Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho: ‘Squeaky bum time’ and ‘park the bus’ added to Oxford English Dictionary


Football’s lexicon is a rich storehouse of clichés and catchphrases often outlandishly twisted, often the subject of parody.

Now, the linguistic ingenuity of the two most influential coaches in modern football – Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho – has been officially recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

Ferguson’s phrase “creaky bum time” and Mourinho’s “park the bus” comment were two of 15 OED additions to football, ahead of the World Cup in Qatar this year.

“While the OED covered a large number of football terms, from catenaccio to nutmeg to water carrier, this select set of additions fills some gaps in our dictionary formation,” the dictionary said in a statement.

The term “crunch time” was coined during a 2003 media conference when Ferguson tried to put pressure on Manchester United’s English Premier League rivals Arsenal.

“They have a replay against Chelsea and if they win they would face a semi-final three days before they play in the league,” Ferguson said.

“But then they said they would win the treble, didn’t they? It’s a terrible time and now we have the experience to deal with it.”

The OED defines Ferguson’s phrase as “a reference to the sound of someone shifting restlessly on plastic seats during the tense closing stages of a competition”.

Current AS Roma manager Mourinho, who is famous for his influence on British culture – including an appearance in the latest music video for English rapper and singer Stormzy – has also made the OED cut.

The OED’s definition of the former Chelsea manager’s ‘park the bus’ is ‘playing very defensively, usually keeping most of the outfield players close to their goal and showing little attacking intent’.

“As we say in Portugal, they brought the bus and left the bus at the door,” Mourinho said after Chelsea’s 0-0 draw with Tottenham in 2004.

“I would have been disgusted if I had been a supporter who paid £50 [around $56] because he came to watch this game to defend Spurs. I am very disappointed because there was only one team trying to win, they came not to give. It’s not fair because of the football we played.”

Other football-related OED entries include: “Total Football” (a brand of attacking, possession-based football, often credited to the Netherlands), “Row Z” (the seat furthest from the side of a stadium), “Lie”. No. 9” (a player who starts as a forward but drops deeper into the pitch) and “Trequartista” (an Italian expression describing a player who plays in the spaces between the midfield and the forwards).