In this post we explain the cliche ‘to throw the kitchen sink’ which is used in football to describe a game in which one side tries everything it can to score. You can find out more about this phrase by reading the transcript below. You can also find many more examples of soccer vocabulary by going to our football cliches page here and our huge football glossary here. If you have questions or comments, please email us at:

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Football Language: To throw the kitchen sink

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The phrase ‘to throw the kitchen sink‘ at something means to try everything you can in order to do something or to solve a problem. In football we sometimes hear this phrase when one team is desperately trying to break down their opponent either to equalise or to score the winning goal. This desperation can be seen if the team changes its tactics in order to score the goal, for example, the goalkeeper goes up for a corner or they move lots of defensive players forward in search of an equaliser/goal. Another way of saying this is ‘to throw everything at (the opponent)‘ which would mean that the attacking side constantly tried to break through the defence to score.

  1. Example: ‘They threw the kitchen sink at us and we held out’ – Celtic captain Scott Brown (BBC., 25 May, 2019)
  2. Example: Southampton approaching kitchen-sink time, says Mark Hughes (Sky Sport, 19 April 2018)
  3. Example: Bournemouth 1 Rotherham United 0 – ‘We threw the kitchen sink’ to find an equaliser, says Paul Warne (Yorkshire Post, 17 February 2021)

In the three examples (above) we can see that the general meaning is to do everything in their power to do something (for example, protect a lead, stay up, win, equalise). In the first example, Celtic captain Scott Brown proudly says that even though the opposition (Aberdeen) tried everything they could (threw the kitchen sink), his team held out which means they did not let them through their defence. The second example is slightly different as the manager of Southampton is looking ahead to his club’s run-in and suggests that it’s time to do everything in their power to stay up and not be relegated. The final example is from the perspective of the team that tried everything to find an equaliser – they threw the kitchen sink at their opponents but were unable to break through/do so.



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