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Football Language Podcast: Parent Club

parent club On today’s football language listening post we look at a football expression linked to transfers – parent club. For this audio report there is a transcript which is great for learners and teachers of English. If you have questions or comments about this, or any other football phrase, you can email us at:

Football Language: Parent Club

DF: Hello everyone, this is Damian from the Learning English Through Football team – we hope you are all well and in this short football language podcast, I am going to look at a phrase that is linked to the world of transfers and this phrase is parent club. We will also look at the phrase ‘to come back to haunt their club‘.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Thai).

DF: So, when a player moves from one club to play with another one we call it a transfer but there are different kinds of transfers. Some of them may involve huge sums of money and this is a transfer fee, while others may see no money changing hands at all (and this is a free transfer). There are also times when a club lets a player go to another club for a short period of time and this is known as a loan. Mostly this type of transfer is free but an increasing number of these loan deals now involve money too – although much smaller sums of cash than the bigger transfers.

When a player is involved in a loan deal we call the player a loanee and the club that they leave is known as the parent club. Different leagues and competitions have different rules about whether a player can play against their parent club as it may be seen as a conflict of interest if they did. In the Premier League in England, for example, loanees are not allowed to play against their parent clubs but this rule is different in cup competitions meaning a player can do so unless they are cup tied which means that they have already played for their parent club and so are unable to play for another club in the same competition.

An interesting verb used when a loanee scores against their parent club is ‘to haunt‘ which of course is normally heard when describing what ghosts do. If a player haunts their parent club it means that they have played well or maybe even scored a goal against this club – they have come back to haunt their parent club. A recent example of a player haunting their previous club was when Bayern Munich thrashed Barcelona 8-2 in the Champions League quarter final. Barcelona had loaned Philippe Coutinho to Bayern Munich but he came back to haunt them when he scored a brace and also provided an assist for another in their eight-goal hammering of Barcelona. Coutinho didn’t really celebrate too much out of respect for his parent club and of course there was a real chance that he would return to Barcelona at the end of the loan period. I wonder what you think, should players celebrate when scoring against their parent club?

Stinger: Hello everybody, my name’s Umid. I am from Tashkent. I will tell you know ‘you are listening to in my Uzbekh language (in Uzbekh).

DF: Thanks everyone for listening – we hope you enjoyed our quick look at the phrase ‘parent club‘ and also to ‘come back to haunt‘. It would be interesting to hear how these phrases are said in other languages so if you know then you can drop us a line at And don’t forget there is also a transcript for this report which can be accessed for free at languagecaster. OK, we’ll be back soon with some more football language. Enjoy all the football this week – see you soon. Bye bye.

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here. If you have any suggestions, contact us at
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

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