Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Football- Where Speaking English Is A Big Ask

I read an article in one of the English broadsheets a few years ago which made me smile as did the readers' feedback a week or so later. They were both about what you could call "football speak," referring to the way the English language is totally torn apart by players, managers and pundits. Next time you listen to one of the radio stations or watch a live broadcast or highlights package, you are highly likely to hear at least one of the words or phrases I'm about to list. There are no doubt plenty more.You will never hear any of them utilised in any other walk of life.

So here we go with my random list. Some I remember from the original two newspaper pieces, others have come to mind myself. All the comments on each one however are my own.

"it's a big ask"- an absoloute pet hate of mine, describing when a team finds themselves "with a mountain to climb" (see, there another one). According to my dictionary, "ask" is a verb meaning to make a request or inquiry, invite or require. It is not a noun. I want to scream anytime I hear someone say this. It sounds clumsy when you say it out loud. Notice there is no such thing as "a small ask." Not yet anyway.

"all credit to them"- a team is never congratulated. Well done is never said. They get "credit."

"we set out our stall to get a result"- this provokes images in my head of teams setting up a pitch at a car boot sale. In addition, even if you lose, is that not a result? You maybe want a good result but win, lose or draw, you have a result.

"very much so"- next time you watch Match of the Day or Match of the Day 2, listen out for Alan Hansen or Lee Dixon saying this. Why use one word like "yes" when three will do?

"at this particular moment in time"- another unnecessary extension of the language when "just now" or "at the moment" would do.

"covering every blade of grass"- a physical impossibility but a lot of players seem to do it.

A ball is never simply kicked into the net. It is fired, hammered, toe poked, tapped, stroked or curled past the "helpless" or "stranded" goalkeeper. Also, a header is not a real header unless the ball is "bulleted." Finally, playing the ball into the opposition's penalty box is always "whipping it into the danger area."

"Row Z"- a clearance by a defender never ends up in any other row in the stand. Never seat yourself there.

"in the manager's plans"- describes a player popular with the manager.

"out of favour"- the opposite of the above. A player is never in favour nor out of the manager's plans.

"a bit of stick"- I've never understood this but it's the universal phrase for good natured banter from your team mates.

A football pitch is a fascinating place. There is apparently a big canyon in it between a team's midfield and strikers judging by the amount of times I read about players who play "in the hole." It is also bordered by waterways with the number of players who run "into the channels."

"plucky" or "brave"- describes a wee team which has lost to a bigger club but are seen to have given them a good game.

"professional foul"- there's no such thing as an unprofessional foul though.

"schoolboy defending"- usually used when you've lost heavily or due to a "silly" goal.

"sick as a parrot"- not actually heard very often but I suppose I should throw it in.

So there you go. Any time you hear any of the above uttered, spare me a thought, if it's not too big an ask!

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