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    Trash talk in football

    It occurred to me, watching yet another boxing build-up descend into boasts about who was going to knock who out, that football is surprisingly lacking in that sort of thing, on the whole, isn't it? Even Jose Mourinho, asked about his next opponents, will invariably praise their strengths, say they're a good team etc, not reply "that bunch are rubbish. We'll dick them. Six-nil".

    Is that a recent, or peculiarly British, thing? Are there any managers or players who do make proud boasts about what their team's going to do?

    #2
    It's boxing (and possibly NFL) that's the outlier here I think

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      #3
      The first time I can recall hearing the term "trash talk" was 25 years ago and in a football context ;

      'Ian Wright could be in the NBA,' Meola said. 'He was talking trash the whole game, non-stop.'

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        #4
        I seem to remember the seventies being an era when certain footballers would be a bit more boastful about what they were going to do with their opponents. The examples I can think of are both in the Cup, Malcolm Macdonald twice being very dismissive of Final opponents when he got there with Newcastle and Arsenal (and failing to deliver and losing in both - as is mentioned in 'Fever Pitch') and The Leatherhead Lip loudly saying what he was going to do to forthcoming opponents from higher up in the league.

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          #5
          There's a distinction to be drawn between on-field insults and incitement, aka sledging, and the incorporation of the same into pre-match build up and publicity. In the latter case a far stronger impression is given that it is officially sanctioned, whereas the former can be played down as 'dark arts' or similar. I imagine that from a marketing point of view there is a difference between any negative impressions becoming attaching to the sport itself rather than just to individual participants.


          Edit: Brian Clough's comments about the Polish goalkeeper, albeit made as an interested observer, may have left a lasting impression in England about the flaws in the dismissive approach anyway.
          Last edited by Benjm; 04-10-2018, 13:03.

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            #6
            This may not actually be trash talk as cowardly media-warrior behaviour but the mighty Rovers' do-no-wrong sweetheart (at the time) Alan Shearer did his worryingly narrow-eyed John Lydon impersonation and smiled as he said in the summer of 1995 "there's no easy games in the Premiership...except Ipswich at home" in his only ever pre-2010 joke, Ipswich having capitulated 0-9 at Old Trafford on their way to relegation which destroyed Rovers' well-hung goal difference in 1994/1995, save in the knowledge that he was a Golden God and would never need to think about them again.
            The next season Rovers drew Ipswich in the FA Cup and Shearer had two shockers up against the mighty Eddie Youds as that solitary "easy game" replay was lost 0-1. To be fair to old Shocksy it wasn't ACTUALLY a Premiership game.

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              #7
              Spurs have had plenty of Arsenal types mouthing off in the recent past: notably Wellbeck, Wilshere - who received at least one £40k fine for it, IIRC - and that dipstick of an ex-goalkeeper whose name I can never spell (nor would care to). (A couple of Chelsea players were also vociferous in their put-downs during the season that Leicester won.)

              Can't be 100% certain, but I'm not aware of any of our players having done the same thing. However, I'd be pretty embarrassed if they had - as I'd hope the club would be.

              I guess it's all part of the (post-)social media era - and I'd certainly expect it from supporters, who, after all, hold no such responsibility - but players trashing fellow professionals is, well, a bit sh*t really.

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                #8
                IIRC the Polish Celtic 'keeper Artur Boruc was a bit of a cock for this, although can't think of any immediate examples.

                Oh, and Bruce Grobelaar against Roma surely counts.

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                  #9
                  The wobbly legs? That was performance art sledging. Or did he gob off before the match about us winning?

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                    #10
                    I think I may have missed the point.

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                      #11
                      I don't think 'in game' can really count, can it? If so, then every Joe Schmoe who whispers something derogatory into the ear of the penalty-taker comes under fire.

                      I guess it explains the constant 'hand/mouth' precaution that modern players seem compelled to take when talking to one another, however.

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                        #12
                        Players put their hand over their mouth when they're talking to teammates. It's a universal thing in Spain, because they had entire tv shows devoted to lipreading what players said to each other. I wouldn't even assume that that a player speaking to an opponent like that was sledging him.

                        I don't know if there's any point in sledging in football any more. Players just don't get distracted. It was something that was really obvious in that whole Suarez Evra row. I mean that in itself was an initially just an example of sledging that crossed a line. But the video of the incident was very instructive, in that every time the ball went out of play, the two players were at each others throats. But when the ball was in play, the switch from rowing, to 100% focus on the game was hilarious, as was the instantaneous return to the Tom and Jerry level aggro.

                        Also The thing is that there's always a risk that the person you are sledging, will kick the fuck out of you on the pitch, or will beat the living shit out of you in the tunnel. This is the version of the story that he tells in public. There is another version of this story that is massively more satisfying.

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                          #13
                          The lip-reading became a "thing" here too for a while - I think one of the downmarket weekly lad's mags that have long since bitten the dust had a feature.

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by The Awesome Berbaslug!!! View Post
                            Players put their hand over their mouth when they're talking to teammates. It's a universal thing in Spain, because they had entire tv shows devoted to lipreading what players said to each other. I wouldn't even assume that that a player speaking to an opponent like that was sledging him.
                            Alvaro Morata appeared to be doing exactly that ahead of a yellow card just now.

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                              #15
                              Lip reading and voice overs of the “revealed text” is still a thing in Spain.

                              In the US, “trash talk” outside of boxing tends to be limited to the field of play, with the NBA generally considered to be the current masters of the art. Trading insults in the media happens, but it isn’t considered to be trash talk.

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                                #16
                                Malcolm Allison was quite the trash talker, at least at the beginning of his career at Man City as assistant to Joe Mercer. "We'll terrify the cowards of Europe" he famously bragged just after winning the league title in 1968. City went out to Fenerbahçe in the first round and didn’t qualify again for the C1 until 2012.

                                Lots of trash talking of course before the infamous England-Hungary of Nov. 1953, aka the "Match of the Century".

                                Billy Wright to Stan Mortensen: "We should be alright here Stan, these Hungarians haven't even got the proper kit."

                                Jimmy Andrews to Malcolm Allison (both West Ham players watching the game in the stands): "Look at that fat little chap there Malcolm… We’ll murder that lot." (the fat little chap was Ferenc Puskás)

                                Billy Wright also slagged off the Hungarian players to his team-mates in the tunnel for wearing "an odd shirt and strange lightweight boots cut away like slippers under the ankle bone".

                                (Unbeknown to him, Hungarians were actually at the forefront of kit style: they wore tight, lightweight shirt and relatively short shorts, a style that Umbro would soon copy. By contrast, the England players were wearing long, heavy, baggy and badly cut shorts. Umbro duly noticed how stylish the Hungarians were and shortly after created the first "continental style shirt" with a V neck collar and short sleeves, with short tight shorts, which England players wore during an England-Wales in Nov. 1954. Busby liked that style and asked Umbro to design a similar kit for Manchester United.)

                                As we all know, England lost 6-3 and 7-1 six months later at the Nepstadion in Budapest.

                                And what about the infamous England-USA of WC 1950 (0-1), the Daily Express wrote: "It would be fair to give the USA three goals of a start."

                                In a fitting example of reverse trash, the US manager (Bill Jeffrey) said before the game: "We have no chance against England" before going on to describe his players as "sheep ready to be slaughtered".

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                                  #17
                                  Also on the International front there was also Ally MacLeod significantly over-promising in the days before departing for Argentina.

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                                    #18
                                    Fuck sake MacLeod ya prick

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                                      #19
                                      Yep, first name I thought of when I saw the OP.

                                      And if you were a 10 year old on the sofa with your Ovaltine in 1978, allowed to stay up late to watch the waking nightmare, and the trauma has never been forgotten, and you would be a 50 year old manager today, and so that basically answers Rogin's question.

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                                        #20
                                        Trash talking is easier if you don’t meet the other player much. This can be the case in both boxing (where rematches are the exception rather than the rule), and the NFL (where particular types of players are effectively restricted to one part of the field).

                                        With boxing, there’s a stark and sometimes bizarre contrast between the pre-fight trash-talk cum hype, and the almost bromance-style bonhomie afterwards once they’ve been through the mill together. Truth must be somewhere in between.

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                                          #21
                                          Originally posted by Pérou Flaquettes View Post

                                          And what about the infamous England-USA of WC 1950 (0-1), the Daily Express wrote: "It would be fair to give the USA three goals of a start."
                                          To be fair, media trash talk is a whole thread on its own. Remember "EASY"?

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                                            #22
                                            In boxing and MMA they need to actually promote that fight in order to generate pay per view revenue, which of course is never an issue in team sports where the players get a flat rate of pay.

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                                              #23
                                              You can sell a fight in boxing without trash talk though. Joshua v Klitschko being a good recent example where there was clear mutual respect between the fighters in advance and it was about the contest, it’s an exception not the rule though sadly.
                                              Last edited by Ray de Galles; 05-10-2018, 08:48.

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                                                #24
                                                Over-selling yourself before a tournament - viz McLeod or Allison - isn't really 'trash-talking' though, is it? It's just hype - as unwieldy as those two showed that can be. After all, Ally McLeod never said 'Peru are sh*t', he just bigged-up his own team while failing to carry out the necessary research or preparation on his opponents.

                                                To me, trash-talking or sledging surely (for definition, I mean) have to involve the direct slating of an opponent, do they not? The above examples are nowhere near the level of US wrestling - where it makes complete sense, the whole 'sport' being a pantomime replete with pre-ordained heroes and villains - and boxing, which as a spectacle has been cheapened by the now almost-obligatory preamble of 'trash'.

                                                A lot of people seem to enjoy it, but it irks me that the normalisation of such antics is already creeping into other sports. (Those like me who find it all a bit crass and pathetic, are I'm sure viewed as 'snowflakes' - or whatever the latest buzzword might be - by the Twitter generation.)

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                                                  #25
                                                  Originally posted by The Awesome Berbaslug!!! View Post
                                                  The thing is that there's always a risk that the person you are sledging, will kick the fuck out of you on the pitch, or will beat the living shit out of you in the tunnel. This is the version of the story that he tells in public. There is another version of this story that is massively more satisfying.
                                                  Ah, yes the famous "Mass Fisting Up Chelsea Players Tunnel"...

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