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”? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 14 '14 at 20:19
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    In USA, I've never heard it. – Scott Sep 14 '14 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'. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 14 '14 at 22:24
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    Could it derive from orthgraphy: "Today, in Citi Stadium it's Yankees / Mets"? – Dan Bron Sep 15 '14 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 '14 at 20:14

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 '14 at 20:39

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 '14 at 17:51

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