Coleman +‎ balls (nonsense), from the football commentator David Coleman. Originally the title of a column in Private Eye magazine collecting mistakes in sports commentary.


Colemanballs (plural Colemanballs)

  1. (Britain) A malapropism, mixed metaphor or other humorous misspeaking, especially in sports commentary.
    • 1984, Brian Sedgemore, “Official Report of the Standing Committees: Session 1983–1984”, in parliamentary debates (House of Commons, Parliament of the United Kingdom), volume 2, page 95, column 1:
      On a point of order, Miss Fookes. Is it in order for my hon. Friend to use a Colemanballs in this Committee?
    • 1987 October 16, Rayner Banham, “On the Wings of Wonder”, in New Society, volume 82, number 1294, pages 18–20:
      British TV viewers may think themselves lucky that all they got for commentary on the last Olympics was the usual load of Colemanballs
    • 2004, George Best, Scoring At Half-Time: Adventures On and Off the Pitch, →ISBN, page 259:
      It is footballers though, rather than commentators, presenters or pundits, who when interviewed have provided some of the best Colemanballs.
    • 2011, Bob Bevan, Nearly Famous: Adventures of an After-Dinner Speaker, →ISBN:
      I read out a quote from Harry Cavan, who was Northern Ireland's FIFA representative. He had made a Colemanballs with "The Scots are still refusing to meet us in Belfast, so we may have to compromise on this and meet them halfway."