Flora of Indonesia

Spanking Goals & Toe Pokes

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 August, 2008, 12:00am

Spanking Goals & Toe Pokes

by Tommy Martin

Proverse Hong Kong, HK$98

With the Beijing Olympics upon us and football part of the event, non-native English speakers may find it handy to have Spanking Goals & Toe Pokes close to hand. Written by football coach Tommy Martin, who hails from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the slim volume aims to decipher the sometimes opaque language used by football commentators describing play. Many of the 800-plus sayings, however, are not exclusive to the sport, which makes this reference book equally useful in non-football-related situations employing British slang and jargon. Some may even surprise readers whose mother tongue is English. This reviewer can admit to being baffled by 'a jinking run', 'nutmeg' used as a verb and 'a fancy-dan shape', which, rather than coming from the name Dan, may be an abbreviation of dandy, according to several internet sites. The book does not provide the provenance of sayings included, however, which is unfortunate because this would undoubtedly help students of English. Still, there is much to learn from the volume, which borrows language from warfare ('taking scalps') and animal behaviour ('mauling') as well as other types of human activity. If footy's your game but you watch it on mute, this may provide a reason to turn up the volume.