Football Cliche: No one is bigger than the club
This week there has been a lot of talk in the media about the relationship between French midfield star Paul Pogba and his Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho with the Reds manager claiming that, ‘He’s a player like the others; no player is bigger than the club and, if I’m happy with his work, he plays’ (Guardian.co.uk September 29th 2018). This phrase clearly means that the club is much more important than anything else – more important than a player or a manager but when it is used it can take on the meaning of a warning: a warning to a player or a manager not to become too arrogant or to rise above their role. In this example, Mourinho is suggesting that Pogba is not thinking of the team but instead is more interested in his own profile; he is not putting the team first. This is interesting as Jose Mourinho has sometimes been accused of being bigger than a club with his strong personality.
Now, sometimes you will hear a slightly different version such as: written in the forms below:
- No individual is bigger than the club – and here individual refers to the player.
- No player is bigger than the club
Example: ‘Liverpool are bigger than any individual, says Kenny Dalglish, after Fernando Torres’ departure’ (Telegraph.co.uk, 4th February 2011).
Free football language podcast for learners of English brought to you by Damian and Damon. Interviews, match reviews, predictions all with full language support for football fans around the world who wish to improve their English language skills.