A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 29, 2011
“If it moves, kick it; if it doesn’t move, kick it until it does” (soccer adage)

Phil Woosnam, the commissioner of the North American Soccer League, explained soccer to Americans in May 1974:

“The rules are very simple. Basically it’s this: If it moves, kick it. If it doesn’t move, kick it until it does.”

It’s not certain if Woosnam coined the now-popular soccer adage “if it moves, kick it” in 1974. The 1967 and 1971 Google Books citations (below) may be incorrect.

A popular political saying is “If it moves, tax it.”


Wikipedia: Phil Woosnam
Phillip Abraham Woosnam (born 22 December 1932 in Caersws, Montgomeryshire) is a Welsh former Association football inside-right and manager. He went on to become commissioner of the North American Soccer League.

Google Books
Punch
Volume 252
1967
Pg. ?: 
It was then that Len made his big decision. He called myself and our centre half to one side. The centre half was, like most centre halfs born in Barnsley, a man whose basic philosophy was “if it moves kick it.”

Google Books
The Listener
Volume 85
British Broadcasting Corporation
1971
Pg. 209:
And the old-fashioned Yorkshire precept which concerns the spirit of the game, which states that “if it moves kick it, otherwise it will kick you first,” has a lot to offer.

12 May 1974, Seattle (WA) Daily Times, “How to become a commissioner” by Georg N. Meyers, pg. B1, col. 1:
Woosnam discounts all fears that American sports fans will find soccer too strange and bewildering.

“The rules are really very simple,” he said. “Basically, it’s this: If it moves, kick it. If it doesn’t move, kick it until it does.”

27 May 1974, Baltimore (MD) Sun, “Woosnam optimistic about soccer’s future” by Seymour Smith, pg C4:
He discounts fears Americans find soccer too bewildering. “The rules are very simple. Basically it’s this: If it moves kick it. If it doesn’t move, kick it until it does.”

Sports Illustrated
June 10, 1974
They Said It
Edited by Andrew Crichton
Phil Woosnam, commissioner of the North American Soccer League, discounting fears that Americans find the game bewildering: “The rules are very simple. Basically, it’s this: if it moves, kick it; if it doesn’t move, kick it until it does.”

Google Books
My Life and the Beautiful Game:
The Autobiography of Pelé

By Pelé with Robert L. Fish
New York, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc.
1977
Pg. 16:
If we had a similar slogan in Brazil, it would have been, “If it moves, kick it. If it doesn’t move, kick it and make it move. If it’s too big to kick, trade it in on something smaller and kick that.”

New York (NY) Times
SPORTS OF THE TIMES; Needed: A Stretcher For Soccer
By IRA BERKOW
Published: November 28, 1989
(...)
Like many Americans, I didn’t know the game inside and out, though I had played some soccer in grammar school gym class and found that you do a lot of running, get your lungs choked with a lot of dust in a gravel playground and, in general, adhere to the direction of Phil Woosnam, the early North American Soccer League commissioner, who said: ‘’The rules are very simple. Basically it’s this: If it moves, kick it; if it doesn’t move, kick it until it does.’’

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (0) Comments • Tuesday, November 29, 2011 • Permalink