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Cliches in Football

In: English and Literature

Submitted By LukeZB99
Words 909
Pages 4
Why are there so many clichés in football?
Every football fan would probably say that they're fluent in the "language of football". From the pragmatics of it, knowing that, in a footballing context, a brace is neither a device fitted to something to provide support or a pair of straps that pass over the shoulders and fasten to the top of trousers at the front and back to hold them up, to knowing the names of all the high potential, young gems that you've ever found on all the popular football management games you've ever played, football is a very broad and hard language to learn.

One of the staples of the football language is the cliché. A phrase that is do overused that it loses its original impact, they're are hundreds of these phrases that are usually peppered in the post match interviews of players and managers and the commentaries of former players as former managers. A big question of those who are not fluent in the language of football is "what do all these clichés mean?" and "why are they used so often?"
Some clichés are blatantly obvious, for example "A game of two halves" describes the structure of a football match perfectly, it has two sections of 45 minutes each (both sections are equal therefore they are "halves"). The cliché isn't meant to be a description of the structure of a game though, because a match can really have two juxtaposing halves, therefore a usage for the cliché. A great example of this is the 2005 Champions League final between AC Milan and Liverpool (which itself have become so overused to demonstrate so many different things that it could be a cliché as well), where AC Milan scored 3 times in the first half and Liverpool managed to score 3 in the second half to level the game. The Reds went on to win on penalties. There are so many other examples of this and everyone has there own "game of two halves". One of the people I was talking to about this had his own, more recent, example. "It really was a game of two halves" he said, referring to the Leyton Orient - Oxford United game he had taken his children to the previous week, "Oxford scored twice in the first half and Orient scored twice in the second". This just proves that from the Champions League to League 2, and even lower, the maxim really does ring true.

Some clichés have literal meanings as well, for example having "your name on the cup" really means that. The name of the winning team is traditionally engraved onto the trophy when it's won. "Name on the cup" can also be used before the competition, or the certain game, has started to highlight that one team are the favourites.

I could go through the meanings of loads of football clichés, but that wouldn't answer the question at hand "Why are there so many clichés in football?" That question leads to more questions, one of which is "Who uses these football clichés?" The answer to that is football players, managers and commentators. Many of the sayings are adopted by fans, I know one person who's mantra in life is Alan Smith's saying "If you don't buy a ticket you can't win the raffle". So, why are these clichés used by so many? Unimaginative thinking could be the answer. Once one of these new clichés is thought up by someone, it becomes overused and enters the footballing lexis. This happens over and over again to create football clichés.

Another reason could be because many people in football are pragmatists. They just work with what they are given, so for them there is no point of trying to describe a game in 50 words when just 5 will suffice. That would also show that laziness may be the answer as well.

I think the idea that clichés just describe what needs to be described quickly and easily could be the reason why there are so many. In the future more clichés will be created, but the old ones won't leave the footballing lexis entirely, they'll just be shelved and brought out when needed.

The universal language of football clichés, everyone who knows football (as well as many who don't) understand what the clichés mean, shows the beauty of football and sport in general. Football unites people, it's a shared interest of so many. Thrown into a room of 30 people you don't know, I bet at least one will have an interest in football. It forms bonds, and it can break them (albeit temporarily) as well. The "language of football" shows something brilliant as well. Despite the fact that people support so many different teams and come from so many places, they all understand the same thing.

The use, and overuse, of clichés may not show such a magical thing. It might just prove that those in the game are lazy when it comes to talking to the media. But, that might not be a bad thing. The idea that everyone understands what the clichés mean makes their use acceptable.

Clichés are a huge part of football, so (to me at least) it really doesn't matter how overused they are, or why they are used at all. They're not something that should be frowned upon and they prove one of the best things that the beautiful game brings, unity.

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