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Dwell on – Football Language Podcast -2021-22 Season

This football language podcast looks at the language of football used to describe a goal in the FA Cup Semi Final last weekend – to dwell on. The transcript for this podcast is available below, and you can also check out our huge glossary of footballing phrases here. Visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts, and if you have any suggestions or questions please contact us at or leave a question or comment on our forum. (DB=Damon)

Dwell on – Football Language Podcast – 2021-22 Season

all over the placeDB: Hello there everyone. We hope you are all well and enjoying the football wherever you are.

My name’s Damon, one half of the languagecaster team, speaking to you from a mild Tokyo. Damian, as regular listeners will know is the other member of the languagecaster team, and I think he’ll be enjoying some great weather over in the UK, at least at the weekend, when the FA Cup semi finals took place.

It is on one of those games that we will focus today, Manchester City versus Liverpool, and especially Liverpool’s second goal.

Stinger: You are listening to (in French).

DB: Yes, you are listening to and that message was in French.

(to) Dwell on

Right, let’s kick off with our main phrase today, which is ‘to dwell on’. Before we look at what it means in football, and how we can use it to talk about Liverpool’s second goal, let’s look at the verb to ‘dwell’ in everyday speech. ‘To dwell’ means to live, but we don’t really use it like that, we don’t say, I dwell in Tokyo. It is mostly found in literature or in older or more formal forms of speech.

You will be more likely to hear it in its noun form, a dwelling, a house, a place to live. But again, it sounds rather scientific or historical.

As a verb phrase, to dwell on, its meaning changes to mean to think about, speak about, or write about for a long time, with a negative meaning attached. If you dwell on a problem, people will tell you you need to forget it to move on. To dwell on something is not healthy psychologically.

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So, this brings us to football, where, if you dwell on the ball, you wait too long before passing or deciding what to do.

Here is a description of Liverpool’s second goal against Manchester City in the first FA Cup Semi Final, which they won 3-2:

Steffen, standing in the mouth of his goal, dwelt on the ball for far too long, giving Mane the opportunity to pounce and score with perfectly timed sliding challenge. (, April 2022)

Steffen, the Manchester City goalkeeper ‘dwelt on the ball far too long‘. He failed to clear the ball and Mane was able to score by slide tackling the keeper and knocking the ball into the net.


This kind of mistake, especially by a goalkeeper is called a ‘howler‘. He dwelt on the ball, wasting time unable to make-up his mind, and as a result, he gifted a goal to Liverpool. He gave Mane a chance to score. A howler is a big, embarrassing mistake. You may also hear, clanger: it was a real clanger.

Here is again:

The American dropped an absolute clanger to gift Mane his first goal.

Notice you ‘drop a clanger‘. With howler, we would just say, it was a howler; it was a mistake. And in this sentence we also have that verb, ‘to gift‘, to give someone an easy goal

Stinger: You are listening to (Japanese).

(to) Get rid

Thanks for that message in Japanese.

Most pundits and fans wanted Steffen to clear the ball quickly. in this case, on the pitch you might shout ‘get rid‘, short for get rid of the ball. Not pass it, but kick it away quickly. A fan might shout, ‘just hoof it’. To hoof the ball is to kick it hard and far, but with no thought of where the ball will go – it will just be far away from danger.

Good Bye

DB: OK, we looked at Liverpool’s second goal in their 3-2 win against rivals Manchester City. Remember these phrases: to dwell on, to wait too long, which can lead to making a ‘howler’ or dropping a ‘clanger’ – making an embarrassing mistake. We also talked about gift someone a goal, and how, instead of dwelling on the ball, keepers sometimes need to get rid, or to hoof the ball to safety.

Enjoy all the football wherever you are. We’ll be back next week with more football language. Check out our site, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, just look for Languagecaster. And remember, there’s a transcript to this show on our site, along with loads more podcasts and hundreds of football phrases. Ta ra!

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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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