Shape, get rid, how long?! Your guide to non-league lingo

Action from Old Windsor vs Britwell. Photo: Andrew Batt.
Action from Old Windsor vs Britwell. Photo: Andrew Batt.

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You’ve been there, you’ve heard it, whether it’s on the pitch, in the dugout or in the stands, one of the quirks of non-league football is the, sometimes bizarre and often comical, phrases you hear. We’ve put together a guide of the best of non-league lingo.

‘He/She doesn’t want it’ usually shouted 30 seconds after the whistle has blown and directed at a player, who unless I’m mistaken, has made it into the starting XI and is therefore very much up for getting a touch on the ball. 

‘It’s still 0-0’ uttered moments after a team has successfully put one in the back of the net to make it 1-0. Have I been playing the wrong game this whole time?

‘How long, Ref?’ – asked approximately 20 minutes in because someone had one two many pints at the pub last night and is now blowing so hard, they could give the Big Bad Wolf a run for his money. 

‘Shape’ – two instances in which this is screamed, suddenly everyone’s 8 years old again, bunched around the ball and forgotten all recollection of pitch positioning or it’s that player from before asking ‘how long, Ref?’ because if they run too much, they might see that 2am kebab again. 

‘Get it out’ – chuck a couple of eggs in for this one because there’s 17 players in the box simultaneously scrambling to get it beyond the line as the keeper swings wildly and aimlessly and there’s at minimum three players on the floor kicking frantically. 

Reading FC Women captain Tash Harding.
Reading FC Women captain Tash Harding (probably) telling her team it’s still 0-0. Photo: Neil Graham /

‘No foul’ – bellowed by a fellow team-mate as a two footed sliding tackle happens in slow motion for all to see. 

‘Travel’ – this is a reference to the forward movement towards the goal of the player with the ball. A truly groundbreaking concept.

‘He/She can’t run’ – repetitively shouted by a spectator with a warm pint in their hand who hasn’t played for at least 5 years and often aimed at the captain of the team at a cup final.

‘All day, you’ve got all day’ – numerically incorrect for a start, you’ve got 90 minutes, and typically shouted at the player who panics under pressure and therefore fizzes it directly at the opposition.

‘Get rid’ – proclaimed after a missed swipe at the ball in the box before it’s shanked out for a corner or hoofed over the hedgerow never to be seen again.

‘Could’ve gone semi-pro me…’ – if it weren’t for that ankle ‘injury’ you sustained in the under 10’s summer football festival, 23 years ago…of course, pal. 

‘Game’s gone’ often makes an appearance on social media too because of a multitude of minor inconveniences to a spectator’s team. Penalty, game’s gone. Red card, game’s gone.

‘What colour’s your shirt under there?’ – directed at the linesman because he’s doing a sterling job of calling the offsides.

Have we missed any classic lines? Let us know!

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