In this football language post we explain a newspaper headline from the Metro newspaper in London which focuses on Tottenham Hotspur’s decision to change its mind over applying for government help to pay its workers. You can see more explanations of newspaper headlines here and don’t forget we have hundreds more explanations of football language in our football glossary. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at: email@example.com.
Newspaper Headline: Spurs U-Turn as Pressure Pays
This headline is taken from the Metro newspaper’s headline on April 14th 2020 and discusses the story that Tottenham are the latest club to change their mind about government support and this is why the phrase U-turn – a change of mind – has been used.
Similar to many countries around the world, the UK government has offered financial support to companies that are unable to pay their staff during the Covid-19 pandemic. This support was mainly for medium and small businesses that cannot pay any of their workers as they currently do not receive any income – the company could temporarily release their workers (known as a furlough) and the government would then pay 80% of their regular salaries up to a certain limit. However, some Premier League clubs decided to use this scheme to avoid paying their non-playing staff – those who are not part of the first team squad such as scouts and physios – and this caused many to complain as football clubs earn huge sums of money during the season and are viewed as huge business organisations. The clubs argue that they are not receiving any income while there is no football being played and that they want to protect staff jobs, while recognising that players’ contracts are different to the rest of the organisation. Complicated!
Tottenham are not the first club to change their mind on this issue: Liverpool have also decided not to participate in the scheme after fans showed their disapproval but other Premier League clubs have remianed in the scheme including Newcastle, Bournemouth and Norwich.
The headline uses some typical language found in headlines. It uses the shortened form of the club (Spurs) and then the verb ‘U-Turn‘ which of course suggests a dramatic change of mind – a complete turnaround. The headline then suggests a reason for this change of mind, or U-turn, because ‘as pressure pays‘ means that the club have had to do this as many people in the media were against this decision but also Tottenham’s supporters’ groups (and rumours that some players) also wanted the club to change their mind. The expression ‘pressure pays‘ can be heard in football when a team constantly attacks its opponents – it applies pressure and if they break through the defence we can say that the pressure has paid off – it has resulted in a goal.