Football Language Podcast: To Ship

shipOn this week’s short football language podcast, we answer some readers’/listeners’ questions about the language of football, including discussing the meaning of the verb ‘to ship’. If you have questions about the language of football post your question on our forum or contact us directly at our site. As always, check out our football glossary and football cliches pages for hundreds more explanations of the language of soccer. If you have any questions, suggestions or comments then please email us at: (DB=Damon)

Listening Report: To Ship

DB: You’re listening to Hello there everyone. Welcome to languagecaster and our regular football language podcast. My name’s Damon, I’m based in Tokyo, and over here we are getting near to the famous cherry blossom season. I can’t wait! As you will know if you are a regular listener, I’m one of the languagecaster team, the other being Damian, who is based in London. We hope you are all well and enjoying the football wherever you are listening in the world.

Now, today, I’m going to be talking about three phrases which listeners to the show or readers of our posts sent in. The first is ‘to ship‘. Before that though, let’s have a message in Icelandic!

Stinger: You’re listening to (in Icelandic)

To Ship

Yes, you are listening to OK, let’s start. Now, this question was from Dwi Ardianto., who we think is based in Indonesia. She or he asks: what does “ship” mean in this context? 55 min: Leicester *ship* possession on the edge of their own box.

OK, Dwi, first let’s think about ‘to ship’. This verb means to move something, or to deliver something. If you use Amazon to order some books for example, they may ship the books to your home or to your workplace. 

In football, however, it means something different. ‘To ship‘ means to concede, to give away, to allow goals to be scored. In Dwi’s example, the writer has said ‘to ship possession’ – this is an unusual use of the verb ‘to ship’, but it means the same thing – to give away, to concede – so to give away possession.

If a team ships goals, it means they are conceding a lot of goals, they are giving their opponents a lot of goals. In this situation we can say the defence is ‘leaky’. A leaky boat or ship lets in water and a leaky team lets in, or ships, goals

To Spurn

Our next phrase is in answer to Sandara, who wrote asking about the difference between “spurn” a chance and “fashion” a chance. Here are the examples she saw: 

  • Both sides continued to spurn chances early in the second half.
  • Arsenal clear the free kick, but spurn the chance of a counter attack, choosing to maintain possession through to half time

Well, the verb ‘spurn‘ means to turn down an opportunity so Arsenal had the chance to counter attack but instead decided not to do so. We can see ‘spurn’ is used with ‘chance’ or ‘chances’ a lot. This means to miss chances to score. And we can add more information, like spurn the chance of a counter attack, or spurn the chance to go top of the table. The meaning is basically negative.

On the other hand, to fashion a chance, means to make a chance, to make an opportunity, so is a positive meaning compared to spurn.

Your listening to (Ferencvaros, Hungary supporter)

To Be Camped In

Our last phrase is from Hyuna27 who wanted to know what camped in meant in this passage: 91: Every United player is camped deep in their half. 

First of all notice that the phrase is in the passive, to be camped and is followed by deep in and then their half. This is a very common pattern. 

So, what does it mean? Well to camp, is to put up a tent or to stop and rest somewhere. If a team is camped in another team’s half, it means they have so much possession they are almost ‘living’ in the half – they have put their tent up and are ‘staying’ in the half. If a team, as in the example, is camped in their own half, it means they are defending. You might also hear the phrase the defence is under siege as their opponents are camped in their half. So in this example, Manchester United are defending deep in their half, they are staying in their half.

Good bye

Right, we’ve talked about three verb a today in answer to questions on our site – to ship, to spurn, and to be camped in. 

And that brings us to the end of this short podcast., If you like what we do, tell your friends or support us via You can follow us on Twitter and most social media platforms, and you can get in touch us via And remember there is a transcript to this show on our website.

Thanks for listening. Stay safe, enjoy the football, and we’ll be back soon with some more football language to talk about.


Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and if you have any suggestions, contact us at

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    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.

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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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    PodcastEpisode 716