The Language of Football




A rich and varied language, featuring self-deprecation, dyed foxes and fish.


Defining national identity, going for kebabs and what not to call Mario Mandžukić.


What they call the Czechs, where the biggest drinkers are, and what it means to “receive your boots”.

Czech Republic

Featuring naming issues, short beaks and sleigh rides.

Diego Simeone and the language of motivation

He doesn’t just push his players, he stretches at their limits until they twang. But what really stands out about Diego Simeone is his ability to keep that going over such a long period of time. There has been many… Continue Reading →

Cliché Corner: ‘to gift’

It’s only football that uses it like this (we think).

Nothing but a ‘G’ thing at Manchester United, with Louis van Gaal and David de Gea

Silence may be golden with a hard ‘g’ but can the same be said for the surnames of Louis van Gaal and David de Gea? Perhaps a cameo appearance by a former Manchester United favourite will help to clarify this particular player pronunciation.

Terminology: Hooligan

Exploring the etymology of the hooligan, taking in music hall, the fighting Irish and a spectacular brain-turd from the Thatcher era.

Swede FA: Feminism and the Language of Football

A teenager takes on the Swedish FA and succeeds in making the rulebook gender neutral. Will FIFA follow suit?

How long before David Moyes “does a Shteve”?

The resurrection of David Moyes in Spain brings inevitable comparisons to recent expatriates who dared leave the Premier League and embrace different cultures/affect a silly accent.

Terminology: Soccer

A contentious word among English football fans, but it turns out we’ve only ourselves to blame…

Player Pronunciation: Graziano Pellè

The apparent ambiguity over how to pronounce the surname of the breakout star of Southampton’s unexpectedly successful season is perhaps almost as much of a surprise as the lofty position the Hampshire club finds themselves in currently.  As the player… Continue Reading →

Player Pronunciation: Ole Gunnar Solskjær

As a first entry on this blog, the name of the aforementioned, much-loved super sub is perhaps as good a start as any, representing as it does an example of how previously unfamiliar, non-native pronunciations can adapt into common awareness and usage.

Every day, when I wake up, I thank the Lord I’m Welsh!

It is heartening to hear that the Wales national team manager, Chris Coleman, is taking Welsh language lessons, in an effort to better engage with native speakers at the Welsh FA and across the nation.

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