What Annoys Me Most About The England World Cup Coverage

The circus is coming to a media outlet near you soon!


It’s coming around again, another England World Cup Finals appearance which will lift our expectations only to crush them within the first 20 days, if we’re lucky. But what annoys me most about the coverage about the England team?

This year is a World Cup year and once again the media will trot out their usual rubbish regarding the England team and our chances of winning the tournament, this year held in Russia.

But there is one thing that annoys me more than anything else with the media’s coverage of major tournaments. Can you guess what it is?

It isn’t the endless crap about how long it’s been since we won the World Cup, it isn’t the endless talking up of our chances of winning the tournament, it isn’t the endless dissection of player performances, it isn’t even the 2-bit pundits desperately scrambling to earn a few quit with their ill-informed opinions.

No, the thing that annoys me the most is the media’s fixation with the partners of the England footballers and the use of the anacronym: Wag!

A clarification on writing anacronyms

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, when writing an anacronym that can be said as a word, for example, Fifa, Uefa, Ukip, Unesco, Nato and so on, only the first letter should be capitalised. This is because the anacronym is turned into a word in itself.

However, if an anacronym can’t be said as a word and is spelt out, such as FA, TFL, BFI, BBC, ITV and so on, then the word should be spelt out using capital letters.

My problem with Wag

I’m not the smartest person in the world but I do pride myself on having a fairly decent knowledge about how the English language works and laws on causing offence.

The problem is, Wag stands for Wives and Girlfriends. As a group, the partners of the England players are Wags, a plural. If they are to write about a partner of an individual player, for example, Victoria Beckham then she is a Wog; a Wife or Girlfriend.

You see, however talented Viccy Beckham may think she is it is impossible for her to be a Wife and Girlfriend to Davvy Boy at the same time!

I get why the media don’t adhere to the rules of the English language in this instance but it is a pretty stupid one in my opinion.

Picture the scene, a player turns up for England duty with a black partner and the media refer to her in the singular form. My God, the left wing press would be up in arms and there would be a public inquiry as to why a woman of colour was referred to as a Wog in the national media.

What the law says about offence

Despite public opinion, the law is very clear on what constitutes an offence. It is not a criminal offence for someone to be offended by something, it is a criminal offence if the person saying/doing something does so with an intent to cause offence.

In other words, by using the grammatically correct phrasing for Wives and Girlfriends for a singular person it is not intending to cause offence.

We’ve seen all the fuss kicked up recently by the PC brigade about the salutation used on the trains to address people. The snowflakes say to use the phrase ‘ladies and gentlemen’ is offensive to transgender people, who are one or the other even if they want to be the other!

The implication was that if a guard on a train addressed his or her passengers by ‘ladies and gentleman’ that they would be causing an offence. Not so, not if the guard wasn’t meaning to. It would have to be demonstrated that the intent was to cause offence rather than it being a force of habit or slip of the tongue.

Why do you want to offend people?

I don’t, I really don’t! I just get annoyed at how things get changed on the off-chance that someone might be offended when the original intention is far from wanting to cause offence.

Today we seem to be pandering more and more to the minority while at the same time sacrificing common sense.

Referring to a group of partners of England footballers as Wags is perfectly acceptable but to refer to one of them on her own as a Wag is grammatically incorrect. If the phrase were to be written in full instead of the acronym being used it would look utterly ridiculous!

I am somewhat tired of the dumbing down of our language, not by people but by the media who should be pushing correct English to their readers or viewers.

We will always have slang or street usage of the English language but you expect better from respected organisations.

If it was simply about appealing to the man on the street or younger people then why not present the news in text speak?

I speak English in a completely different way to how I write. I am a typical south London lad and I speak accordingly but to write in the same manner as I speak would make me seem more of a moron than I already am. How would business be conducted if people wrote documents, contracts and the like as the man int he street would speak?

It’s just laughable!

Where would it end?

If we banned or changed things based on what people found offensive instead of if it was meant to cause offence then where would it all end?

I have a friend back home in south London who is offended by the word niggles.

For those of you who don’t know, the word niggle is a commonly used word to refer to small injuries that a player picks up during a football match, such as slight strain, bruised thigh and so on. Small things that can affect his performance without keeping him out of the game.

Well, my friend thinks it sounds like an offensive term that would be used towards a black child instead of the highly offensive ‘N-word’ used these days by the rap community.

Other people think terms such as ‘came inside the full back’ sound too sexual and should be avoided when commentating on football.

The point here is neither of the terms mentioned is meant to either cause offence or be sexual in nature. It is the person receiving the information that decides to be offended it isn’t the intent and therefore it is them who have the problem.

And finally…

A prime example about how tradition and grammatical rules can be thrown out of the window for fear of causing offence, or in this case looking stupid, we need to look back at the royal wedding between William and Catherine.

You’d think that a royal wedding would have everything spot on. Everything would be traditionally done, nothing would be changed.

As is traditional for a wedding the groom’s name is before the bride’s and so it would be with their initials. On the wedding day the carriage bore the initials of the happy couple but for some reason, the bride’s initial was before the groom’s and read C & W.

Why? Well, had they been put in the correct order they would have read W & C, making the carriage look like a grand toilet!

Maybe sometimes it is a good thing to mess with convention.