English Football

Football Read Review: How to interpret the language of football

bandkFOOTBALL is the sport of cliché and jargon, of that we are all certain. New words and phrases creep into the lexicon on an annual basis. Recently, “game management” and “worldie” have become part of the everyday language of the game.

You get wrapped up in this world within a world, so much so that when you are trying to interview a manager post-match and need his attention, you might ask a player to seek out “the gaffer”. You buy into it – you have to.

Ian Bendelow and Jamie Kidd have produced a book which provides an easy-to-grab guide on the lingua franca of the beautiful game.

Bendlow & Kidd’s Dictionary of Football is not a million miles away from a recent book on football clichés, but it’s an entertaining publication all the same.

As someone who has advocated proper media training for players, I especially enjoyed the reference to “Obviously, you know, I mean”, the opening words to most post-match interviews with a footballer, described as being more about stumbling vocabulary and stock phrases than anything else. The sort of interview that typifies the Gerrard, Rooney, Terry generation…sorry, “golden generation”.

“The phrase is almost always delivered with a hand on the neck, a look away to their left and wincing expression as it they are looking up into the loft.”

Then there’s the curious terminology to describe a good left-foot player, whose favoured foot is always “cultured” – the cultured left foot. Nobody has ever had a cultured right foot.

Bedlow & Kidd remind us that we’ve all suffered from “cup fever”, “squeaky bums” and the odd “purple patch”. And they do it with a touch of humour and irony. It’s the companion to an afternoon’s SKYTV football.

Bendelow & Kidd’s Dictionary of Football is published by Oakamoor, priced £ 10.99

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