GOOD old William Shakespeare celebrated his 450th birthday last week but the history books tell us he wasn’t much of a footie fan.
Back when he was scratching out sonnets with quill and ink, the beautiful game was a rather violent pass-time, usually regarded with distain by the gentry.
The Bard does give football a couple of mentions in his work – King Lear containing the disparaging line: “Nor tripped neither, you base football player.”
A Comedy of Errors – which would later be picked up in football parlance as any opponents’ goal that contains more than one mistake by the home defence – has a whole passage in Act Two, Scene One.
Am I so round with you as you with me, That like a football you do spurn me thus?
You spurn me hence, and he will spurn me hither: If I last in this service, you must case me in leather.
Now, I’m no thespian, but it doesn’t sound like Bill had a season ticket. He probably didn’t even have Sky Sports.
But it’s incredible to think that four-and-a-half centuries later, his words and phrases are still being used frequently everywhere from Hackney Marshes to Wembley Stadium.
Here, I present a list of Shakespearean idioms and a definition of how they are used in modern football.
Dogs of war: Used to describe any rough and tumble team, especially Joe Royle’s 1995 FA Cup winning side at Everton.
All that glitters is not gold: What David Moyes may be thinking right now.
Method to his madness: What Wanderers fans were hoping would be the case when Dougie Freedman lined-up with a back five against Leicester City on Tuesday night.
Set your teeth on edge: What happens when you see a particularly nasty injury, e.g. David Busst, Eduardo.
Faint-hearted: Who shouldn’t watch the video of said tackles on YouTube.
So-so: A fair adjective to describe Wanderers’ season.
Good riddance: What a lot of Bolton fans said when the club sacked Gary Megson.
Seen better days: What a lot of Bolton fans said when the club signed Peter Beardsley.
Too much of a good thing: Mario Jardel.
Send him packing: Mario Jardel again.
Fight fire with fire: Not advisable. Contravenes a lot of health and safety laws.
Wear your heart on your sleeve: Jay Spearing’s mantra.
Come what May: Summer holidays for footballers.
Come full circle: Wanderers now looking for a proven goalscorer.
Vanish into thin air: Tyrone Mears.
Be all and end all: Premier League football for big spending QPR next season.
Dead as a doornail: QPR’s automatic promotion hopes.
Wild goose chase: Wanderers trying to sign Portugal international Miguel Veloso a few years back.
A sorry sight: The derelict pubs and buildings around the old Burnden Park.