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Manchester United

'Squeaky bum time' & 'park the bus': Iconic Mourinho & Ferguson phrases added to Oxford English Dictionary

6:43 AM EDT 10/5/22
Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have seen their iconic phrases added to the Oxford English dictionary as part of their quarterly update.
  • Ferguson & Mourinho cited in dictionary update
  • Classic phrases attributed to both
  • 13 other footballing words & phrases added

WHAT HAPPENED? Two of the most influential managers in English football have had phrases associated with them added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Ferguson's infamous 'squeaky bum time' has been added, alongside Mourinho's much-discussed defensive tactic of 'parking the bus.'

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ferguson first said 'squeaky bum time' in a press conference in 2003 when discussing Arsenal's end to the season. Mourinho has long played a defensive style of football, which was massively important in him winning the Premier League three times with Chelsea. However, he initially coined the phrase when criticising Tottenham for setting up in a similar fashion against his team in the 2004-05 season.

AND WHAT'S MORE: Overall, 15 words or phrases associated with the beautiful game have been added in the dictionary's quarterly update. You can see them and their definitions below.



Cruyff turn

''A manoeuvre used by one player to evade another, in which the player with the ball feints a pass while facing in one direction before immediately dragging the ball behind and across his or her standing leg with the other foot, turning, and moving away in the opposite direction.''


''An unorthodox way of kicking a ball in which the kicking leg crosses behind the standing leg before making contact; (also) a pass, cross, etc., made in this way.''


''A penalty kick in which the taker lightly chips the ball into the centre of the goal at the moment that the goalkeeper dives to one side.''

Total football

''An attacking style of football in which every outfield player is able to play in any position as required during the course of a game, to allow fluid movement around the pitch while retaining the team's overall structure as players exchange positions and fill spaces left by others.''


''A style of play in which a team upon losing possession puts immediate and intensive pressure on the opposition, even deep in the opposition's half, in an attempt to regain the ball at the earliest opportunity, prevent the opposing team from capitalizing on possession, and force mistakes in dangerous positions.''


''A style of play characterized by highly accurate short passing and an emphasis on retaining possession of the ball.''

Park the bus

''To play in a very defensive way, typically by having the majority of outfield players close to their own goal and showing little attacking intent.''

False nine

''A centre forward who often drops further towards midfield than is typical of this role, becoming more involved in creative play and leaving space for teammates to attack; (also) the position occupied by such a player.''

Row Z

''A notional area high and far back in the stadium humorously said to be the destination of a powerful but inelegant clearance, wildly misdirected shot, etc.''


''An attacking player who operates in the space between the midfielders and the strikers and whose primary role is to create opportunities for teammates to score.''

Zonal marking

''A system of defensive play in which an individual player is assigned a particular area on the field of play to defend.''

Squeaky bum time

''A particularly tense period of time, esp. one leading up to the climax of a competition or event.''


''Someone that achieves a higher score than other participants in a sporting event, or (more generally) another event in which scores or grades are awarded.”


''The players other than the goalkeeper, collectively.”

Over the top

''In sporting contexts: up and over the top of a person or thing; over the head of an opposing player.”


WHAT NEXT FOR MAN UTD, CHELSEA & MOURINHO? Ferguson's former team United will be looking to shake off their hammering in the Manchester derby in a Europa League clash against Omonia. Chelsea, meanwhile face a difficult task of taking on Italian champions AC Milan in the Champions League, while their ex-manager Mourinho and Roma are taking on Real Betis.