Football Cliches by Adam Hurrey, simply, is a compendium of clichés upon which the modern-day football world dances. The book hums along in a sprightly pace, and is a breezy read. You will laugh and you will smile wryly at the wordplay at work here, and anyone familiar with Hurrey’s work will get a kick out of it, as I did.
“Hammered – So evocative a term for powerful long-range efforts that it even extends to players’ nicknames, such as German midfielders Jorg ‘The Hammer’ Albertz and Thomas ‘Der Hammer’ Hitzlsperger, neither of whom needed a second invitation to shoot during their time in British football.” (pg. 16)On describing the term ‘hammered’ (pg. 16).
Over fourteen chapters, Hurrey puts the spotlight on hundreds of clichés that are pervasive in football media and weaves them into his prose. From those heard on the field to those heard in the commentary box and everywhere in between, each cliché is keenly and humorously described. Clever diagrams are also featured, and although they are mostly irrelevant, they serve to further solidify Hurrey’s patented sense of football humour (the graph of ‘Minutes of Stoppage Time v Incredulity’ is typical of this humour).
“They may find, however, that their adversary is no slouch and he himself may need no invitation to bomb on. The historically undersung full-back has gradually been liberated by the era of relative gung ho-ism that the backpass rule ushered in. They are not free to buccaneer or maraud to their lungs’ content, provided they are just as good going the other way.”On the modern-day full-back (pg. 40).
The writing does drag in the latter stages when the novelty of the writing form wears off. A book made up of lists is likely to do that, no matter how good the writing is. So, to sum up, Football Cliches does exactly what it says on the packet, and does it well.
“Welcome to the Premier League – The standard English top-flight welcome pack for few foreign signings consists of three items: a pair of oversized headphones, a designer washbag and an agricultural challenge from an old-fashioned centre-half.”The Premier League ‘welcome pack’ (pg. 94).
FULL TIME SCORE: 2-1 win. An entertaining first half with the three goals scored, though the game gently falls away as players run out of legs.