Follow Rafa and speak in plain english

plain english

Speak to one of these in a foreign language?

A few weeks ago, we wrote about Rafael Benitez – yes he does have a connection with plain english – read on to find more. Now, there was a story going round – unsure if it is related to Rafa but it definitely is related to a foreign football manager who came to England.

Before we talk about how plain english is important to football, let’s look at a strange phenomenon.

In recent years, in almost all televised sport, as soon as the match or race is over, a TV presenter grabs hold of the main players and a TV camera is shoved in their face and they are asked for something insightful.

And within seconds, it is beamed all over the world – via the internet. So if you are in this position, you better make sure you get this right because (again thanks to the internet), it will probably stay where it ends up online forever.

And here is where learning plain english comes in.

Imagine if you were in a foreign country and you were asked to describe something technical (tactics in elite sport) in language the average man would understand. What would you do ?

You would drop into the phrases you know.

And this, according to the urban legend is what Rafael Benitez did. He made sure he learnt all the plain english phrases, hackneyed phrases and cliches that football managers have used since the year dot.

“Like to thank the supporters”

“The opposition is obviously a very good team”

“Really pleased with the effort shown”

“More of this and we will be pushing for promotion/avoiding relegation” (Delete as appropriate)

Why Rafa used plain english phrases in his responses

Because plain english is easy to understand, it can be clipped and added as a sound bite (on TV for instance) quite easily with no loss of meaning.

Plain english really should be the staple diet of someone (Like Rafael Benitez) wanting to get their message across.


Jonathan Senior is the UK's leading authority on careers after sport. He is a multiple management author, triathlete since 1996 and 2 x ironman triathlon finisher.

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