Every week during the season, the languagecaster team will explain a football headline that has appeared in the English-speaking press and this week we feature the European Championship qualifier between Montenegro and England. Click on the link below to hear the transcript which appears below that. You can also find many more examples of football phrases here, as well as football cliches here and our huge football glossary here.
This week’s newspaper headline is ROONEY RED CARD RUINS CAPELLO’S NIGHT and is taken from The Express.co.uk which focuses on the fact that despite gaining qualification for the European Championship finals in Poland-Ukraine next year, the red card that striker Wayne Rooney received will mean that he will miss at least one of those final matches through suspension. This is what the headline refers to when it claims that the England coach Capello’s night has been ruined – he was unable to fully celebrate. The use of alliteration is common in headlines – there are three words beginning with the letter R and two with C – and this is to ensure that the headline captures the readers’ attention, they will remember it more.
Other ways for newspaper editors to capture the attention of its readers is to use puns or to coin new words. So, in the Express they have also used the phrase “We will Roo this moment”, where Roo refers to Rooney but also to the word rue (it has the same sound) and means to regret. Another paper, The Daily Mail does something similar with its title “Roo Fool!”, meaning that Rooney is a fool, an idiot, while The Sun claimed he was a “Roonatic”, a play on the word lunatic.
Therefore, the headline ROONEY RED CARD RUINS CAPELLO’S NIGHT means that England manager Fabio Capello’s night of celebration was cut short by the fact that his star striker Wayne Rooney had been sent off and will face a suspension in next summer’s European Championship finals.