Football Language Podcast: 2019-20 Review of Tottenham’s Season – In this football language podcast we review some of the highs and lows from Tottenham’s 2019-20 season. We will look at some of the language from the good, the bad and the ugly parts of the club’s season. Don’t forget we have hundreds more explanations of football language in our football glossary. You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the file below – you can also subscribe and listen to all our football-language podcasts. There is also a transcript so you can improve your English by reading as you listen, or if you are a teacher of English you can use the transcript to make several activities for your learners. If you have questions or comments, email us at: email@example.com (Damian=DF)
DF: Hello everybody. My name is Damian and I am one half of the languagecaster team and you’re listening to the Learn English Through Football Podcast. Now, the 2019-20 season has finally finished – almost exactly a year after the opening games in the middle of August last year and this short podcast looks back at my favourite team’s 2019-20 season – I’ll be reviewing Tottenham’s season and in particular some of the language that emerged from the good, the bad and the ugly of the Spurs season. Now, we have a transcript with this short report, as well as some vocabulary support, so you can improve your English by reading as you listen, or if you are a teacher of English you can use the transcript to make several activities for your learners. And if you have any questions, suggestions or comments then you can email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stinger: You are listening to Languagecaster.com (in Vietnamese)
DF: Way back on August 10th in 2019 (almost a year ago), I went along to the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to watch the opening game of the 2019-20 season in fairly high spirits. After all, we had reached our first ever Champions League final only 10 weeks before and had then bought three players in the summer transfer window – our first signings in nearly two years – which included the much coveted French midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. Spurs had finished in the Champions League positions in the previous four years and while there was no talk of a title push, there was plenty of optimism for the new season ahead. Spurs went on to beat newly-promoted Aston Villa 3-1 on that opening day although they did not play anywhere near their best which, unfortunately for us Spurs fans was a sign of things to come.
Move forward to the end of the Premier League season in July and Spurs scraped a 1-1 draw away at Crystal Palace to finish in 6th place in the table – 7 points short of a Champions League place and a whopping – a huge – 40 points behind champions Liverpool and this was only thanks to a strong post-lockdown run of games. They’ve changed their manager, suffered huge amounts of injuries, said goodbye to many of the stalwarts from the previous five years and for the first time in a long time there was some dissent among the players and fans. Let’s take a look at some of the highs and lows from the 2019-20 season.
Stinger: You are listening to Languagecaster.com (Besiktas fan)
DF: Well, I suppose the post-lockdown run of form was quite good – they only lost one of their last nine games and this run meant European qualification; albeit the Europa League rather than the Champions League for next season. There were good wins over Manchester City, Leicester City and Arsenal and finally their home form at the new stadium started to pick up – not quite yet a fortress but the team were definitely becoming stronger at the wonderful Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. It was also a good season for new signing Giovani Lo Celso who really blossomed in the second half of the season, while star striker Harry Kane, despite missing many games through injury, still finished with 24 goals from 34 matches. But club player of the season and Premier League goal of the season winner was Son Heung-min – the Korean striker scored 11 Premier League goals including that amazing solo run against Burnley when he dribbled at top speed through the whole opposition defence before slotting it past the keeper.
DF: Well, if one month was symbolic of Tottenham’s poor season then it would have to be October. At the start of that month, they were humiliated by German champions Bayern Munich 7-2 at home in the Champions League and then went down 3-0 away at Brighton four days later in the Premier League. Spurs hardly registered a shot on target in this game and also had their keeper and captain Hugo Lloris stretchered off early on after dislocating an elbow – ouch! A laboured home draw against bottom of the table Watford and then a defeat away at Liverpool were followed by two more 1-1 draws in early November against Everton and Sheffield United and Spurs fell to 12th place.
Then, out of nowhere, the club announced that Mauricio Pochettino had been fired. True, the team had not been playing well for quite some time – they had not won an away game in 2019 – but it seemed inconceivable that the manager who had qualified the club for four Champions League competitions and consistently reached higher league positions than any manager had done in the recent past was now gone in early November. Honestly after that I didn’t really care as much any more. I was just sad that the previous five and a half years of being a Spurs fan which had seen massive improvements, lots of attacking football, great comebacks, huge amounts of emotion, lots of home-grown players coming into the first team and a work ethic that was second to none – all on a shoestring budget – was now all ending.
DF: Lots of the football that we played under new manager Jose Mourinho was often described as ugly although he will argue that it was pragmatic and that 6th place in the Premier League during this transition year was as good as he could have done. Dumped out of the Champions League by RB Leipzig and then the FA Cup by Norwich on penalties (when Eric Dier was banned after going in to the crowd to confront a fan) was nothing to be proud of, while Tottenham didn’t cover themselves with glory at the start of the lockdown when the club furloughed many of its employees and although this decision was reversed after public (and player) pressure it left a bad taste. Another negative story surrounded our home game against Chelsea in December when Blues player Antonio Rudiger reported racial abuse during the match causing it to be stopped. Although no one was charged and neither a police nor a club investigation found anything wrong, this was a worrying incident that hopefully will not be repeated.
Stinger: You are listening to Languagecaster.com (in Japanese)
DF: OK, that’s it for this short podcast – a disappointing season overall for the club but with a new manager and a fit squad that has already been added to then maybe a top four place could be possible next season. Although I am not too hopeful…
Don’t forget that we have lots of vocabulary support as well as the transcript for this report and these can be accessed by coming along to our site at languagecaster.com where you can find loads of other football-language related resources. Don’t forget to say hello to us here via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, our football language forums and of course by email at email@example.com. Thanks everyone for listening. Bye bye!
in fairly high spirits: Feeling quite positive, optimistic
the much coveted: Many clubs wanted to buy this player (coveted = wanted badly)
a title push: A title run; the team was strong enough to challenge/fight for the title
a sign of things to come: This showed what was going to happen
whopping: A huge amount; enormous
post-lockdown run of games: The 9 games after lockdown (from May-July)
the stalwarts: Regular members of the team; experienced players
albeit: Not the one we expected (although)
inconceivable: Very difficult to believe
to pick up: to improve
a fortress: In football this means a stadium where away teams have difficulty winning (or getting any points)
who really blossomed: Who became much better; he improved over the course of the season
solo run: The player did not pass the ball to a team mate – he ran through the opposition defence alone
they were humiliated: lost their dignity after being thrashed
stretchered off: Carried off because he was badly injured
fell to 12th place: They ended the week in 12th position in the league
out of nowhere: Completely unexpectedly
home-grown players: Local players, players that have come from within the club
a work ethic: The team worked really hard, their belief was that a team had to work hard to win
that was second to none: No one was better
a shoestring budget: A really small budget compared to other big-spending clubs
pragmatic: Practical; working with what players he has
this transition year: When a team is re-building, it is not expected to win
to confront a fan: To face up to a supporter (the fan had been abusing Dier’s brother)
over themselves with glory: To do things the right way; to be honourable
furloughed: A government scheme to help companies pay its employees
left a bad taste: People did not see it as a good idea; a bad impression