Clichés are expressions or sayings that have become so overused that they have lost some of their original impact. In football, clichés are used quite a lot and they are often associated with the emotional aspect of the game. Sometimes the meaning is clear or extremely obvious, e.g. football is a game of two halves but more often than not the original meaning of a cliché is often difficult to understand. Why, for example, are parrots sick? How can a player give 110% when 100% surely is the maximum? And why does a victory send players and managers over the moon?
Many feel that the overuse of clichés demonstrates the fact that football players, managers, fans, commentators and pundits have a poor vocabulary and are lacking in imagination. However, clichés form part of the football discourse and though there is often no logical explanation to their meaning, they do provide some colour and humour for the football world.
You will often hear football clichés in interviews with players before and after a match, as well as from TV match commentators and experts. Former manager Ron Atkinson famously introduced new expressions to the game such as ‘early doors‘, while British commentator Clive Tyldesley never seems to tire of referring to Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League win as ‘that night in Barcelona‘, among others.