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Football Clichés By Adam Hurrey

Release date: 07th December, 2014
Publisher: Headline

List Price: £16
Our Price: £10
You Save: £6 (37%)
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Watching a League Two fixture from the terraces with my brother recently, the home team’s trainer ran onto the pitch to treat an injured player carrying a bag that would have comfortably failed Easyjet’s cabin baggage test and wearing an old-fashioned, green roll neck sweater-cum-tracksuit top, the sight of which drew laughter from the greyer sections of the sparse crowd.

“When did goalies stop wearing jerseys like that?” asked my brother, a sentence which contained two words, ‘goalies’ and ‘jerseys’ rarely heard at football grounds any more. For the rest of the game, we wondered what other words, positions and phrases, such as ‘right half’ or ‘sliding tackle’ had slipped, almost unnoticed, from common terrace usage.

For a much more amusing account of this process, readers should buy Adam Hurrey’s Football Clichés which takes an often extremely funny look at football’s peculiar language.

Hurrey doesn’t just concentrate on phrases such as ‘the boy done well’ though. He also creates pseudo-scientific graphics such as the ‘anger severity scale’, essentially the words used by managers and players in response to accusations regarding their behaviour or play. Words like ‘bemoan’ are at the lower, less furious end of the scale, whereas an ‘astonishing attack’ is the angriest repost a football man can launch.

On occasion, he successfully meanders off to consider other matters, such as the phrases we now commonly use for a foul. There’s the clumsy foul, the professional foul and, when we’re not quite sure, we have a tendency to describe a ‘coming together’ as “six of one, half a dozen of another”.

Any book which describes itself as “a speculative effort, from distance, to translate the curious language of football” has to be worth reading.

Usefully, Hurrey also considers whatever happened to the word ‘goalie’, but does it advise when the man between the sticks stopped wearing green roll neck jerseys? That would be telling.


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