Football Language: (to) Flatter to Deceive

This post’s English for football phrase is the term to ‘Flatter to Deceive’.

  • 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.

Flatter to Deceive

To flatter someone is to tell them they are doing well when in fact they are not doing that well. You give too much praise. To deceive is to lie to someone or to trick them. These words put together into this phrase, to flatter to deceive, mean to make people think something good will happen but in the end the result is bad. So, in football if a team flatters to deceive it means that it looks like they are playing well and it looks like they will win – they flatter the fans – but in the end they do poorly or the good result doesn’t happen – the fans are deceived.

Example: ‘However, as has been typical of Liverpool of late, The Reds once again flattered to deceive (They lost 2-0 to Leicester after a dominant first half).‘ (The Anfield Wrap).

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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1 comment
  • Nonsense. If a football team appears to play well while failing to achieve the desired ultimate effect, how does that flatter the fans? Are the fans being told they’re doing well when in fact they’re not? Do the players have some ulterior motive for lavishing the fans with too much praise? This is simply the misuse of a centuries-old idiom by the thickos in our contemporary society that call themselves sports commentators.

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