How to speak Notlobian and what a man in the Isle of Man has to do with this match

Special advanced notice: although much of the commentary consists of mindless gibberish there is a bit of serious stuff part way through, which is all true.  You have to guess which bit it is.

Part the First: The Evil Empire

Bolton Wanderers, known as Notlob, make the Evil Empire look like a troupe of ballet dancers performing Swan Lake in the Kalahari Desert.

But still we must attend to our duty, be at the match and pretend that they might play football, no matter how much of an evolutionary backwater the town and its nearby club appears to be.

For as Shakespeare says, “The Republic of Nottlobe thriveth upon unreason, and unreason thriveth upon Nottlobe and beyond.” (As You Like It, Act II scene III).

Or to quote Queen Victoria, “We seem to have conquered Notlobia in a fit of absence of the mind”.

Part the second: the fans and the language

Thus we give a warm and hearty welcome to the beings from the knuckle end of olde England: the wildebeests of the north.   It is reported that Notlob have taken up their full compliment of away tickets for today and so with 37 people from the outlying province meandering around the ground it is possible that you might hear some Notlobian if you are at the game.   I therefore thought it might be helpful if I translated.

As you may know following the Radio 5 programme “Teach yourself Notlobian”, Notlobian has no word for goal – largely because it is so rarely needed.  Instead they adapt their word for “foootball” (kick-im).   You will have heard this on Sunday.   We scored and they shouted “Kick im”.

Likewise the phrase, “well played sir!” which of course is commonly caroused at the Ems, again has no direct translation into Notlobian – “Kick-im-ard” is perhaps the closest that there is, although some argue for “Kick-im-again”

Indeed as we saw at the weekend there are some tactics which are common practice in Notlobia but which are rarely seen on England’s green and pleasant land.  For example there is hair pulling (known in Notlob as “fair tackle”), ankle kicking (known in Notlob as “fair tackle”), the elbow in the face (“fair tackle”) and head butting (“fair tackle”).  These will undoubtedly all be witnessed in the game tonight.

You will also notice that these “fair tackle” tactics are never penalised by the refs – for as they regularly point out, “if we sent them off for each fair tackle, there would be none of them left”.

(Another reason for the non-punishment of Notlobian players is that no ref can speak Notlobian – but that is strongly denied by the Committee of Public Safety who now oversee all refereeing matters.  As their Chairman Maximilien Francois Marie Isidore de Robespierre says, “Notlob est Notlob”.)

Part the Thrid: On meeting a Notlobian

So, there is a chance that you will meet a Notlobian on your way to the ground.   If he or she should speak to you here are the phrases they are most likely to use, both in Notlobian and English

Notlobian: “Kunde mai zegge hoe dak aont stadion geraok ?”

English: “Could you tell me the way to the ground please?”

Notlobian: “Is daor e pintje en frut te koep in da stadion?”

English: “Can you buy beer and chips in the stadium?”

Notlobian: “Khem main peird vastgebonde aon de metro, da’s toch in orde he?”

English: “I’ve tied up my horse by the underground station – will that be ok?”

Notlobian: “En ziede da keuniginneke veul as ge zoe in London woent ?”

English: “Do you get to see the queen very often, living in London?”

Part the Fourth: Notlob – The Club’s Finances

The Revolutionary and Democratic Republic of Notlobia has retained its independence in financial matters since it was liberated from the tyranny of Nogbad the Bad by Alfred the Great in the 9th century.   As a result it has retained its historical currency, the Notlobian Pobble Bead.  In what follows I have translated money into UK Pounds – firstly because that helps understanding, and secondly because I don’t have space for all the zeros that Pobble Bead accounting requires.

The last set of figures go to 30 June 2009 (26th Biffo in the Decade of the Anchovy, in Notlobia).

The Notlobians  lost £13 million that year, when they were mid-table – a loss that can only be considered careless.  I mean, where did they lose it?  Down a manhole?  Under the bed?  Inside the piano?

Total debts were then declared as £64m, and the method of repaying them is…


Previously they used to sell off parts of their stadium for supermarkets, but in their new out of town modern wasteland no one wants to buy a carrot, let alone an anchovy salad.

Relegation this season will mean financial catastrophe (their current wage bill is around £40m and they won’t be able to offload everyone) and they will go into liquidation, starting next season on minus ten, unless…

Part the Fifth: The Grand Visiduke and Owner of “The Wandering Notlobs”

Edwin Davies owns Notlob and pays for Notlob, but knowing what the nightlife is like in Notlobia wisely lives far, far away – on the Isle of Man, where he pays only a teenie weenie bit in taxation.  (I should add, the Isle of Man is an island between England and N Ireland.  It is not in the UK, nor in the EU, but has a defence treaty with the UK.   The island became separated from England in around 8.30am, 8000 BC and the laws have not changed much since that date.  Homosexuality, for example, was finally decriminalised 18 years ago.  Up to that point homosexuals were given the birch.  You can see what sort of place it is.

Davies (in the form of a company called Moonshift) is interesting in that he has made big loans to the club, and the club pays him interest at 10% a year – which in this climate is good work if you can get it.  So last year he took a further £2m out of Notlob for lending them his money.  Very clever, and no wonder he doesn’t want to pay tax.

Thus “Bolton” as they like to be known in their local tongue, are very much a Football 2.0 team, with an absentee owner lending the club money and taking interest at a very exciting rate.   If the club do go bust with the owner, by owning all of the club, will then have the option of selling the lot to get his money back, or closing the club down, and selling off the assets.  However I must add I have no detailed knowledge of his finances, or his plans, and would not wish to be put on the black list of the Notlovian secret police or NotNot as they are called.  All I report is what is in the accounts and speculation.

Part the Sixth: Wednesday’s team for Arsenal Reserves v Notlob Kick-ims

The fact that Merida was kicked to pieces the moment he came on the pitch and now can’t play again for a couple of weeks shows just what Notlobianism is like in practice.

Here’s our team with a few alternatives in parenthesis.

  • Almunia,
  • Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen, Clichy (Traore),
  • Cesc, Diaby, Denilson (Traore, Clichy, )
  • Arshavin, Eduardo, Walcott (Rosicky) (Vela)

Others: Fabianski, Silvestre, Eastmond, Campbell, JET, Coquelin, Watt

Part the Seventh: The Unavailable List…

  • Senderos – currently learning Gaelic
  • Nasri  returns 9 Feb
  • Van Persie  returns May
  • Ramsey returns 9 Feb
  • Song – playing in Africa
  • Wilshere – Might be ok to bench about in this game
  • Djourou  – Available next season
  • Eboue – Who is playing the part of Eboue in the African Cup of Nations
  • Gibbs  – returns mid March
  • Barazite – returns February
  • Gilbert – toddled off on loan
  • Randall – ran away
  • Bendtner  – returns January  27
  • Merida (unknown – perhaps two weeks)

That’s 13 not available – not including Sendy who is leaving of personal volition.  You could build a decent team out of that.

Part the Eighth: Conclusions and advertisements.

Farewell civilization, welcome Notlob.  Put on your grappling irons and pick up those man-sized shields for this is London against the men from behind the mists of time.

We will win 4-1, and they will demand a reply on the grounds that over the two legs they won on injuries inflicted (citing of course that away injuries count double).  The ref will agree and we’ll do it all again next week.

  • Read all about a club going bust (and it really is quite amusing) in an extract from Making the Arsenal on
  • You can buy Making the Arsenal at or here
  • Read what The Online Gooner said about MAKING THE ARSENAL here
  • Read what Arsenal World said about the book here
  • Read what Arsenal Independent Supporters Assn said about Making the Arsenal here
  • Read what A Cultured Left Foot said about Making the Arsenal here

(c) Tony Attwood, Interpreter of Souls, Diviner of the Score, Creator of the News, Maker of the Moon, Eater of the Pizza, Prognosticator of the Cappuccino.   If you are passing near block 99 row 10 come and say hello.  Seats 223 and 224.

Special thanks to Walter Broeckx

Sources: Worcester, Tomato, Brown, Gravy.

41 Replies to “How to speak Notlobian and what a man in the Isle of Man has to do with this match”

  1. (Another reason for the non-punishment of Notlobian players is that no ref can speak Notlobian – but that is strongly denied by the Committee of Public Safety who now oversee all refereeing matters. As their Chairman Maximilien Francois Marie Isidore de Robespierre says, “Notlob est Notlob”.)

    Impressive. A linguist and a historian. Hats off to you, Tony. I can’t stop laughing.

  2. hahaha!

    it looks like it’s taken an effort to write that one up….kudos…funny but oh, so true.

    now, time for arsenal to give ’em what they need; a defeat and kick nearer to where they belong – the championship – where they’ll be so far down below us in english football, it would be a privilege for them to smell our Arse’s again.

  3. Oh Sir Anthony. Thee should be rewarded with lands, furs and jewels…and just possibly a plate of sardines and a saucer of cream??

    Love it. Send it to Owen!

  4. LOL. Another master piece Tony. LOL. Known in Notlobian as IAL (“Iel Aart Lache”) I’ve been told.

  5. Amazing….can’t imagine going through the day without checking on Untold Arsenal.Keep up the great work.

  6. Sir Tony,
    Once again you deserve, and receive, our highest respect and honour! If you are not nominated for some form of high literary award this year (Nobel prize, Pulitzer, Booker prize etc) then I for one will demand a recount, and accuse the judges of Ant-and-Dec like vote fixing.
    And as for your title, although perhaps at the moment you’re only a sir within the confines of this site, the day will come when Lord Wenger receives the keys to westminster (or something) and then you will be honoured as the first knight of the garter (or football sock) under the new regime.
    Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité!

  7. The UK Tourist Board must be cursing their luck and shooting their talent scouts. I am grateful for your insight into all things Notlob and I’m looking forward to tonight’s kick-im rematch.

  8. Didn’t know where to post this, so I thought I’d post it here.
    Sky have just broken a story that, and I quote:
    ‘Portsmouth reveal Sol Campbell is suing club over fees and bonuses defender claims he is owed’.
    Apparently a writ has been served for £1,700,000 over ‘image rights’ and ‘bonuses’.

    I simply don’t know what to say.
    I’m speechless.

  9. There are now so many money stories around I can’t keep up. The Sol story is appearing on the papers’ web sites too, and Portsmouth have admitted there is a writ.

    Meanwhile Man U’s prospectus has revealed just how much the Galzers will be able to take out of the club as a result of the bond – even more than they have taken so far.

    Northern Rock has taken our money and paid it to Newcastle United to be on their shirts. Did you want that? I didn’t, but no one asked me.

    Meanwhile the Guardian has Theo and Denilson starting on the bench – which throws all my predictions of a team out.

    But there is one interesting thing outside all this stuff. The owners of Liverpool, having read today’s Untold Arsenal article, have decided that they can deflect from their own problems, by having a similar piece written concerning Liverpool.

    They have just put out the first edition – and in it they have called Benitez one of the top five managers in the world.

    Laugh? I nearly had a heart attack. A brilliant strategy guys, and one that beats anything I can do. If I were wearing it, I’d take my hat off to them.

  10. With the winding-up order against Portsmouth still in place there’s a real chance of insolvency, in which case everyone who is owed money needs to get the debt acknowledged or face getting nothing. Sol’s advisors will have to told him to stop being patient over what he’s owed. He ought to be a protected creditor under football’s rules if Portsmouth go bust but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Pompey fans may have a go at Sol for kicking them when they’re down as it looks like a lot of money to an ordinary fan, even if it’s not much to a Premier League footballer. But! A contract’s a contract and they should have paid up Sol’s contract (signed up by Mr Redknapp?) when it expired.

  11. Another perfect example of Tony´s brilliance. I laughted quite insanely on the part 2…that is awesome. I hope we will see many “kick ims” in Jaaskelainen net today LOL.

  12. Ok Tony, if you don’t stop flogging your book im just going to stop reading this blog…I expected so much more from you.The constant hard sell is just plain trying now. Stop it.Maintain your dignity.

  13. Zebidiah – I really don’t understand that point at all. The ad for the book is almost always (about 97% of the time) at the very end of the article, in a section by itself. The book is only mentioned in the body of the text if there is a real and obvious link. You can just stop reading before the ad. If you had done that today all you would have missed was…

    (c) Tony Attwood, Interpreter of Souls, Diviner of the Score, Creator of the News, Maker of the Moon, Eater of the Pizza, Prognosticator of the Cappuccino. If you are passing near block 99 row 10 come and say hello. Seats 223 and 224.

    Special thanks to Walter Broeckx

    Sources: Worcester, Tomato, Brown, Gravy.

    So why does it cause you any distress? It is not like an advert half way through the piece – it is not like a pop-up… it just is there at the end.

    And, sorry to lose you as a reader, but I have never claimed to have any dignity. Especially when supporting Arsenal.

  14. Well……if that’s the best you can do!

    If the odious Sol (curiously, his whole generation are completely ‘soul-less’) is wheeled on to the pitch tonight, please bear this in mind.

    If he has already laughed in the faces of:
    1. The Government (investing huge sums elsewhere to avoid paying tax, tax YOU HAVE TO PAY);
    2. Tottenham (leaving them with no fee and then pocketing a huge signing on cheque, whatever you think of Spurs that is money that has completely left the game);
    3. Notts. County and;
    4. Portsmouth;
    there is one group of people to whom he reserves the majority of his mirth.

    Have you guessed who that is yet?
    I’ll give you a clue……you’re paying his wages.

  15. Very funny article, though I thought the Notlobian-speak had some similarities to Dutch or Afrikaans. Looking forward to tonight’s game with apprehensive excitement (If that’s possible).

  16. Thanks Matt. Not quite Dutch – more Antwerpian – Walter can supply the exact details.

    Right kiddies – I am about to leave to get the train to ancient Londinium to watch our glorious boys beat the hell out of the aliens.

    So any posts between now and 9am tomorrow which contain a link, or which are from email addresses that have not had a post cleared before, will be held in moderation. Previous posters posting without any link in the text will not be affected.

    I have asked Arsenal to install full internet connection in my seat in block 99, so I can keep chatting right up to kick off, but for some reason they didn’t reply.


  17. Sean – I’m not sure why a couple of posts about Sol wanting his money made you want to have a go at him but that’s your choice. As for your points, a lot of people aren’t all that keen on the Bosman Ruling but that’s just the way the rules are – a player whose contract has expired is, by definition, out of contract and can go anywhere they please.

    At least when Sol left the Totts he was actually out of contract. When he left us, Arsenal allowed him to cancel his contract because having bottled the West Ham game and gone AWOL, he seemed to have lost the plot. He was supposed to have a rest then try his luck abroad. Then up pops a certain Harry Redknapp and signs him for Portsmouth, without paying a transfer fee because Arsenal had been kind enough to let him go. You could say he stitched us up just as much as he did the Totts. Wenger certainly wasn’t too impressed, half-heartedly joking about Portsmouth having moved across the Channel.

    However! This is the site dedicated to “supporting the Lord Wenger in all he does“. If Wenger can forgive Sol for all the above, then most of us are ready to give him the benefit of the doubt.

    Double, double, double…

  18. Brilliant. I had often wondered what strange language the Notlobians were speaking and now I know. Could you please translate the following as well, since I have heard these said on many occasions by those scoundrel Notlobians and never quite knew the meaning:

    “Dontlettheballrollalongtheground, kickitupinthefookinair”

  19. I wish this was offensive or funny, but alas it is neither.

    Your family should really take your computer away and allow you to focus on eating, drinking, and managing bowel movements.

  20. …… that’s alright then.
    Good old loyal Sol Campbell.
    Didn’t even make the grade in Barnet’s league.
    Bottled it. The job of the bottle. La job du bottle.

    What a sterling ambassador for the beautiful game, the game that Stanley Matthews, Bobby Moore and Duncan Edwards graced.
    The greed on show is inexcusable but, hey, the bankers screwed you so why shouldn’t the likes of Sol Campbell?

    If Pompey are still due to play a reserve game v. Arsenal at Barnet I’ve got a good mind to go and tell Sol a few home (non-racist, non-homophobic, purely focusing on his fantastic greed) truths.
    Anyone know?

    And Funny Jim,
    I don’t know what a ‘spud’ is (Spurs’ fan?) but, if it’s a potato, I’m prepared to bet that you look more like one than I do!

  21. Hey, Sean. I still think there are a lot worse villains around than Sol but each to his own.

    Sol aside, when you say “the bankers screwed you”, who are you referring to and why? I can’t seen how you can mean Arsenal as the club’s main loan is fixed term, fixed rate (low rate too – about 1/3 of what Man U are paying). Not having a go at what you said, just interested.

    By the way, if it’s the Jim I think it is, you’re close enough but I’d say he looks more like a carrot than a potato.

  22. What a Comeback!!!!!! 2 goals down in 28mins but still managed 2 get a 2 goal victory!!! This has to be one of the best performance from the boys… The dwarfs showed the giants how to play Football…

    We’re top of the league and its surely ‘up for grabs!!’

  23. What were you saying Captain Grey beard?

    I can’t believe anyone would resort to career ending tackles on such a skillful, young footballer….. What? It was an Arsenal player breaking a Bolton players players leg you say? Pardon?…. For the 2nd time in 3 seasons?

    Who’d have thought it!!

  24. Horrific set of cheats. At least we try and play the ball.

    You may think we’re ugly to watch, but I’d rather watch our honesty than your petulance and diving

  25. Well IndianGooner indeed what a comeback !!!! If you look at the list Tony gave above of absentees and then to come back from 2 down after half an hour this is a sign of commitment until you drop.

    Most important we made life difficult on ourselves with the bad goals we conceded but we showed character. No we showed GREAT character.
    Rosicky with that first vital goal and one of my sons said in “notlobian”: “en nai der oep en der oover” which means and now equalise and the grab the win… and we did.

    Well following The Arsenal is never dull….

  26. Doesn’t this look great:

    1 Arsenal 22 15 3 4 59 25 34 48
    2 Chelsea 21 15 3 3 52 18 34 48
    3 Manchester United 22 15 2 5 49 19 30 47


  27. almost had a heart attack when denilson made that challenge. we certainly made it hard for ourselves.

    but where before we resembled a charity organisation, we are certainly not so generous this time round. especially the second goal. i was screaming at the screen at the bolton player for diving. oops.

    but i wish we had won like 4-0 rather than 4-2.

  28. Wow. Not sure what else there is to say. This team has heart. It will be a great spring!

    And as expected, the press seems to be focusing more on the Gallas tackle than anything else…Coyle talks about “fair play”? Isn’t that a bit hypocritical coming from the Notlob manager?

  29. We lose Fran last Sunday… Diaby this match .. Fab denied 2 blatant penalty appeals, not to mention the leg over head + hair pulling by St. Matt Taylor … Their sole strategy against us, or any other team for that matter, is putting the other side rolling on the ground injured .. Any team failed to comply to that kind of strategy are pussies .. So I say what goes around, comes around .. stop chanting fairplay when it goes against.

  30. First learn your team how to play football mr. Coyle and then come back to talk about fair play.

    Our equaliser was in fact the way Bolton use to play: a foul that is not given at first and then we play on. We scored a notlob goal.

  31. Walter, the boys indeed showed GREAT commitment and desire to win this match and to reach the top of the league. This was evident in the goal celebrations especially of Verminator(What a player He is turning out to be) and Arshavin(not the usual ‘puzzled look’ or ‘be silent’ celebration, but a more serious one which showed “I & the team needed that goal at all costs!!!’).

    Rosicky’s goal was worth in gold for the new contract he signed.. Hope this continues for a long time…

    I’m sad to see Gallas being witch-hunted for the tackle but am glad the boys showed that we are no longer ‘softies’ or ‘babies’ but ‘men’ who can ‘rough-it-up’ when needed and still play the beautiful game.. This bunch is turning out to be Arsene’s best!!!

    Has the era of Arsenal’s Domination begun???

  32. ~ Has the era of Arsenal’s Domination begun???

    Yup.. and it will be confirmed on my birthday mid May ^^


  33. Yes, Walter and IndianGooner. It was a notlob goal!

    As you say, it’s a good sign, and a good warning for others.

    Even Enlightened Arsenal WILL revert to Notlob barbarism if you other teams want to play that way.

    Nobody messes with Gallas.

  34. Certainly, Kevin, the country has lost millions to bankers and the Premiership has lost millions paying wages to the likes of Campbell, money that has gone completely out of the game.
    That was not a comment about AFC’s finances but, it has to be said, you ARE currently paying this guy’s wages!

    Your season ticket money……..his pocket………out of football…….offshore account.

    Apparently, and sadly, the Pompey reserve game at Barnet has already been played (Arsenal lost 2-0!? Same score as the Youth Cup game on Tuesday night, you all kept quiet about that, I told you that Youth team ain’t all that) but they are due at Fratton Park on March 9th.
    Hey, everyone, I wonder if good ol’ Sol will be fit for that one!!!!!!
    I reckon the bookies would give you 500/1.

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