Fish Up A Tree
The phrase 'fish up a tree' is often attributed to crapulent couch potato pundit Paul Merson, but was actually first coined by nasally endowed ex-Arsenal colleague Alan Smith.
It means the same as 'fish out of water' and refers to a player out of his depth or out of his natural position.
Smith stuttered the term when he was having a hard time of life, reporting on Aston Villa-Portsmouth in 2004 for Sky Sport's Soccer Saturday.
'The new Cameroon lad started on the right and he's like a fish up a tree,' Smith declared. To date, fierce debate rages over which player he was referring to, as most of Portsmouth's team come from Cameroon or somewhere like that.
Merson was obviously impressed by Smith's command of the language. The jowly ex-midfielder claimed that Arsenal defender Alexandre Song was 'a fish up a tree for the Gunners'. On a roll, Merson also asserted that Portsmouth flop Dave Nugent 'tore up the Championship but is a fish up a tree in the Premier League'.
Other players likened to a 'fish up a tree'
- The inappropriately named ex-Preston, Walsall and Kilmarnock midfielder Eric Skora.
- Mark Fish.
- John Scales.