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When I was a child (well over a half-century ago) in Norfolk, we would, when playing football talk of 'Team A stick Team B. When arranging sides informally we would say 'Us three stick the rest of you, meaning the three of us will play against the rest of you.

I had always assumed this was Norfolk slang dialect, peculiar to both place and time. But tonight I heard my Mancunian grandson using it with some other kids with whom he was playing football.

It does not appear as a meaning of the verb stick in the OED. So one assumes it is simply urban slang.

Does anyone else know anything about it? What further information does anyone have on the matter?

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    Very interesting. I’ve never heard this at all before. Is stick being used as a verb or as a preposition here; i.e., would you say, “Yesterday, it was Team A stick Team B” or, “Yesterday, Team A stuck Team B”? Sep 14, 2014 at 20:19
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    In USA, I've never heard it. Sep 14, 2014 at 20:26
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    The expression 'X stick Y' was quite common in 1950s Oldham, but only in a register I'd label slang. There was a verby rather than a prepositiony feel to it, but I don't remember it ever being inflected: as you say, it was 'Us three stick the rest of you' and 'John stick [not sticks] Billy'. Sep 14, 2014 at 22:24
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    Could it derive from orthgraphy: "Today, in Citi Stadium it's Yankees / Mets"?
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 15, 2014 at 10:11
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    I guess you didn't mean Norfolk, Virgina, or one of the 4 lesser known Norfolks in the US.
    – Barmar
    Sep 15, 2014 at 20:14

3 Answers 3

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This was used commonly in Northampton (England) when I was a boy in the '60s/'70s. I've just been having a conversation about it with friends in a group of Cobblers (Northampton Town FC) supporters, and they all remember it. I agree that it was often used with an element of challenge in it, as in "Me, John and Bill stick", meaning we'll take on the rest of you.

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In my youth in Southern Ontario (1960's) this expression was used in the context of "pick-up" sports - typically posed as a proposal or challenge regarding the make-up of the teams. It wasn't specific to football.

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  • That is exactly how it is used in Britain. You 'pick-up' teams and then one team 'sticks' the other.
    – WS2
    Sep 25, 2014 at 20:39
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This is an interesting question. I've never heard that expression before. I imagine 'stick' is being used as a short version of the expression "stick it to the man" or "stick it to 'em". There is a short reference to this on the urban dictionary. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=stick%20it%20to%20the%20man I'd say, WS2, that your Norfolk expression is perhaps more colloquial rather than slang.

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  • I somehow doubt it has any connection with that. From what others report it seems unique to the UK, though widely used outside Norfolk. 'Stick it to 'em' sounds American to me. It was certainly not an expression I would have been aware of in the 1950s when we were saying 'Us three stick you four'.
    – WS2
    Sep 20, 2014 at 17:51

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