I was puzzled by the term ‘to park the bus’ and discovered that its derivation is unclear. Some attribute the phrase to Jose Mourinho while Manager at Chelsea, and it describes a negative team who play very defensively.
Others attribute the phrase to Javier Clemente, a former Spain national coach, also known as an ultra-defensive coach, and think he was responsible for the birth of that metaphor (according to Soccernet columnist Phil Ball). While at Murcia, for an away crunch match against Real Madrid, Javi Clemente left out two of his strikers and took a collective bunch of defenders and midfielders (the “bus”). “Parking the bus” is a strategy of a team who go to an away match in search of a draw, meaning that they also take with them the team bus out onto the pitch and park it in the goal area. Hence the term, park the bus.
“To park the bus” is a tactic used by teams, in which they play defensively for the entire game, in order to deny an apparently superior team any goals and escape with a scoreless draw and thus accumulate one point, instead of risking it all and going for three points and possibly getting none. Often involves pulling all 11 players in front of the ball, essentially daring the attacking team to send all 11 of theirs out. Imagine a bus parked in front of the goal. It is almost impossible to score, so people use ‘to park the bus’ to mean one team was very negative, boring and defensive.
The term can be considered pejorative and has negative connotations of being a boring and unattractive style of play, however effective it may be. These days almost every club teams and national teams park the bus no matter what style they play whether if it’s Direct Football, Possession Football or Defensive Football.
This article made interesting reading, with tactics for breaking through the ‘bus’.
Whoever coined the phrase, I sincerely hope that Dartford don’t try this tactic as their main game play. I hope I never seen them do this, but with the tough season ahead, I think the team have to keep their confidence up and get some breaks. Just lately I have discovered that they seem to play the first half of the game mostly in their own half, which means that I, as the photographer for the club, seem to be miles away from the action as the opposition take advantage. “Playing deep” I have heard it called. So next match, I am going to place myself towards that end of the pitch at least for some of the first half.
As Jock Stein once said;
The best place to defend is in the other team’s penalty box