Early doors it all went pear-shaped: Football idioms

The latest issue of FourFourTwo includes a feature by me on football idioms, the figurative expressions that are commonly used in the game despite not having any literal connection to it. The feature looks at the meanings and origins of some of these strange phrases, like over the moon, sick as a parrot, and gone pear-shaped, and also gets an insight into the science of football speak.

Park the bus: This figurative definition for the defensive tactic of getting as many players behind the ball as possible was introduced to British football by José Mourinho during his first season at Chelsea in 2004. After being held to a goalless draw by Spurs, the Special One told reporters, “As we say in Portugal, they brought the bus and they left the bus in front of the goal.” Ahead of the return match later that season, Mourinho said, “We bring the bus this time. We are going to try to win but maybe we need to park the bus.” The tactic worked – Chelsea won 2-0.”

Read the full story in the November 2013 issue of FourFourTwo.

FourFourTwo November 2013

Published by Paul Brown

Writes about football, history, true adventure. The Guardian, Four Four Two, When Saturday Comes, The Blizzard, Longreads, Deadspin, etc. Latest book: The Ruhleben Football Association. Twitter: @paulbrownUK