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Listening Practice: South Coast Teams (England)

In this weekends FA Cup round games Portsmouth take on Bournemouth. Both are on the south coast of England, and along with Southampton, they make up three big south-coast teams. We take a look at their history, nicknames and crests in this week’s listening practice report. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link above, and you can also read the transcript of the report (below). There are also explanations of key vocabulary (in bold) at the end of the post. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at

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Listening Practice: South Coast Teams

In England, the most successful teams come from two regions: the northwest, for example Liverpool and Manchester United, and London, including teams such as Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea. In contrast, the south of England does not have a very long history of success in the game, but Southampton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth, on the south coast of England, have recently featured in the top division and experienced cup success.

Southampton FC

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Southampton were founded in 1885, originally as a church team. This has given them their nickname, The Saints. They play in red and white stripes, and unlike many other teams, this colour combination has continued since the start of the club. They tasted cup success in 1976, famously beating hot favourites Manchester United in the FA Cup, and their highest finish was second in the top flight in 1984. The Southampton crest has a halo on top, which represents the nickname, The Saints. Under this is a football. In the main part of the badge is an Oak tree, symbolising the New Forest near the city, waves to show that the sea and water is important to this coastal town. Finally, there is a white rose, which is also part of the city’s coat of arms. The original badge was a lot simpler, featuring two red roses and one white.

Currently, The Saints sit in 8th place in the Premier League after three wins on the trot.

Portsmouth FC

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Southampton’s biggest rivals, Portsmouth, are only 20 miles to the west, and can boast a prouder record of trophies and titles, including two FA Cup titles and two league titles. Most of this success was before 1950, but they did win the FA in 2008, beating Cardiff City 1-0 while also appearing in the final in 2010, where they were defeated by Chelsea. However, the next season they were relegated after going into administration, and since then have fallen further and are currently in the second division, but in a much healthier financial state.

Portsmouth, or Pompey as they are known, were founded in 1898 and have as their crest a star and crescent moon, which represented the towns connection, as a port town, with King Richard I and the Crusades to the Holy Lands in the Middle Ages. These are set on blue, the team’s colours and a symbol of the sea.

AFC Bournemouth

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The least illustrious of the three teams, Bournemouth, or the Cherries, lie to the east of Southampton and Portsmouth. They were formed in 1890 but have spent the majority of their history in the third tier of the English football leagues. However, this year, for the first time, they were promoted to the top flight and are currently winning the hearts of neutrals all over England with their positive play. The nickname, the Cherries, comes from the fact that the ground is sited on an old cherry orchard, and that they used to played all in ‘cherry’ red.

Their crest is fairly modern in its style, an image of a player heading a ball – the player is meant to represent a former striker from the 1950s and perhaps also is a metaphor for the club heading upwards. The original crest, like many other teams in England, was of the town’s coat of arms.

Bournemouth will be hoping to beat their rivals Portsmouth in the FA Cup this weekend but also to remain in the Premier league; at the moment they are 16th, only 4 points above the drop.


  • tasted cup success: Were successful; won the cup
  • coat of arms: An ancient symbol representing a town or family
  • on the trot: In a row; one after another; consecutive
  • can boast: Can be proud of
  • administration: A situation where a business goes bankrupt and is taken over by an outside authority
  • financial state: Economic situation
  • illustrious: famous
  • winning the hearts: getting support; becoming popular; persuading people to like them
  • orchards: fields of fruit trees
  • echoes: copies; reminds us of; looks like
  • the drop: relegation


Learn English Through Football
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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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