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In A Manner Of Speaking

July 17, 1994

I would like to point out that not one of the so-called British hooligan slang expressions in the L.A. Speak of June 12 (by Jill Stewart, Palm Latitudes) has anything at all to do with hooligans. As someone well-versed in soccer as a player and spectator, I can state that I have never heard of fans referred to as "firms," and that "ground, pitch and terraces" and "man of the match" are not slang terms but perfectly correct descriptive nouns.

Stewart also advises us that supporters may respond with the exclamation "bollocks" when someone misses a goal. Remotely possible, but highly unlikely, as that is the slang word for "testicles."

H.E.D. REID

Los Angeles

I take umbrage with Stewart's "British hooligan slang," which she reports is coming to the Rose Bowl via the World Cup.

First, the British are not coming; they lost. But the Irish are coming, and the fact that they'll use the term "bollocks" does not qualify them as hooligans or Brits. Furthermore, I am not a hooligan, even though as a child growing up in Dublin I attended thousands of soccer games, as did my Da, my uncle and the local parish priest.

"Bollocks," which derives from the male genitalia, isn't strictly soccer talk. It has everyday usage in Ireland and Britain, with three different spellings and connotations:

Bollix--Said to a friend who let you down.

Bollox--Failure to get something right.

Bollocks--The original and most brutal term. An Irish glossary once referred to Oliver Cromwell as a "dirty old English Bollocks."

SHAY DUFFIN

Redondo Beach

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