An article I wrote for A-level on the language of Football commentators

This was an excercise that I did back in the old days (well about two years ago) at college. The task was to write an article on something to do with language. So I chose what I’m passionate about… Football! I found it earlier, and thought I’d just put it on here 🙂 This article of mine is about Soccer for any of you American readers.


Should we be worried about the Language adopted by the most famous and recognisable football commentators on well-known broadcasting channels?


People all over the world listen to football commentaries and all types of individuals, classes, gender or age. Football is a dominant sport world wide, adored and worshipped by die hard football fans. If football is such an influential sport then should the language set an example to football fans, or indeed set an excellent example to other countries of our language?

There are some that say that in public life and in the media, there are standards to maintain. In the case of the ‘Linguistic Police’, the subject of the language of which commentators decide to use is a massive problem. They detest sentence structure which is ‘poor’ in their view and clichés are infuriating to many audiences.

An example of the atrocious sentence structure is from the historic Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal match, the commentator on BBC Radio Live 5 (whose identity will be hidden for his own safety) decided to say “Down the left side” which is a rule breaker in the English Language bible. When a sentence is structured, especially in describing something, most simple sentences must include a Subject, Object and a Verb. In the example of the offender above, he uses a preposition ‘Down’, ‘The’ being the definite article and ‘left side’ is an adjective. From a linguists point of view this is outrageous, they would ask “Where is the Verb!?” Don’t be silly, we don’t need the Verb in this context.  Maybe in his spare time this culprit revises the English Language bible, but it just evaporates when he’s under pressure speaking to millions of people and needs to keep up with the game in real time to inform us the audience about what is happening.

We are all aware that the fashion for football commentators is their use of clichés. Many people get irritated by the clichés used by commentators. Admittedly, some are very irritating for example ‘On paper…’ Possibly one of the most recognised and most heard cliché. I personally dislike the use of it. It was used frequently by Mr Andy Gray and I find it very biased. Football is about what happens on the pitch, not on ‘paper’. There is no contribution to trying to make the game more exciting because surely that is one of the main jobs for a football commentator? Tension builds and excitement rises when the game is about to begin and then the cliché is used and then you feel as if the game has been decided and is too predictable… Thanks Andy.  ‘That’s a great cross but no one was there.’ Is another cliché that annoys people. If a ‘crosser’ has crossed a ball then surely it’s his job to pick out a player? This just seems discriminating to any player attempting to get to the ball, you assume there is no error from the crosser which there obviously is if no one receives the ball.

So should there be some kind of guidance for our Football Commentators? Well, I’m going to propose some techniques that I believe to be of great importance when commentating. This will be based on the professionals and what we want to hear, not what the ‘Lovers of the English Language’ aka The Language Police see as important.

 ‘TERMS AND CONDITIONS’ of being a professional football commentator

1. You MUST know the footballing terms, Such as Specialised Language ‘Penalty-Area’, the overused clichés in football ‘A game of two halves’ and learn common words used in football, some being Curl and Foul.

2. You as the commentator SHOULD exaggerate everything. You have to shout non stop and get over excited to make the part of the game you’re speaking about seem like it’s one of the most amazing sights you have ever seen and experienced.

3. You MUST know the names of football teams, stadiums and more importantly the players, Such as ‘Arsenal’, ‘The Emirates’ and ‘Van Persie’. Depending what the player has done you only use their full name if they score.


4. You MUST not use highly intellectual language. You are describing football to all types of people, different educated ability audience.

5. Your voice MUST not be Monotone. You MUST vary in pitch, High and Loud at times to show your admiration. After all, no one wants to listen to someone lacking passion and sounding like a robot.

*Terms and Conditions Apply

So, let’s put all the right and wrongs aside and focus on the game. The main focus of football commentaries is the football being played. No-body is bothered about how the commentator sounds or how the commentator speaks. We want to hear what is happening in the game, we aren’t concentrating on the language of which the commentator decides to use. Football is a sport for anybody in the world and I for one do not care about the language. At the time I’m listening to the sport I love, I have too much thought about the game.

Nobody cares whether a commentator squeals excitedly down the microphone like a little boy receiving his first bicycle, Nor whether they elongate some words or even the fact that commentators don’t use the correct sentence structure.

Football Commentaries has two sides to the argument on language used or should I say ‘A game of two halves’. There needn’t be two halves to the dispute when the language isn’t important, the football is.

By T. J. Blake


Does English exist any more?

How frustrating is it that people these days cannot speak? especially on Facebook… Every time I log onto Facebook or Twitter, I see a status, comment or tweet that is poorly written.

TEXTS! Oh yes, lets not forget texts. I expect you all know someone who writes a text that is ‘quicker’ for them to type, but longer for you to translate and transcribe… Yes they use ‘b4’ and spell words carelessly to ‘save them time’ but in truth, they probably don’t know how to spell the actual word.  Admittedly, I used to do all the abbreviations and ridiculous spelling of words… when I was about 10!

Now, back to Facebook. I have noticed that people cannot speak, mostly through my experience of the internet for the last, I don’t know, ten years+ . Recently, it has irritated me more than ever.
I liked an Arsenal fan page, well actually a few of them, and there are two that stand out to me. They are both constantly filled with news, that is written poorly (and lies might I add). I mean, it’s so bad that people comment on the posts, insulting the page about their written English. Admittedly, (no racism intended) I think that the people who run these fan pages, are foreign because the syntax and sentence structure is always pretty wild.

To be honest, I suppose it is expected within football. It’s a worldwide sport, everyone is allowed their opinion  including foreign Arsenal fans. I’m just more irritated by people who don’t write texts ‘properly’ or write statuses that make them sound incapable of speaking or show that they could feature on The Jeremy Kyle Show and fit right in. Just watch the Jeremy Kyle show if you haven’t already. It’s a  perfect piece of evidence to use with this mini rant of mine.

I should really be a descriptivist about all this right now, that’s what we’re encouraged to do in English essays… Luckily this isn’t an essay.

There is much more to speak about here, but, I simply do not have the time to do so. I am a full time university student, and May is the month of essays and exams for us students and I’m writing my book.

Before any smart ass proofreads my post here and points out any errors, just stop, they would be minor errors and this is a informal post about language. And yes, you may be thinking ‘well Facebook is informal too so you’re contradicting yourself.’ No I am not, least I am making some sense with my language and all the words are spelt correctly and there is some form of punctuation.

That’s all for now. Rant over.

Coco says Woof Woof, Which translates into….

Coco says Woof Woof, meaning buy it.

Coco told me to tell you WOOF WOOF… Which translates into.
‘Buy this book. It’s truly amazing. It will keep you guessing through out. I’m reading it and although I’m a slow reader cause I’m a dog, it’s such a good story, I would give all my bones to have it!’

So there you go. Coco Blake has spoken, this pic is proof that she is reading it. So go on, go and buy a copy 🙂