan Foster, BBC1
  • As soon as Lee Trundle scored that early goal for Swansea you always knew this wasn’t going to be a nil-nil draw.
    o Matt Jones, Sky Sports
  • I hope it will encourage people to speak out against what they believe in.
    o Unattributed
  • The scoreline didn’t reflect the result.
    o Marcus Buckland, Sky
  • If they are aware of it, they’ll be oblivious of it.
    o David Pleat, Radio 5 Live
  • Fourth spot is what we’re aiming for… we don’t want to be second best.
    o Phil Neville, Sky Sports
  • Keith Gillespie just lacks a bit of inconsistency.
    o Graeme Le Saux, BBC
  • This isn’t a rational decision – I’ve been thinking about it for quite a while.
    o Ronnie O’Sullivan, BBC
  • And he’s bowled Hansie Cronje neck and crop! Er…in fact, Jonty Rhodes, apologies to the skipper!
    o Bill Lawry, 9 Network, Australia
  • I’m not going to pick out anyone in particular, but Jay Jay Okocha should not be captain of a football club.
    o Rodney Marsh, Sky Sports
  • He [Souness] has just gone behind my back in front of my face.
    o Craig Bellamy, Sky Sports News


  • Good evening. The game you are about to see is the most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football, possibly in the history of the game.
    o David Coleman, BBC, in 1962 World Cup, Chile vs Italy.
    o Coleman’s words were not prophetic as he had already seen the recorded match. The match was one of the most ill-tempered in football history; two Italians were sent off and police had to intervene four different times to limit on-pitch disturbances. See Battle of Santiago.
  • Lord Nelson! Lord Beaverbrook! Sir Winston Churchill! Sir Anthony Eden! Clement Attlee! Henry Cooper! Lady Diana! Vi har slått dem alle sammen, vi har slått dem alle sammen [we have beaten them all, we have beaten them all]. Maggie Thatcher, can you hear me? Maggie Thatcher… your boys took a hell of a beating! Your boys took a hell of a beating!
    o Norwegian commentator Bjørge Lillelien, after his country’s team defeated England 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier in September 1981

  • What’s it like being in Bethlehem, the place where Christmas began? I suppose it’s like seeing Ian Wright at Arsenal…
    o Simon Fanshawe, BBC Radio Five Live


  • The Saudis would struggle in Europe because of that problem with those prayers five times a day. You don’t know if they’re going to turn up for training. I’m being serious.
    o Don Howe

    Freudian slips

  • Israel has been invaded by lesbian forces. (Instead of “Lebanese”)
    o BBC Radio 4 newsreader

    When is a draw not a draw?

  • His reign ended with that nil-all defeat by Switzerland at Lansdowne Road.
    o Colm Murray, RTÉ. This refers to Brian Kerr, who was sacked as Republic of Ireland coach after the team failed to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Ireland’s draw in their last qualifying match eliminated them from further contention.
  • Poland nil, England nil, though England are now looking the better value for their nil.
    o Barry Davies, BBC
  • With news of Scotland’s 0-0 victory over Holland…
    o Scottish Television
  • We thrashed Romania 0-0 in the first half…
    o Kevin Keegan
  • He [Sir Alex Ferguson] is such a hard worker – even at his age I bet there’s no one in before him in the morning and no one leaves earlier than him in the evening.
    o Steve Burkinshaw
  • I’m 28 now, and they say you peak at 28 so my best years are still ahead of me.
    o Kieron Dyer, BBC1

    Mixed metaphors

  • Many clubs have a question mark in the shape of an axe-head hanging over them.
    o Malcolm Macdonald
  • Real Madrid are like a rabbit in the glare of the headlights in the face of Manchester United’s attacks. But this rabbit comes with a suit of armour in the shape of two precious away goals.
    o George Hamilton, RTÉ
  • And Cristiano Ronaldo has hit the ball with every inch of his body weight!
    o Alan Dark
  • I think the big guns will come to the boil.
    o Jimmy Armfield, BBC Radio Five Live, World Cup 2006
  • And the Bulgarians are doing all they can here to waste every last inch of time in this game.
    o Colin MacNamara
  • That’s another nail in his afternoon.
    o Mark Blundell
  • They’ve tasted the other side of the coin on so many occasions.
    o Andy Townsend
  • They (Scotland) are staring down the barrel of a wooden spoon.
    o Will Greenwood, Radio 5 Live
  • I bet Keegan will be jumping like a Jack in a Beanstalk.
    o Sky Sports News
  • We haven’t had the rub of the dice.
    o Sir Bobby Robson
  • They’ve taken the horns by the scruff of the neck.
    o Tony Cascarino
  • It was that game that put the Everton ship back on the road.
    o Alan Green, BBC Radio Five Live
  • It was a very hot potato at the time. We thought we’d put it to bed, but to have it regurgitated now is pointless.
    o Steve Coppell, Sky Sports News
  • We may finally be seeing the light at the end of the rainbow.
    o Neil Waka, Television New Zealand
  • I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel.
    o Stuart Pearce
  • When the chips are up against him, he pulls out all the stops.
    o Wimbledon commentatorTemplate:Who, on Bjorn Borg
  • This is all about historical events in the past.
    o Unattributed.
  • Questa è stata la scintilla che ha fatto traboccare la goccia. [This was the spark that spilled the drop.]
    o Fabio Noaro

    Stating the obvious

  • It’s a great advantage to be able to hurdle with both legs.
    o David Coleman, BBC
  • If the ball had crossed the line, it would have been a goal…
    o David Coleman, BBC
  • And I honestly believe we can go all the way to Wembley……unless somebody knocks us out.
    o Dave Bassett
  • With half the race gone, there is half of the race still to go
    o Murray Walker
  • A deflection – that’s what changed the course of the ball.
    o Jim Beglin, ITV, 2006 World Cup
  • There’s a real international flavour to this World Cup.
    o Jimmy Armfield, BBC Radio Five Live, 2006
  • It’s raining very hard now and the players are getting wet.
    o Keith Quinn, Television New Zealand
  • The man (Alex Ferguson) is United. Cut him and he will bleed red.
    o Alan Brazil
  • It’s raining and the track is wet.
    o Murray Walker
  • I think the batsman’s strategy will be to make runs and not get out.
    o Richie Benaud, Channel 9 Australia
  • Once someone hits that puck it’s going to keep going until it stops.
    o Unattributed
  • The key to winning a hockey game is to score more goals than your opponent.
    o Paul Steigerwald, Pittsburgh Penguins Announcer
  • All the speculation surrounding me is just speculation.
    o Alan Curbishley, BBC
  • Jagielka is related to his younger brother at Sheffield United, Phil.
    o Kevin Keatings, Radio 5 Live
  • He owes his defence a grat of debtitude there
    o Ex-Wolves striker Don Goodman as analyst during Sky Championship game


  • Owen runs like rabbit chasing after… What do rabbits run after? They run after nothing! Well, running after other rabbits.
    o Tom Tyrell
  • Oh dear, his right leg collided with himself there.
    o Mark Bright
  • Ian Pearce… has limped off with what looks like a shoulder injury.
    o Tony Cottee
  • Although we are playing Russian Roulette we are obviously playing Catch 22 at the moment and it’s a difficult scenario to get my head round.
    o Paul Sturrock
  • We have to roll up our sleeves and get our knees dirty…
    o Howard Wilkinson, Radio 5 Live
  • He’s not the sharpest sandwich in the picnic.
    o Tony Cascarino, Talksport Radio
  • He’s a good goalkeeper, keeps his feet on the ground.
    o Mark Lawrenson, Football Focus
  • I’ve been asked that question for the last six months. It is not fair to expect me to make such a fast decision on something that has been put upon me like that.
    o Terry Venables

    Mumbo Jumbo

  • We can’t live in the past – we can only live in the future.
    o Glenn Roeder
  • If blood is thicker than water, it must also be thicker than a calendar or a small clock.
    o Esther Rantzen
  • I didn’t see the point of hiding a bushel under a carpet…
    o Mel B

    Too soon

  • There goes Paneira with his unique style… but wait, it’s Veloso
    o Unknown commentator on RTP 1
  • And Bonner has gone 165 minutes of these championships without conceding a goal. Oh danger here…
    o George Hamilton, RTÉ
  • Only one team could win this match from here, and that’s England.
    o Kevin Keegan, moments before Romania scored the equalising goal, eventually going on to win.
  • Will he score here? Yes.
    o Kevin Keegan, as David Batty began his run-up to the penalty he missed, eliminating England from the 1998 FIFA World Cup
  • You won’t win anything with kids.
    o Alan Hansen on Manchester United’s young side from the 1995-96 season’s opening day defeat. United went on to win the Premiership and FA Cup double that season
  • The Argentine defender wants shooting for a mistake like that.
    o Alan Hansen – later that night, Colombia defender Andrés Escobar, who had conceded an own goal in an earlier match against the USA, was shot to death at a restaurant in his homeland

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