To date, Vinny Samways is the only player ever to be used by not being used.
During Tottenham’s 3-1 win over rivals Arsenal in a 1991 FA Cup semi-final, Samways played a crucial part in Spurs’ third goal by running 60 yards while yelling to Gary Lineker for a pass that never came.
Lineker, who scored in every game, opted to dissect the Arsenal defence and beat David Seaman himself rather than pass to Samways, who had begun to bellow ‘Samways needs this’ and ‘You don’t want me to end up at Walsall do you?’
Commentator Barry Davies, back in the day when he was allowed cover something other than figure-skating and women’s tennis, uttered the lines:
‘Mabbutt, fed it well, Nayim to the left, Samways up ahead and Lineker uses him by not using him and, oh, scores.’
Unlike these days when any phrase used by the football media is repeated ad nauseum, commentators and pundits used the phrase ‘uses him by not using him’ by not using it.
Spurs would go on to win the FA Cup Final against Nottingham Forest. Lineker became one of the greatest English players of all-time. Samways ended up at Walsall.