Soccer’s lexicon is a rich reservoir of often curiously contorted cliche and phrasing, frequently the subject of parody.
Now, the linguistic ingenuity of two of the most influential coaches in modern football – Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho – have been officially recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).
Ferguson’s phrase “squeaky bum time” and Mourinho’s “park the bus” comment were two of 15 football-themed OED additions ahead of the World Cup in Qatar later this year.
“While the OED already covered a large number of football terms, from catenaccio to nutmeg to water carrier, this select batch of additions fills a few gaps in our formation,” the dictionary said in a statement.
The term “squeaky bum time” originated in a 2003 media conference when Ferguson was looking to heap pressure on Manchester United’s English Premier League rival Arsenal.
“They have a replay against Chelsea and if they win it they would face a semifinal three days before playing us in the league,” said Ferguson.
“But then they did say they were going to win the treble, didn’t they? It’s squeaky bum time and we’ve got the experience now to cope.”
The OED defines Ferguson’s phrase as a “a reference to the sound of someone shifting restlessly on plastic seating during tense closing stages of a contest.”
Current AS Roma coach Mourinho, who is famed for his influence on British culture – including a cameo appearance in English rapper and singer Stormzy’s latest music video – has also made the OED cut.
The OED’s definition of the former Chelsea manager’s “park the bus” is “to play in a very defensive way, typically by having the majority of outfield players close to their own goal and showing little attacking intent.”
“As we say in Portugal, they brought the bus and they left the bus in front of the goal,” Mourinho said after Chelsea’s 0-0 draw against Tottenham in 2004.
“I would have been frustrated if I had been a supporter who paid £50 [around $56] to watch this game because Spurs came to defend. I’m really frustrated because there was only one team looking to win, they only came not to concede. It’s not fair for the football we played.”
Some of the other football-related OED entries are: “Total Football” (a brand of attacking, possession-based football often credited to the Netherlands), “Row Z” (the furthest seat from the sideline in a stadium), “False No. 9” (a player who starts in the striker position but drops deeper in the field) and “Trequartista” (an Italian expression describing a player who plays in the spaces between the midfield and strikers).