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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.

Notable Colemanballs

Double entendres

  • He [Diawarea] brings out an extra six to twelve inches and it's a fantastic tackle.
    • Scott Minto, BBC
  • If he opens his legs, he'll be hard to handle.
  • Ardiles strokes the ball like it was a part of his anatomy.
  • Neil Harvey, standing at leg slip with his legs wide apart, waiting for a tickle.
  • Botham struggled to get his leg over there.
  • Rutherford's asking the umpire how many balls he's got left... he's got two.
  • This is Gregoriava from Bulgaria. I saw her snatch this morning and it was amazing.
    • Pat Glenn, Weightlifting Commentator
  • I was saying the other day, how often the most vulnerable area for goalies is between their legs...
  • The Czech Republic are coming from behind in more than one way now.
    • 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.
  • Gary Neville says that Porto are a bunch of girls who go down too easily.
  • This is really a lovely horse, I once rode her mother.
    • Ted Walsh
  • The batsman's Holding, the bowler's Willey.
  • Arsene Wenger's lips are firmly sealed on Sir Alex Ferguson"
  • Reverend John, who is living with an openly gay partner, is no doubt feeling rather sore today.
    • Paul Handley, Radio 5 Live
  • Brazil is letting Peru grow and coming from behind. (In brazilian portuguese, peru is used to refer to turkey (the bird) and also as a slang for penis).
  • Whenever I say Rodrigo you listen Roger.


  • And here's Moses Kiptanui, the 19 year old Kenyan, who turned 20 a few weeks ago.
    • 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...
    • David Coleman, BBC
  • What I said to them at half time would be unprintable on the radio.
  • I was in Saint-Etienne two years ago. It's much the same as it is now, although now it's completely different.
  • I imagine that the conditions in those cars are totally unimaginable.
  • Mansell knows exactly where he (Ayrton Senna) is because he can see him in his earphones.
  • The Baggio brothers, of course, are not related.
  • The lad got over-excited when he saw the whites of the goalpost's eyes.
  • Ralf Schumacher has been upstaged by the teenager Jenson Button, who is 20.
  • For those of you watching in black and white, Spurs are in the all-yellow strip.
  • He knows all about the Italian opposition, playing now in Turkey...
    • John Motson, BBC
  • You need at least eight or nine men in a ten-man wall.
  • Billy Gilbert hit a kamikaze back pass which Justin Fashanu pounced on like a black Frank Bruno.
    • 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.
  • I'm not going to drag it out or make a point, because points are pointless.
  • He’ll have a pair of sharp and canny shoulders to listen to.
  • An inch or two either side of the post and that would have been a goal.
  • Well Clive, it's all about the two 'M's - movement and positioning.
  • Neil Baker is standing on the touchline with his hands in his tracksuit bottoms scratching his head.
  • I'll be back in just 15 minutes in an hour's time.
  • Obviously it would be tough playing up in the Premiership next season, but I wouldn't lose any sleepless nights.
  • 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
  • You won't win silver medals at the Olympic Games unless you're the very very best.
    • 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.
    • Matt Jones, Sky Sports
  • I hope it will encourage people to speak out against what they believe in.
    • Unattributed
  • The scoreline didn't reflect the result.
    • Marcus Buckland, Sky
  • If they are aware of it, they'll be oblivious of it.
  • Fourth spot is what we're aiming for... we don't want to be second best.
  • Keith Gillespie just lacks a bit of inconsistency.
  • This isn’t a rational decision — I’ve been thinking about it for quite a while.
  • And he's bowled Hansie Cronje neck and crop! fact, Jonty Rhodes, apologies to the skipper!
  • I'm not going to pick out anyone in particular, but Jay Jay Okocha should not be captain of a football club.
    • Rodney Marsh, Sky Sports
  • He [Souness] has just gone behind my back in front of my face.
  • The locals won't come within miles of this place.
    • Natural World, BBC Two, 6 May 2008
  • It was nothing special, I kicked with the handiest foot.
  • My club was on the edge of the cliff, but it made a right decision giving the step ahead.
  • Well friends of Globo TV here we are at Buenos Aires, Equador (Buenos Aires is Argentina's, not Equador's capital).
    • Galvão Bueno, Globo TV
  • That Gonzalez guy is old enough to be Robinho's father. He's 32 and Robinho...21.
    • Galvão Bueno, Globo TV
  • You can see Pericles Chamusca giving directions to his team. (Pericles Chamusca was sent off some moments ago)
    • Galvão Bueno, Globo TV
  • Those are two very strong sides. São Paulo FC and Tigres from Mexico is a classic match (it was the first time São Paulo and Tigres ever played against each other)
    • Galvão Bueno, Globo TV
  • Santos lost within few moments in their home stadium!
    • Galvão Bueno, Globo TV
  • Now that's a beautiful crossed parallel ball! (Volley match)
    • Galvão Bueno, Globo TV
  • Now that's a beautiful crossed parallel ball! (Volley match)
    • Galvão Bueno, Globo TV
  • And after this match, you don't miss another inedited episode in Vale a Pena Ver de Novo ("You Should See It Again" - This is a famous afternoon show of Globo TV for old soap operas reruns) ** Galvão Bueno, Globo TV



  • 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.

Freudian slips

When is a draw not a draw?

  • His reign ended with that nil-all defeat by Switzerland at Lansdowne Road.
  • With news of Scotland's 0-0 victory over Holland...
    • Scottish Television
  • We thrashed Romania 0-0 in the first half...
  • 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.
    • Steve Burkinshaw
  • I'm 28 now, and they say you peak at 28 so my best years are still ahead of me.
  • After a loss, the worst result is a tie.

Mixed metaphors

  • Many clubs have a question mark in the shape of an axe-head hanging over them.
  • 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.
    • George Hamilton, RTÉ
  • And Cristiano Ronaldo has hit the ball with every inch of his body weight!
    • Alan Dark
  • I think the big guns will come to the boil.
  • And the Bulgarians are doing all they can here to waste every last inch of time in this game.
    • Colin MacNamara
  • That's another nail in his afternoon.
    • Mark Blundell
  • They've tasted the other side of the coin on so many occasions.
    • Andy Townsend
  • They (Scotland) are staring down the barrel of a wooden spoon.
    • Will Greenwood, Radio 5 Live
  • I bet Keegan will be jumping like a Jack in a Beanstalk.
    • Sky Sports News
  • We haven't had the rub of the dice.
  • They've taken the horns by the scruff of the neck.
  • It was that game that put the Everton ship back on the road.
  • 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.
  • We may finally be seeing the light at the end of the rainbow.
  • I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel.
  • When the chips are up against him, he pulls out all the stops.
  • This is all about historical events in the past.
    • Unattributed.
  • Questa è stata la scintilla che ha fatto traboccare la goccia. [This was the spark that spilled the drop.]
  • ...flying in like an express train.
    • ITV commentator, Roma vs. Manchester United, 1 April 2008
  • He's not the sharpest sandwich in the picnic.
  • Now it's time to put the heart in the peak of the boot.
  • Adriano is burning tonight, he looks like a caged lion!

Stating the obvious

  • It's a great advantage to be able to hurdle with both legs.
    • David Coleman, BBC
  • If the ball had crossed the line, it would have been a goal...
    • David Coleman, BBC
  • And I honestly believe we can go all the way to Wembley......unless somebody knocks us out.
  • With half the race gone, there is half of the race still to go
  • A deflection - that's what changed the course of the ball.
    • Jim Beglin, ITV, 2006 World Cup
  • There's a real international flavour to this World Cup.
  • It's raining very hard now and the players are getting wet.
  • The man (Alex Ferguson) is United. Cut him and he will bleed red.
  • It's raining and the track is wet.
  • I think the batsman's strategy will be to make runs and not get out.
  • Once someone hits that puck it's going to keep going until it stops.
    • Unattributed
  • The key to winning a hockey game is to score more goals than your opponent.
  • All the speculation surrounding me is just speculation.
  • Jagielka is related to his younger brother at Sheffield United, Phil.
    • Kevin Keatings, Radio 5 Live
  • The race has now been reduced to a number of riders.
  • As they go through that sprint point, it's still the two leaders in front.
  • Hard things you know, aren't easy.
    • Vicente Matheus, former president of SC Corinthians Paulista (Brazil).
  • If Brazil goes allright in the defense and attack, maybe wins!
    • Galvão Bueno, Globo TV(Brazil).
  • We're very worried, but let's make it clear to the friends of Globo TV that if the ball won't cross the line, it's not a goal!
    • Galvão Bueno, Globo TV(Brazil).
  • The game's over when it's over.
    • Galvão Bueno, Globo TV(Brazil).
  • You can't score two goals at the same time.
    • Galvão Bueno, Globo TV(Brazil).
  • In Hungary, when you got a heavily cloudy sky like this, it's a sign it's going to rain.
    • Galvão Bueno, Globo TV(Brazil).
  • My friend, it's not just raining, the water is falling!
    • Galvão Bueno, Globo TV(Brazil).


  • He owes his defence a grat of debtitude there
    • 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.
    • Tom Tyrell
  • Oh dear, his right leg collided with himself there.
    • Mark Bright
  • Ian Pearce... has limped off with what looks like a shoulder injury.
    • 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.
    • Paul Sturrock
  • We have to roll up our sleeves and get our knees dirty...
  • He's a good goalkeeper, keeps his feet on the ground.
  • 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.
  • I'm not sure, I just kicked and the ball went away, away...and wented!.
    • Paulo Nunes, Grêmio Football Porto Alegrense (Brazil)
  • From now on, my heart has only one colour: the red-and-black.
    • Fabao, Flamengo Futebol e Regatas (Brazil)
  • Mexico is that good. You get a weekly paycheck every 15 days.
    • Ferreira, Santos FC (Brazil)

Mumbo Jumbo

  • We can't live in the past - we can only live in the future.
  • If blood is thicker than water, it must also be thicker than a calendar or a small clock.
  • I didn't see the point of hiding a bushel under a carpet...
  • You don't come along with problematics 'cause I got solutionatics.
  • A classic match is a classic match and vice versa.

Too soon

  • There goes Paneira with his unique style... but wait, it's Veloso
    • Unknown commentator on RTP 1
  • And Bonner has gone 165 minutes of these championships without conceding a goal. Oh danger here...
    • George Hamilton, RTÉ
  • Only one team could win this match from here, and that's England.
    • Kevin Keegan, moments before Romanian Petrescu scored the winner against England in the 1998 World Cup.
  • Will he score here? Yes.
    • 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.
  • The Argentine defender wants shooting for a mistake like that.
    • Alan Hansen - this comment was made shortly after 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

Notes and references

  1. "A breeze for Blowers", Dan Warren, BBC Sport, [[w:January 16|]] [[w:2003|]]
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named bbc
  3. "Just the job for a Very Nice Person", [[w:Simon Hoggart|]], [[w:The Guardian|]], [[w:March 25|]] [[w:2006|]]
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