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Learn English Through Football Podcast: Top of the Table

Welcome everyone to the football podcast for learners of English. On this week’s show we’ll be talking about violence in the Premier League, the exciting race at the top of the table there, and some unfortunate teams struggling across Europe. You can read the transcript for the show in our post below (Damian = DF, Damon = DB).

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Transcript of the show

DB: Welcome to’s football podcast. Yes, you’ve reached the show for football fans interested in improving their English language skills. My name’s Damon and I’m sitting here in a chilly Tokyo feeling a bit fed up, as our team’s last game of the season was called off, cancelled, yesterday. Also, Damian is off enjoying himself at a birthday party, so I’m all on my own today!

Never mind, at least Liverpool beat Tottenham in the EFL Cup and are through to the quarter finals!

Now, on the show today we will be reviewing a few of the big football stories from the week in our Good, the Bad and the Ugly review section coming up next. Then, we’ll have our regular weekly quiz, followed by some English for football phrases – including the phrase ‘prawn sandwich brigade.’ To finish we will spotlight three games from this weekend’s Premier League fixtures: Tottenham v Leicester, Crystal Palace v Liverpool, and Southampton v Chelsea.

OK, let’s start with our good, the bad and ugly section.


First good. I think it’s good for fans of competitive leagues, where there is an exciting race for the title. Even though it’s a cliche that you shouldn’t pay attention to the table until 10 games, nine games in to the Premier League season and five teams are separated by just one point, with Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool on 20 points, followed by Chelsea and Tottenham on 19. If it stays like this for another nine games, we could be in for a cracking end to the season. The one negative, however, is that these are all teams you would expect at the top; there is no Leicester this year. 


As for bad, well it’s looking pretty bad at the bottom of the tables for Sunderland in the Premier League in England, Grenada in La Liga, Spain, Hamburg in Germany’s Bundesliga and Crotone in Serie A in Italy. These four clubs have failed to register a win this season, and already look doomed for the drop. It’s a bit of a shock to see Hamburg, a team with a proud history of success domestically and in Europe in such a poor league position, especially as they have never been relegated from the top division.


And finally for ugly it’s back to West Ham’s London stadium, where there were ugly scenes again, as fighting broke out between West Ham fans and Chelsea fans inside the ground. In August, West Ham fans were fighting amongst themselves, apparently because of a dispute between fans wanting to stand and those who remained seated. Then, again in September and early October West Ham fans again were involved in clashes with Watford supporters and Southampton fans. The latest trouble involved coins, bottles of water and seats been thrown at Chelsea fans. Very ugly indeed and you wonder when the FA will step in and impose some kind of sanction on the club.

Yes, you are listening to And that was in Welsh. We’re looking for that message, ‘You are listening to’ in Norewegian. So, if you are Norwegian, or you know a Norwegian, get a recording to us by emailing us at

Quiz question

Now, before we describe some football language from the week, we have a quiz question for you about the relegation. We have just heard that Hamburg in Germany have never been relegated from the Bundesliga, which was created in 1963. We want to know, which team in England has the longest record of staying in the top division, that’s the old First Division and the modern Premier League?

Right, next up we take a look at some of the football language from the week.

Football Language: Prawn Sandwich Brigade

I’m going to talk about a phrase that we posted this week on our site and it is related to fans – prawn sandwich brigade. This is an expression coined – invented – by former Ireland and Manchester United captain Roy Keane when describing some sections of the home support. During a Champions League match in 2000 some fans were critical of the United players despite being 1-0 up and Keane criticised them for not supporting the players more. He said that some of the fans did not really understand football and that they were more interested in having a drink and eating prawn sandwiches. Since then, the term ‘prawn sandwich brigade‘ has come to mean fans who attend a match to enjoy the food and drink rather than the game itself – they are not ‘real’ football fans.

One more phrase is ‘clinical’.

Football Language: Clinical

The adjective, clinical means efficient or more basically taking chances to score. It is usually used with reference to scoring, for example, you can say score a clinical goal or team A was clinical, they had a few chances and scored goals, they didn’t waste or miss their chances. This week Everton were stunned by Norwich in the EFL Cup and their manager, Ronald Koeman admitted that Norwich had been more clinical in front of goal – they took their chances while Everton missed theirs.

Follow us

Now before we look at some predictions, we’d just like to remind you that you can contact us here at, follow us on twitter, that’s @languagecaster, or visit us at our Facebook page Learn English Through Football, you can let us know if there is any football language that you would like us to explain or add to our massive football language glossary. We’d like to say hi to all those who are now following or liking us including: Marwan, Khun, Domenico, Ben Mabley and Jose!

Next up, this week’s predictions.


And listener you can join in too in our Premier League predictions competition by coming along to the site. It’s a great time to sign up for our November predictions! Come along to our site, log in and then you can see the predictions competition at the top of the menu bar on our website.

We’ll start with Spurs versus Leicester. Now, I thought Tottenham have had a problem scoring recently but were at home, while Leicester have been great in Europe and had a good win at home last week, but of course were away this time out. So, I sat on the fence with a 1-1 draw, which was how it ended up yesterday! Three points for me!

The second match we looked at was  at Selhurst Park, which holds bad memories for me from the 2013/14 season when we blew a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 and effectively ended Liverpool’s title bid. Crystal Palace also have Benteke up front, who was let go by Liverpool, so he had a point to prove. But I went for a 2-1 away win. The game ended 4-2 to Liverpool, so 1 point for me predicting the result.

And finally we have Chelsea, who have started to pick up some form, travelling to the south coast and Southampton, who were impressive against Inter in the Europa League and held Man City to a draw. Can they get something from this tie? I think they can – or I hope they can, so Liverpool’s rivals, Chelsea, drop points. I’m going with my heart and going to say 1-1. We’ll see what the score is in a few hours or so.

Quiz Answer

OK, that’s just about it for the show this week, but before I say bye, what about the answer to the quiz question? Remember I asked which team in England has been in the top flight, that is the top division, for the longest? And the answer is Arsenal, who have been in either Division 1 or the Premier League, the top tier, since 1919, so that’s 90 seasons. But Everton are also worth a mention as they have the most seasons in the top leagues, but not consecutively, and that record stands at 113 seasons.

Good bye

See you next week everyone. Ta-rah! Enjoy the rest of the football.

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here.
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Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

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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