Weekly Football Phrase: Top drawer

In this football language post we explain the phrase, ‘top drawer‘ and ‘out of the top drawer‘. You can read the transcript for this podcast below, while you can also check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at admin@languagecaster.com.

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Top drawer

This week’s English for football is ‘top drawer‘ and ‘out of the top drawer‘. This phrase has been used since the beginning of the 20th century to mean high class, very good. The top drawer in a chest of drawers was used by rich people to keep their finest jewellery or most expensive clothes, so to say something is top drawer means it is one of the best. In football it is often used as a noun to describe a save with the verb ‘pull’: The goalkeeper pulled that one out of the top drawer; or as an adjective to describe a player: Chelsea have bought a top-drawer striker in Torres. Top drawer

  • Example: ‘Top drawer performance’ – This ex-Premier League referee is fully behind Mike Dean following Newcastle controversy (December 10 2018 Shields Gazette)
  • Example: ‘…he will see my belief in him from the fact he is playing and hopefully from the fact I want to do extra shooting with him daily, every type of finishing and the first one today was top drawer. That comes from work on the training ground.’ (BBC.co.uk 2019)



Football Language Glossary

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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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