Let’s not get too heavy on Fabio Capello, the England football manager.
His contention that he requires only 100 words to communicate with his players is probably not too far from the truth.
One needs to remember, not that regular readers of my blogs need any reminding, is that the English language is the natural bedfellow for the double entendre. The fact that we attribute a French term to describe this genre (oh, there’s another French term) is out of respect for the multifaceted nature of the French personality. Put another way, they are, at the very least, two-faced.
But I digress.
And so, with only 100 words, it is sometimes necessary to use the same phrase to mean two different things.
For example, the referee may drop the coin when deciding who kicks off.
Capello might well interject “You useless tosser!”
That same phrase could easily be applied to any of a number of England players during the course of a game.
He may choose to single out one of these players with the threat that he is about to be substituted.
The phrase “I’ll pull you off at half time” would be enough to convey that thought.
It can, however, also be an implicit promise of a half-time reward for any player who might be playing a blinder of a game.
“Go for the tackle!” needs little explanation.
Vinny Jones understood this perfectly, much to Paul Gascoigne’s chagrin. The true value of that portmanteau word - coming from ‘shag’ and ‘grin’ – will be lost on most players.
“My granny can run faster than that.”
Strictly speaking, this is not a double entendre but it has great benefit in letting Wayne Rooney know what pace he has to achieve if he is to score, if you know what I mean.
After their latest match, we asked Capello to comment on his critics.
“I no like cricket. No understand it. Understand?”
Yes. Fully. 100 words, not out.