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Issue of the day: Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson park squeaky bus in dictionary

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In 2010, Jose Mourinho declared “Fear is not a word in my football dictionary”. 12 years on, he’s in the dictionary himself, along with his fellow former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. 

Throughout their illustrious management careers, they have moulded football in their image. Now they’re leaving a permanent imprint on the English language. 

How exactly are they doing that?

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The Oxford English Dictionary has included famous phrases attributed to them in their latest update. 

Update? You mean the dictionary isn’t set in stone?

Unlike Mourinho’s managerial style since his second spell at Chelsea, language evolves. That’s why modern dictionaries don’t feature ‘cassette player’, ‘millennium bug’ or ‘competent British government’. 

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Where can I find Mourinho’s contribution?

Scroll down under ‘park’ and you’ll now find ‘park the bus’, defined by the OED as “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”. 

You mean like Rangers against Liverpool the other night?

Sort of, but in that case there was a 40-year-old man in a yellow top screaming about all the holes in the bus. 

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When did Mourinho first say it?

Speaking after his Chelsea side’s goalless draw with future employer Tottenham Hotspur in 2004, the Portuguese told reporters: “As we say in Portugal, they brought the bus and left the bus in front of the goal”. Mourinho, who has also managed Porto, Inter and Real Madrid, would later shorten this to ‘park the bus’. 

It’s not usually meant to be taken literally, but while serving a one-match suspension on Sunday the Roma boss watched his side’s victory over Inter from a bus parked outside the stadium.

What addition is Sir Alex responsible for?

Dictionary owners looking to describe “a particularly tense period of time, especially one leading up to the climax of a competition or event” can now find ‘squeaky bum time’. 

What’s the etymology of that one?

Although typically attributed to Ferguson, it was technically coined by Scottish sportswriter Kevin McCarra. Describing a close title race between his United side and Arsenal in 2003, former Aberdeen and Scotland boss Ferguson said: “It’s squeeze your bum time”. McCarra heard ‘squeaky’ and the rest is history. 

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What other words have made the cut?

Numerous football terms, including ‘rabona’ (“an unorthodox way of kicking a ball), ‘tiki-taka’ (“possession-based, short-pass-focused style”) and ‘gegenpressing’ (“a style of play in which a team upon losing possession puts immediate and intensive pressure on the opposition”). 

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Why the football focus?

According to the OED, it’s “to help everyone get to grips with the necessary soccer-speak ahead of the World Cup”. The tournament kicks off next month in Qatar. 

Qatar? The one with the appalling human rights record?

‘Sportswashing’ (noun).

Is there a word commonly used to describe Mourinho beginning with ‘S’ and ending with ‘house’ which hasn’t made it into the dictionary yet?

If I speak I am in big trouble.

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