To park the bus – metaphor – to play very defensively, to get a lot of players behind the ball, to have no attacking play, to make it almost impossible for the opposition to score, as if a bus is parked in front of the goal. Tactic attributed to José Mourinho when manager of Chelsea.
PARKING THE BUS
For José. After Henry Reed
To-day we have parking the bus. Yesterday,
We had conning the ref. And tomorrow morning,
We shall have how to waste time. But to-day,
To-day we have parking the bus: the scent of liniment
Sweat and fresh-mown grass drifts across the pitch,
And to-day we have parking the bus.
This is the ankle breaking tackle. And this
Is the studs up tackle, whose use you will see,
When you are given your boots. And this is the offside trap,
Which in your case you have not got. The coaches
pace on the touchline with their frowns and foul language,
Which in our case we have not got.
This is the goal line clearance, which is always performed
With an easy flick of the foot. And please do not let me
See anyone using his hand. You can do it quite easy
If you have any strength in your foot. The injured
Are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their hands.
And this you can see is the dive. The purpose of this
Is to fool the ref, as you see. We can dive
Rapidly backwards and forwards: we call this
drawing the foul. And rapidly backwards and forwards
The forwards plummet and the midfielders plunge:
They call it drawing the foul.
They call it drawing the foul: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your foot: like the shirt pull,
And the high tackle, and the shoulder charge, and the trip,
Which in our case we have not got; and the physios
with their magic spray, and the balls going backwards and forwards,
For to-day we have parking the bus.
Copyright Mike Hopkins 2016