This short football language podcast looks at the word ‘survival‘ which is used to describe a team battling to avoid relegation. You can read the transcript for this podcast below, while you can also check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at

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Learn English Through Football Language Podcast: Survival

DF: Hello again everyone and welcome to – the football-language podcast for learners and teachers of English. I’m Damian and I’m here in a very sunny London, while of course the other member of the languagecaster team is Damon who is based in Tokyo, Japan. You should check out his recent post on our website around the phrase ‘to fluff‘ when used in football from a couple of weeks ago. Now, apologies for not having a podcast last week – it’s been a little busy here in London but on today’s show we look back at one of the key words from the final day of the season here in England: survival. We’ll also be talking a little about our new-look forum which has had a little bit of an upgrade this week.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Japanese)

Yes, that message was in Japanese and yes, you are listening to Now, remember that in addition to this podcast, you can also access all of our other football-language podcasts – we have hundreds of them stretching back to October 2006. So, come along to our site here at

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Stinger: You are listening to (in Spanish)

Now, I hope we are all doing well and enjoying all the football and on this podcast we take a look at the word ‘survival‘ which was used quite a lot on the last day of the season here in England.

Learn English through Football Language Podcast: Survival

Abdoulaye Doucoure’s second-half strike guaranteed Everton’s Premier League survival (, May 30 2023)
OK, this is how the BBC described the win – the win that helped Everton to survive another year in the Premier League; which means of course that they will continue to play in the top flight of English football for another season – this will be their 70th consecutive year (remember that consecutive means in a row). So, Everton have been in the top division in England for 70 years without being relegated. Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure scored with a wonderful long-range strikea screamer – to earn or to secure all three points which meant that the Toffees (that’s Everton’s nickname) could not be caught by the two sides below them (Leicester and Leeds). In other words, this win guaranteed their survival or another way of saying this is that the win secured their survival or simply, Everton survived – they would not be going down to the Championship.

So, in this example from the BBC we can see that the verb used with survival is ‘guarantee‘ and here are some more examples from the BBC Website that show how the word survival is often used in football:

  1. Example: They hung on though and the point, coupled with a defeat for Watford at Arsenal, ensured Villa’s survival and consigned the Hornets to the Championship.

In this example, Aston Villa stayed in the Premier League after drawing and seeing their rivals Watford losing at Arsenal which meant they survived; the point ensured or made sure that they would play another season in the Premier League.

2. Example: Saints were 18th when the Austrian took over, and secured Premier League survival, finishing 16th in 2018-19.

In this example, the verb ‘secure‘, which means to keep something safe, is used with survival to mean that the team cannot be relegated – they secured survival.

3. Example: ..after coming from behind to draw against West Ham, who confirmed their Premier League survival…

So, in this example, the verb ‘confirm‘ is used and this means that the team cannot be caught, they cannot be relegated as the point from the draw is enough to keep them up. Their survival is confirmed.

4. Example: The Cherries, who must win at Everton next Sunday to have any chance of survival, are three points behind the 17th-placed team…

In this example, The Cherries (the nickname for Bournemouth) have to win to give themselves a possibility of staying up (or surviving); to have a chance of survival.



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OK, if you have any questions or comments about this phrase then drop us an email at and you can also look out for us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We also have a football-language forum where you can ask and answer any questions you have on the language of football – we’ve recently had questions on the phrase, ‘to charge forward‘ and also the use of punctuation when describing a team. Very interesting stuff – come along to the forum.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Italian).


DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster and that message was from an Italian football fan. Don’t forget there’s a transcript for this short podcast and there’s lots of vocabulary support; so, we explain lots of the meanings of these words in the transcript, which you can access by coming along to our site.

OK, that’s it for this short podcast which was all about the phrase, ‘survival‘ which is used when talking about teams who avoid the drop, who stay in the league and who are not relegated. Did your team survive this season? Drop us a line and let us know. Let us know how you say ‘survive‘ or ‘survival‘ in other languages. Enjoy all the football wherever you are in this the business end of the season and we’ll see you again soon. Bye bye!

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Football GlossaryEpisode 1063