You cheating b*stard! 7 ways to master the art of time-wasting in football

Learn how to 'see out the game' in sh*thouse style.

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (C, down) receives medical assistance after an injury during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and OGC Nice at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on May 4, 2019. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images)


A bit like diving, time-wasting is part of football. Teams who need to “kill off” a match rarely hesitate to employ some nefarious methods. And rightly so: if you’re not doing it, you’re probably a bit stupid – and probably throwing away a lot of leads in the closing stages.


Sure, yer da might have a moan about it. He’ll probably blame it on the “foreign players”. But time-wasting has been around since time immemorial and it’s not going away any time soon, so you may as well get used to it. Embrace the chaos. Or rather, embrace the dullness.

Anyway, if you’re an up-and-coming player hoping to make it in the Premier League, you’ll need to show your clock-burning mettle. You won’t get far if you’re crossing the ball instead of heading for the corner flag while holding on for dear life in the 90th minute. Just ask David Ginola.

So, as the Premier League returns, for all you fledglings aiming for the top, here are seven ways to “see out the game” in true sh*thouse style.

Make a point of shaking hands with the referee as you’re being substituted/sent-off

How could anyone object to this? It’s just sportsmanship, after all. You simply want to show the ref your appreciation of how he or she has officiated – though strolling over to do the same with each assistant referee is probably overkill and may lead to a booking.

In the post-COVID world, you’ll need to swap a handshake for an elbow tip. Feel free to exploit this by going down injured as soon as you make contact.

If you’re really in the mood for sh*thousing, why not try to shaking hands with the ref after you’ve just been sent-off for time-wasting?

Have the crowd return a ball to the pitch after play has resumed

Okay, this one may take a bit of prior organisation. But a truly elite time-wasting unit will be so in sync with their supporters that it should become second-nature.

Here’s how it works. The ball goes out of play and into the crowd. An opposing player will forlornly approach and demand its return, which will not be forthcoming.

A ballboy/girl will dutifully supply a replacement and play will resume. At which point the crowd will chuck the previously withheld ball onto the pitch, forcing the ref to halt the match. If done right, this is a balletic experience to rival Swan Lake.

Goalkeepers must take goal-kicks from the furthest point in the six-yard box

There’s nothing in the rules to stop this. A keeper can take the goal-kick from anywhere in the six-yard box.

Ideally, you want to retrieve the ball from as far as possible to one side of the goal, then jog to the completely opposite side of the six-yard box. If anyone complains, well, they haven’t got a leg to stand on. Besides, that just gives you the excuse to waste a few more seconds explaining to the referee that it’s too slippy on the other side and you’re worried about injury.

This stunt is all the more effective if an opposing player has already placed the ball angrily on one corner. You are then duty-bound to move it to the other – if you don’t, you’re just letting yourself and everyone else down.

The set-piece no-one wants to take

If you get this right, you can stretch it out to at least 20 seconds.

All you need to do is stand over the ball after you’ve won a set-piece and shape as if you’re looking for a quick option. Maybe do a quick lunge towards the stationary sphere. An exasperated sigh will add verisimilitude.

Then, call over a team-mate to take your place. Reply to any objections with, “what’s the problem? I’m not the designated taker.”

Head for the corner and stay there…

Old but gold.

“Oh, is my lace undone? I’d better tie it before taking this set piece.”

If you are feeling VERY confident and don’t mind employing a high-risk high-reward strategy, you can take inspiration from this master:

If all else fails, just pretend you are severely injured

For extra points, why not try deliberately falling off a stretcher?


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