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Learn English Through Football Podcast: 2022-23 Season: Curtain Raiser

On this football language podcast for learners of English, we kick off the 2022-23 season by looking some language from the curtain raiser in England – The Community Shield. We’ll discuss some of the football phrases connected with this clash between Manchester City, the reigning Champions and Liverpool, the FA Cup holders.  You can read the transcript for this podcast below, and you can also access our massive 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 Podcast: 2022-23 Season: Curtain Raiser

DB: Hi there everyone! Welcome to this football language podcast.

DF: Yes, hello everyone, we hope you are all well and thank you for tuning in to this show, which is for everyone who loves the beautiful game of football. My name is Damian and you’ve just heard Damon. Hi Damon, how are you doing? It’s been a long time since we’ve done a live recording like this!

DB: It certainly is! I guess, you being in London and me being in Tokyo has been one reason we haven’t done many of these podcasts; maybe we’re just getting too old to get the times right! Anyway, I’m looking forward to discussing today’s topic.

DF: I bet you are! Now, the Community Shield is our main focus today, and this is the ‘curtain raiser‘ to the new season: the match that signals the start of the new club season here in England, and this game took place yesterday at Leicester City’s ground and of course it featured the winners of last season’s Premier League against the winners of the FA Cup, so Manchester City versus Liverpool. And your team Liverpool did pretty well, didn’t they.

DB: Yes, a 3-1 win in what many feel is just a friendly game (in the curtain raiser). I’m all for saying this is a real game and the silverware, the trophy, counts!

DF: Ha! I wonder if Manchester City fans would feel the same? One thing is for sure though, the game was a cracker – really enjoyable for a friendly, sorry, a trophy!

Stinger: You are listening to (Joe, a York City fan)

DB: Thanks for that message, Joe. right, let’s crack on with the football language. Now, we’ve each thought of two football phrases that could describe the action from Liverpool’s 3-1 win. We’re just going to say the phrase and see if the other knows what player or event in the game it refers to. Is that OK, Damian? Are you ready?

DF: Fire away.


DB: OK, here’s my first phrase. Let’s see if you know what I think it refers to from the match: Largely anonymous.

DF: Well, this word anonymous means that there is no name attached to something  and the phrase largely anonymous in football refers to a team or usually a player that has not really done much in a game, where largely means mainly; maybe they have been kept quiet by the opposition defence or they are still finding their feet after a big transfer which means that the player has not yet settled in or has not got used to playing with their new team mates. So, widely anonymous must be a reference to Manchester City’s new striker Erling Haaland after his poor performance yesterday, yes largely anonymous. Of course, he also missed a sitter at the end of the game – a miss that a player of his quality should never have missed!

DB: Nice one. Yes, a lot of focus has been on Haaland and his quiet performance. I am sure, however, we are going to see him find his feet soon.

Poke home

DF: OK, my turn. Here’s is my football phrase from the game: Poke home.

DB: OK, I’m guessing because this has got home in the phrase, that means a goal, and it can’t be Trent Alexander-Arnold’s goal which was curled in from outside the box; it can’t be Salah’s goal, because that was a penalty, and Núñez scored a header, so I’m guessing this must be Julian Alvarez.

He poked home – which means scored from close to the line, so probably in the six-yard area of the penalty box, after staying alert after Phil Foden’s shot was saved. So yes, I’m guessing poke home is Alvarez’s goal.

DF: Absolutely, can I ask a question Damon? Do you think poke home, do you think t means the player is using the toe part of their foot, rather than the side part.

DB: I certainly do. Stretching the leg and the foot out to poke home with the toe.

DF: It’s a good striker’s goal, wasn’t it.

Stooping Header

DB: Number two from me: my football phrase is stooping header. I’m sure you can get this one.

DF: Yes, Damon, this phrase, stooping header refers to Darwin Núñez’s goal which sealed the 3-1 win for Liverpool. He stooped down to reach a header from Robertson. To stoop is to lower your head, to bend your body over, so a stooping header is one where the ball is about the height of your chest, a little too high to kick, so you need to stoop down. Here’s how used the phrase in their match report: “It was a superb substitute performance from Nunez, capped by a stooping header to wrap up the 3-1 win.”

DB: I was glad to see hime stoop down and score that one.

Live wire

DF: OK, here’s my second phrase: Live wire. Can you guess what this phrase refers to?

DB: Hmm… tricky. So, a live wire is someone with a lot of energy, so in football, someone fast, who keeps pressing, keeps running, basically just doesn’t stop, so I’m guessing this refers to either the Liverpool player Salah in the first of half or maybe Díaz, but it could have been Man City’s Álvarez, who we have already mentioned, who was also very lively. I’ll go with Díaz.

DF: Bingo! Yes, I thought he had a great game – he was a real live wire and he kept Manchester City’s right back, Walker, busy all game. Well done Damon and of course well done to Liverpool after winning the season opener, the curtain raiser to the season, the Community Shield.

DB: Silverware!

Stinger: You are listening to (in Japanese)


DF: Yes, you are listening to and that message was in Japanese. Now, if you want to ask any football-language questions or simply say hello then you can do so by adding a comment on our site here at or by using our forum. You can also send us an email at and you can also look out for us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

DB: Yes, get I touch and spread the word. So, we looked at anonymous, stooping header, live wire, and poke home. But we’re not done yet for today, are we?

Women’s Euro 2022 Final

DF: No. It’s the final of the Women’s European Championship which takes place today at Wembley and so we should finish with our predictions for the big game.

DB: Yes we should. It’s been a great competition, and even though I haven’t been able to watch much, I’ve been reading all about it. What has it been like over their in the host country, England?

DF: It’s been great. The coverage from the national broadcasters, the BBC, and the newspapers here in the UK has been excellent so the atmosphere has been building, especially as the Lionesses keep on winning. The nickname is interesting – a lioness is of course a female lion and as there are three lions on the national shirt this is the nickname for the women’s national team, and you can now see references to lionesses everywhere here in London!

Actually, it’s also been really interesting with respect to language around the women’s game – there have been a lot of discussions about phrases such as a man-of-the-match performance which of course can now simply be player of the match, while the 12th woman, referring to the support from the fans, has been used a lot more thanks mainly to an advertising campaign by a beer company. With the rise of the women’s game, it will be really good to see how language adapts and of course how new language will be created to reflect this rise.

So Damon, what about your prediction?

DB: I know it’s a cliche, but it’s probably going to be an England loss on penalties, isn’t it. That is the narrative England supporters are used to when they meet a German side. So, 1-1 and then Germany to win on penalties. How about you?

DF: I think these are two well-matched sides with very good coaches. I am going to go for England simply as they have defeated three of the so-called favourites to get to the final – thrashing Norway, Sweden and coming from behind to beat a great Spanish side. 2-1 to England.


DB: Right, that’s it for this short football-language podcast and we’ll be back soon with the new football season 2022-23, Ta-ra.

DF: Bye everyone!

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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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