Confused Caption Writer?

I recently discussed the expression “on the night,” meaning “on the night in question,” “night of the game/event/performance,” etc; that post has a link to the similar “on the day.” The phrase came to mind yesterday, when I was saw the online New York Times coverage of an epic Manchester City-Real Madrid Champions League match.

For those not versed in Champions League soccer/football (and for those who are, correct me if I botch this), it’s a tournament where, once the field gets down to sixteen teams, each contest consists of two games, and the team with the highest aggregate score advances. In this case, Manchester City won the first leg 4-3, but Real Madrid advanced on aggregate because they won the second leg 3-1.

Thus the caption should have read “on the night”; “on a night” is meaningless, to my ears. My theory is that a British person (perhaps Rory Smith, the author of the article) or someone well-versed in NOOBs originally wrote “on the night,” but some well-meaning but ill-informed person changed it.

Any other theories?

6 thoughts on “Confused Caption Writer?

  1. It could have been copy-edited down from “on a night filled with drama and disappointments . . .”

  2. Hi! I work at The Times and am fixing it. It was just a typo … it didn’t start as “on the night.” But I appreciate your theory (and your pointing out the error).

  3. As an American resident in Britain after 32 years, and a huge (European) football fan, I agree totally with you. But what a night it was — if like me you wanted Real Madrid to win.
    Another intriguing cross-cultural question is whether, having become a British citizen, I should have wanted the English team to win. I am an Arsenal supporter, and wanted Man City to lose, because (a) the Premier League is not made up of many English players; and (b) Abu Dhabi owns Man City and has spent gazillions on the club, making the Premier League an uncompetitive league.

  4. As someone who has lived in Canada for 46 years but grew up playing and watching football and still loves the game, I also agree with your assessment. By the way, I am a long-suffering supporter of Tottenham Hotspurs (the Spurs) but was nonetheless sorry to see Man City lose. Incidentally, this is the second time this season Real Madrid has pulled it out of the bag: in the last round Real came back to beat Paris Saint Germain (managed by a former manager of Spurs).

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