London pub, football slang: a guide

Kenna phrases defined

IF YOU’RE in a London pub and a gloomy-looking person next to you buys an Apple Sourz because, they claim, ‘I damn near Brambled myself’, then unlike most tipplers of that unusual spirit, this person hasn’t taken complete leave of their senses.

Very close by a meeting of the Kenna League will be in full swing, and this unfortunate at the bar will have bodged their part in proceedings.

Since the Kenna was founded in 2005, a host of phrases and sayings particular only to the purist pursuit of football management have been born.

A number of expressions used by managers are defined below. Most of them common, some from seasons past.

The phrases have been grouped into three categories: those used at the auction, those used in relation to the league’s forfeit procedure and other expressions.

Where applicable, conversational examples of words and phrases in use available.

The auction

Auction – Event held before just before English Premier League seasons, World Cups and Euro Cups where managers buy their eleven players for the competition. To the untrained eye can look like a bunch of people in the pub not worried about work the next morning.

Manager A: “Are you going to the auction tonight?”
Manager B: “Yeah, it’ll probably be the usual shambles.”

Mr Chairman – the appropriate way for a manager to address the Chairman during the auction.

Manager A: “Mr Chairman, pint?”
Chairman: “You’re most kind, a Peroni or Heineken would be delightful.”
Manager B (under breath): “Apple polisher.”

Player list – document detailing all the players in the competition and their positions. Any players managers wish to pick not on the player list will have their position decided by the league.

Manager A: “I want to buy Wesley Sneijder, but he’s not on the player list.”
Manager B: “Two things. One: Man U will never buy Sneijder so that’s a complete waste of your budget, and two: he’ll be a midfielder like he was in the Euros.”

Pick – to introduce a player to auction. Managers introducing a player themselves are deemed to have made a minimum bid of point five unless otherwise stated.

Manager A: “I’ll go for Steve Warnock, defender, Aston Villa.”
Manager B: “There must be no one decent left to pick.”

Chairman’s pick – player introduced to the auction by the Chairman when a manager cannot immediately decide who to pick. Managers may also opt for the Chairman to pick. New rule for 2012 to speed up proceedings.

Manager A (looking at the player list and scratching head): “Um…um….um…”
Chairman: “Too slow. Chairman’s pick: Ashley Cole, Chelsea, defender.”

4-4-2 – outdated tactical formation used by the England football team and the official formation of Kenna teams (one goalkeeper, four defenders, four midfielders and two strikers).

Manager A: “Jelavic looks a tasty option up front.”
Manager B: “Yeah, but it’s 4-4-2 and I’ve already got Agbonlahor and Ruiz.”

Budget – the amount of money a manager has for buying players at auction. Each manager starts with £100m.

Manager A: “What budget do you have left?”
Manager B: “I’ve bought Eric Lichaj for £5m and Ryan Nelson for point five, so £94.5m.”

Point five – £0.5m, the lowest sum for which a player can be bought. Also used by managers to nudge up the price of a player during bidding – can be used as ‘and a half’ in this situation.

Manager A: “I’ll bid seven [million pounds] for Shola Ameobi.”
Manager B: “Point five!”

No point fives after 10 – When bidding for a player goes over £10m, only bids divisible by £1m are accepted. Rule introduced in 2011 to speed up the auction.

Manager A: “Despite his diversity training needs, I’ll bid £21m for Luis Suarez.”
Manager B: “Point five!”
Chairman: “No point fives after 10. You must bid at least £22m.”

The Titus Bramble Ruling

Titus Bramble ruling – mechanism removing an illegal player from a team and replacing him with a forfeit player. Triggered by one of three ways: buying two players from the same Premier League club / country, buying a player that means the overall team budget exceeds £100m or buying too many players in one position. The illegal player will be returned to the pot and is available to be introduced to auction. Named after Sunderland defender Titus Bramble.

Manager A: “Why have you got Marouane Chamakh? He’s awful.”
Manager B: “I went over budget and got snared by the Titus Bramble ruling.”

Titus Bramble player – a forfeit player used in the Titus Bramble ruling, and costing half the amount of player lost. Generally accepted to be of questionable quality. Dubious moral character desirable. Comedy name/characteristic a bonus.

Manager A: “Stewart Downing would make a great Titus Bramble player. He didn’t get any goals or assists last season.
Manager B: “Yeah, and he looks like a little boy who’s lost his mum in a shopping centre.”

The pot – players available to be introduced to auction. Used most often when referring to where a lost player returns in the Titus Bramble ruling.

Manager A: “Is Sergio Aguero back in the pot?”
Manager B: “Yes, he was removed from my team when I was caught Brambling.”

Over time, use of the Titus Bramble ruling has given rise to several derivative expressions based on his name.

  • Brambling – the act of triggering the Titus Bramble ruling through absent mindedness, either through buying or bidding for an illegal player.

Manager A: “Once I’ve had a few beers there’s a lot more chance I’ll be Brambling.”
Manager B: “Knowing your previous, it wouldn’t even take a cup of mint tea.”

  • Accidental / incidental Brambling – to bid for a player that would be illegal if bought, but to recognise this before any other manager is affected. This will not trigger the Titus Bramble ruling, but the offending manager must down a shot of Apple Sourz before taking any further part in the auction

Manager A: “I’ll bid £2m on Yohan Cabeye. No wait! I already have a Newcastle player.”
Chairman: “That’s accidental Brambling. Bar.”
Manager B: “Muppet.”

  • Tactical Brambling – the heinous, foul, debased act of deliberately buying, or attempting to buy, an illegal player to trigger the Titus Bramble ruling and free up funds to gain a financial advantage later on in the auction. In an effort to eradicate this pernicious cancer, regulations were changed in July 2012 whereby all Brambling would result in half the transfer fee being docked. The offender must also down a glass of Pink Gin before taking any further part in the auction

Manager A: “Yes, I know by buying Balotelli for £19m I would lose fellow Man City player David Silva, who cost £33m. However, I would still have a top player and get £14m back into my transfer kitty.”
Manager B: “Tactical Brambling. You disgust me. And under rules you lose £16.5m – half the cost of Silva – and have to neck a Pink Gin. It’s just not worth it.”

  • Brambled – the past participle is often used reflexively.

Manager A: “Congratulations on buying Robert Huth, but haven’t you already bought Peter Crouch from Stoke City?”
Manager B: “****! I’ve gone and Brambled myself.”

Other expressions

The window – refers to a transfer night where managers release players and then make new signings from the pot. A similar process to the auction.

Manager A: “I can’t wait for the window. I’m bottom of the league.”
Manager B: “Looking at your team, you’ll need more than a transfer night, you’ll need a bloody miracle.”

The Repka Effect – phenomenon occurring when an unfashionable player left in the pot performs better than big-money signings, but still fails to attract interest in the window. Named after former West Ham defender Tomas Repka when the league’s first season in 2005.

Manager A: “The Yak scored loads of points last season and no one picked him in the window.”
Manager B: “That’ll be the Repka Effect.”

The Ramadan Breaker – alternative name for the auction when it’s held in the 30 days after the first sighting of the new moon. The daylight start time can put a strain on fasting activities.

Manager A: “I thought you were fasting, yet you’re on your third pint.”
Manager B: “Yeah, I’ve just eaten a bag of pork scratchings too. The Kenna can be a real Ramadan Breaker.”

Charts and Graphs – the league’s operations department responsible for producing scores, tables and comparative data.

Manager A: “I’m sure Emerson Boyce scored a goal this week, but it hasn’t appeared on the table.”
Manager B: “You’ll want to run that past Charts and Graphs, although if you’re relying on Boyce for goals the window can’t come too soon for you.”

The Chalkstripes – staff in the league’s speculations department responsible for making predictions about anything from future performance of individual players or teams to whether the new admin girl likes being taken up the Oxo Tower.

Manager A: “The Chalkstripes say that Frank Lampard will be the big-money flop this season.”
Manager B: “They also reckon it would be really difficult to wash the blood out of those London 2012 Games Maker uniforms.”

The Oxo Tower – landmark on London’s Southbank with a cocktail bar at the top.

Share Button

Author: The chairman

Ascended to the chairmanship of the Jeff Kenna League Fantasy Football League in 2007 after co-founded the league in London in August 2005.