This post explains the phrase ‘to down tools’ – which can be heard often during the transfer window when a player is unhappy.
The tools in this phrase refers to what workers use to complete their job. If you are talking about football, which is a pretty simple game, the player’s tools are a ball and boots, and maybe shin pads. To down tools, means to put the tools down and not use them. It means to refuse to work. In football it is the next step by a player who wants to leave a club. First the hand in a transfer request and then they down tools. It means the player refuses to train, to play – to work for the club. To down tools.
Example: ‘Alexis Sanchez is not the sort of player who would “down tools,” As Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger makes a decision on whether to let him leave, according to former Gunners defender Martin Keown.(Eurosport.com, 8th August 2017).