During the 2008-09 season, the languagecaster team explain a football phrase or clichĂ© for learners of English who love the sport. This week we explain the phrase ’12th man’. You can find many more examples by going to our football clichĂ©s here and our huge football glossary here.
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This week’s English for football is ‘twelfth man‘ (12th Man). This term is used to refer to the fans of a team. Each team in football has 11 players on the pitch, but if the fans are particularly loud in their support they can help their team, they can encourage them. When this happens the fans are called the twelfth man – they have the effect of an extra player: the game is now 11 vs 12. Before the Liverpool v Chelsea game in the Champions League John Terry, Chelsea’s captain, said he wasn’t going to let Anfield’s 12th man affect their performance – he was right. This time Anfield’s twelfth man, the fans, couldn’t help their team to victory. Many teams refer to their fans as the 12th man, and fans themselves will also carry banners calling themselves the 12th man. The twelfth man.

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and if you have any suggestions, contact us at admin@languagecaster.com

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