Football Language Podcast: The Relegation Zone

This week’s podcast looks at the relegation zone in the Premier League. We explain some language connected to relegation and also look ahead to some of the big games involving teams currently in the relegation zone.

Relegation Zone

In this week’s football-language podcast, we take a look at matches involving teams in the relegation zone in the Premier League. We also have a chat about some of the footballing news from the week. Of course, we also have some football-related language for you. As well as this weekly podcast post, we also have a fantastic glossary of footballing terms for those interested. If you have questions or comments, email us at:: (Damon= DB; Damian  DF).

Football Language Podcast: The Relegation Zone

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Transcript of the show

DB: You are listening to Languagecaster’s football-language podcast. Hi there. My name’s Damon. I hope you are enjoying the weekend and thanks for listening. I’m in a chilly Tokyo – funny that, it’s winter – and I’m still buzzing after my team, Liverpool, beat Manchester City 4-3 last weekend! Football is great, isn’t it. One other thing that’s great is Damian, and hopefully he’s down the line in London. Damian. How are things over in the UK?

DF: Hello Damon. And hello to you and to all our listeners. Good to hear from you and yes, things are good here in London. As you said, it’s winter so pretty chilly, but that didn’t stop me from going along to watch some football last week. I managed to catch West Ham’s third round FA Cup replay against League One side Shrewsbury Town – that’s the third tier in the English game at the London Stadium here in East London.

DB: You’re a brave man – it must have been chilly on the stands. How was the game?

DF: It was freezing. The game was poor – really poor – and went to extra time as neither side had been able to break the deadlock but eventually the Premier League side scored a very late goal to win 1-0. And they face another League One side, Wigan Athletic who surprisingly won the trophy in 2013, in the fourth round.

DB: That’s right.

DF: Now Damon, what’s on the show this week?

Line up

DB: Well, regular listeners will know that we have three main sections on this podcast: a look back at the footballing news, a chat about some football phrases, and a look forward to some of the games in our predictions. Now, this show will follow that format and we’ll throw in our usual quiz question too!

You’re listening to (in French)


DF: Now, let’s start by looking at some good news from last week in the world of football. It was good for female football fans in Saudi Arabia as the ban on allowing them to go and watch football at stadiums was lifted which means that Saudi women are now free to go and watch their favourite players and teams. It was also good for Liverpool and really the Premier League as the Reds defeated Manchester City 4-3 in the Premier League last weekend. The result will probably not affect the title race with City so far ahead but it did provide the League with a thrilling encounter as both teams attacked from the kick-off. A great game to watch as a neutral – I wonder what it must have been like for a Liverpool fan like yourself Damon?

DB: Well, it was fabulous to watch although City scored two in the last 10 minutes, I was hiding behind the sofa at that point!

DF: OK, how about bad from the week in football, Damon?


DB: Well, you mentioned VAR – Video Assistant Referee – last week and it was in the news again for the wrong reasons last week in an FA Cup replay between Chelsea and Norwich. There were a string of debatable decisions which makes people wonder what the point of having VAR is. I think in a game like football, VAR just doesn’t suit the fluid nature of football, and I’m hoping it doesn’t last too long. Now, anything else Damian?

DF: Well, before I come on to that, I kinda’ disagree. I think there’s teething problems at the start, I think it could be useful as long as there’s a little bit more control. So, for example, in the NFL they have one or two chances to use VAR but I agree at the moment there’s been some issues around it, yes.


DF: Now, we usually have an ugly or funny story to finish off this section, but this week we would just like to join the football community, especially in the UK, in saying goodbye to Cyrille Regis, the West Bromwich Albion, Coventry and England striker, who passed away last week at the age of 59. Now, playing in the late 70s and 80s, Regis was known for his dynamism and powerful shot, but more importantly, he was a role-model for black footballers in Britain at a time when racism was visible and audible in the stands of many grounds. He left his mark on football and helped make a change in society.

Follow us

DB: Now, if you like the show, why not let us know by contacting us at Or why not share our posts on twitter and Facebook! Of course, you can follow us there too and via Instagram – where we have added some photos from the FA Cup game between West Ham and Shrewsbury. We’d love to hear from you and would love it even more if you’d let your friends know about us!

Quiz Question

DF: OK, time for a quick quiz question. In our predictions section later we will be looking at some teams in the relegation zone, the bottom three, in the Premier League. Our question this week seems quite easy, but can you remember the three teams that were relegated from the Premier League last season? Which teams went down to the second tier in the 2016/2017 season?

Right, next up we’ve got some English for football phrases connected with relegation.

Football Language: A Relegation Scrap

DB: OK, and I’m going to talk about the phrase a relegation scrap. First of all relegation is falling down to a lower division or tier. In most national leagues, if your team finishes in the bottom three places in the league they drop to a lower league – this is relegation. They are relegated.  A scrap is another word for a fight, so a relegation scrap is a fight to avoid dropping down to the lower division. Usually the bottom six or seven teams are involved in a relegation scrap, or battle, in the last months of the season. Damian, anything else?

Football Language: Too good to go down

DF: Yes, I’m going to talk about a cliche, too good to go down. To go down means to be relegated – a team goes down, a team is relegated to the lower division. The opposite of course is go up or be promoted. When they describe the relegation scrap, you will often hear pundits say a team is too good to go down, or they are too big to go down. They mean the team is traditionally thought of as strong; they have a lot of good players, a big budget, and a history of staying in the division. Of course, no club is too big, or too famous, to go down, but along with ‘they wanted it more,’ or ‘they gave 110%‘, this cliche is used each season. Damon, are there any teams in the relegation zone that are too good to go down?

DB: Well, if you mean it would be a surprise if they went down, you’d have to say that no, none of the teams at the bottom are too big to go down. At the moment you’ve got West Brom, Swansea, Stoke, Southampton and Brighton down there, so no – none are too good to go down, I wouldn’t be surprised if any were relegated.

DF: Yes, a little harsh on Southampton maybe?

DB: Maybe.

DF: Right – next up it’s predictions. And we’re going to look at games involving the bottom three in the Premier League.


Everton vs West Bromwich Albion

DB: Right first of all, Everton versus West Bromich Albion. Now, this weekend’s football games will have a minute’s silence for Cyrille Regis. As an ex-West Brom player I wonder if that will inspire the Baggies. I think it might. Everton have also been poor lately. A 2-1 win for West Brom. You?

DF: I disagree. I think that Everton will respond to their recent poor performances and win here – maybe 2-0.

Stoke City vs Huddersfield Town

DB: OK, so, next it’s Stoke City hosting Huddersfield. The reverse fixture saw a 1-1 draw and I think we’ll get the same here. A hard-fought draw. How about you?

DF: I think Huddersfield are going to struggle and think that Stoke, under new manager Paul Lambert, will win this one – 2-1.

Swansea vs Liverpool

DB: The last game we’ll take a look at is the bottom club Swansea against Liverpool. On paper this is a mismatch and Liverpool should win this comfortably, but as a Reds fan I’m always wary of the highs and lows of supporting them. Last week was a fantastic win against Manchester City, this Monday night game could see a horrible game with Liverpool struggling. Well, struggle they will, but they’ll still win 1-0. Liverpool 1, Swansea 0. Damian?

DF: An easy win for Liverpool – 3-0.

DB: OK, now what is the answer to our quiz question?

Quiz Answer

DF: Well we asked which teams were relegated last season in the Premier League. Do you remember?

DB: Vaguely remember…

DF: It was Hull in 18th, Middlesbrough in 19th and bottom were Sunderland, who are now bottom of the Championship! Are they too big to go down from the second tier?

DB: I don’t think so.

Good bye

DF: Right. That’s it for the show this week. Enjoy all of the football and we’ll be back next week with a focus on the FA Cup 4th Round.

DB: Alright. Ta-rah!

DF: 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

Free football language podcast for learners of English brought to you by Damian and Damon. Interviews, match reviews, predictions all with full language support for football fans around the world who wish to improve their English language skills.


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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