Ronald Frederick "Big Ron" Atkinson (born 18 March 1939 in Liverpool, England) is a British former football player and manager. In recent years he has become one of Britain's best-known football pundits. He is perhaps most famous for his idiosyncratic turn of phrase: his utterances have become known as "Big-Ronisms" or "Ronglish", the most famous of which is the term "early doors" (English: early), which has worked its way into the English vernacular.
Atkinson did not achieve great heights in his playing career. He was originally signed by Aston Villa F.C. at the age of 17, but never played a first-team match for them and was transferred to Oxford United F.C. in 1959. He went on to make over 500 appearances as a wing-half for the club, and earned the nickname "The Tank". He was United's captain through their rise from the Southern League to the Second Division, achieved in just seven seasons.
After retiring from playing, Atkinson became manager of non-league Kettering Town F.C. in 1971. His success there led to a move to the league with Cambridge United F.C., going on to win the then Fourth Division in 1977 and leaving them when they were on the verge of promotion to the Second Division. At the start of 1978, Atkinson moved to manage First Division West Bromwich Albion F.C.. He soon signed black player Brendon Batson from his former club, to play alongside the black pair of Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis. Never before had an English team simultaneously fielded three black players and the Three Degrees, as they became known in reference to the contemporary vocal trio of the same name, challenged the established racism of English football and marked a watershed that allowed a generation of footballers to enter the game who would previously have been excluded by their ethnic background.
Strangely Atkinson resigned from ITV after making a racist remark live on air about the black Chelsea F.C. player Marcel Desailly.
Some "Ronglish" terms
early doors: early
lipop: a trick performed by a player, often a winger, consisting of passing the foot over the ball in an attempt to fool an opposition defender
amusement arcade: a skilful but ineffective player
reducer: a firm tackle made early in the game to reduce a skilled player's contribution
Hollywood ball: an overambitious pass
spotter's badge: plaudit given to a player who has made an accurate pass
little eyebrows: a header made which glances off the player's forehead intentionally
Ron Atkinson Quotes
"His white boots were on fire against Arsenal, and he'll be looking for them to reproduce tonight"
"When you're at that end of the table, normally you're looking for front players but he's got four good ones in Brian Deane, Hamilton Ricard, Alen Boksic and Noel Whelan"
"He actually looks a little tw@t, that Totti"
"That boy throws a ball further than I go on holiday" - On Dave Challinor of Tranmere.
"The keeper should have saved that one but he did"
"The Spaniards have been reduced to aiming aimless balls into the box"
"If Glenn Hoddle said one word to his team at half time, it was concentration and focus"
"Carlton Palmer can trap the ball further than I can kick it"
"Ryan Giggs is running long up the backside"
"I would not say David Ginola is the best left winger in the Premiership, but there are none better"
"The Bulgarian players are tried and trusted. Well, I'm not sure they can be trusted"
"I tell you what, if the Cameroons get a goal back here they're literally gonna catch on fire"
"Well, Clive, it's all about the two M's. Movement and positioning"
"Suker - first touch like a camel"
"Woodcock would have scored, but his shot was too perfect"
"Someone in the England team will have to grab the ball by the horns"
"He's not only a good player, but he's spiteful in the nicest sense of the word"
"He sliced the ball when he had it on a plate"
"I'm afraid they've left their legs at home"
"I think that was a moment of cool panic there"
"Beckenbauer really has gambled all his eggs"
"They've done the old-fashioned things well; they've kicked the ball, they've headed it"
"Chelsea look like they've got a couple more gears left in the locker"
"Now Manchester United are 2-1 down on aggregate, they are in a better position than when they started the game at 1-1"
"Zero-zero is a big score"
"He was lightning slow"
"Tony Adams - He's a rock that the team has grown from"
"A ten foot keeper really should have stopped that"
"The keeper was unsighted - he still didn't see it"