We all like to think we’re unique players, bringing our individual styles and dominant personalities to bear during our weekly kickabouts.
Play 5-a-side for even just one game and you’re bound to encounter at least one of the following guys. Worse still, you probably are one. Here’s our guide on who to look out for on the pitch.
1) The latecomer
Lost his watch in 1991, never replaced it. His warm-up is the sprint from the car park to the pitch where his mates have already kicked off with nine. Throws his keys and phone behind the net and doesn’t even have the decency to go in goals first.
Pro equivalent: Andrei Arshavin
Most likely to say: “Traffic was murder, lads. Right, who’s in my team?”
Least likely to say: “What time do you call this?”
2) The moaner
The volume of his rants is inversely proportionate to his talent. Uses the weekly game as a perverse kind of therapy, finding a release for his frustrations over a failing marriage, expanding waistline and career cul-de-sac in a bitter tirade against both team-mates and opponents.
Pro equivalent: Roy Keane
Most likely to say: “Mark up! Track back! Goal side! Show him onto his left! Don’t dive in! Hit him!”
Least likely to say: “Sorry lads, that was my fault.”
3) The Veteran
Oldest player on the pitch. Always at the back. Played 11s at a good level. Knows all the tricks on both sides of the law. Reads the game like Beckenbauer. Most vulnerable in the last 20 minutes, when he employs the dark arts to stay on top of the whippersnappers.
Pro equivalent: Franco Baresi
Most likely to say: “MARK UP!”
Least likely to say: “Take the foot off the gas, lads. This is in the bag.”
4) The Step-Over King
Spends the warm-up doing keepie-uppies by himself with the only ball you have, wearing fluorescent trainers. Opponents soon work out his repertoire of FIFA tricks. This show pony never tracks back and wonders why he always ends up on the losing team.
Pro equivalent: Denilson
Most likely to say: “If that third rabona had come off we’d have won.”
Least likely to say: “Nothing beats the five-yard pass.”
5) The Big Man
Nice touch for a big man. Overweight, under-estimated. Foot like a pillow, turning circle like a JCB. Can trap a speeding a bullet. Just don’t ask him to track back.
Pro equivalent: Jan Molby
Most likely to say: “Play it to my feet.”
Least likely to say: Who’s up for some warm-down sprints?
6) The Goal Hanger
Knows where the goal is – because he never strays more than two metres from it. Keeps an audible running tally of his goals – will aggressively argue that his goalscoring stats outweigh the refusal to defend which has led to a narrow defeat for his team.
Pro equivalent: Pippo Inzaghi
Most likely to say: “Why didn’t you just pass to me?”
Least likely to say: “There’s no ‘i’ in team”
7) The Shooter
Yes, he does have a good shot. But he’s more Rambo than American Sniper, spraying the back wall with wayward piledrivers while ignoring team-mates in better positions. Responsible for ball-marked thighs, bruised testicles and the occasional concussion. Never apologises.
Pro equivalent: Thomas ‘The Hammer’ Hitzlsperger
Most likely to say: “’Have it!”
Least likely to say: “Sorry, I should have squared it.”
8) The Assassin
Early 40s, just a little bit overweight. Wife-beater vest displaying old-school arm ink. Footwear custom-built for maximum damage. The boards are his partner in crime and he’ll slam you into them like he’s an ice hockey enforcer. Slide tackles on any surface. May once have killed a man.
Pro equivalent: Vinnie Jones
Most likely to say: “It’s a man’s game, son.”
Least likely to say: “Take it easy, it’s only a kickabout.”
9) The Crock
Always injured. Or coming back from an injury. Or petrified of picking up another injury. Knee strap. Ankle support. Knows more about the human body than a Harley Street doctor. Diagnoses on-pitch injuries in real-time – usually wrongly.
Pro equivalent: Jack Wilshere
Most likely to say: “That looks like a grade one tear of the adductor muscle, mate.”
Least likely to say: “It’s cool. I’ll run it off…”
10) The Weakest Link
Worst player by a country mile. Usually a nice guy, which makes it impossible to dish out the bollocking he deserves on a weekly basis. Team-mates fall into a damaging cycle of negative reinforcement, where the merest display of competence is cheered as if it was the winning goal in the World Cup final.
Pro equivalent: David May
Most likely to say: “Sorry.”
Least likely to say: “Give it me and I’ll do the rest.”
11) The Net Dodger
Will do anything to avoid his turn in goal. Prone to lingering at the other end of the field and avoiding eye contact with his team-mates when it’s his turn. Will not accept that it’s his turn until issued with court papers and frogmarched to the ‘D’. Lets in a soft goal almost immediately to get back out again.
Most likely to say: “I’ve been in twice already.”
Least likely to say: “I’ll stay in for another.”
12) The Human Scoreboard
Annoys everyone with his endless scorekeeping. Most vocal when his team are in front, but strangely silent when they are on the wrong end of a skelping. Prone to creative accounting, particularly when his team are behind, at which point a four-goal deficit can vanish in an instant.
Most likely to say: “That’s one / two / three to us.”
Least likely to say: “That’s one / two / three to you.”
Photo credit: some of the photos have been used under creative commons from Wikipedia.