‘They parked two buses’: a corpus study of a football expression

Mark Wyatt, Glenn Hadikin

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The Liverpool football manager, Brendan Rodgers, was clearly upset. He had just seen the title chances of his vibrant attacking team, scorers of more league goals than any other team in England, suffer a major setback, with defeat against Chelsea: ‘They parked two buses, rather than one’, he lamented of the Chelsea tactics in a post-match interview: ‘from the first minute, they had 10 men behind the ball. We were the team trying to win, but we just couldn't make the breakthrough’ (Bevan, 2014). A few days later, after Chelsea had lost to Atlético Madrid in the second leg of a European Champions League semi-final, after playing very defensively in the first leg, this defeat was celebrated by vengeful rival fans on twitter, drawing on the same ‘park the bus’ metaphor, e.g. ‘when you park the bus, make sure it's not near any red lines’ (the humour of which derives from Atlético playing in red and white stripes, while yellow lines in the UK forbid parking, so the bus is penalized for being in the wrong place) or ‘Atlético parked 4 Ferraris and 2 Veyrons. TOO DAMN FAST. Chelsea bus cannot catch up with the speed bro!’, where the Chelsea bus is ridiculed for simply being too slow (Footballburp, 2014).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-41
JournalEnglish Today
Issue number4
Early online date2 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • corpus linguistics
  • football
  • parked the bus
  • Portuguese
  • Mourinho
  • SiBol
  • BNC
  • British National Corpus


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