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Learners’ Podcast 19 – Super Sunday?

 Queiroz: We must stop Torres

On this week’s show Damian and Damon look at the relationship between football, TV and money. Damon also has a new English for Football phrase.

Try out our worksheets or online quiz to help you practice your listening and vocabulary skills. If you click on the audio when it is playing on an iPod you can see the transcript as you listen. It’s a great way to practice listening and fluency!


Arsene Wenger: I personally believe that, of course, Man United will be in contention but Chelsea and Liverpool as well.

Frank Lampard: They’re very important because it’s very tight this year and at the weekend all four teams play against each other at the top and maybe this season the games against each other are going to be the deciding factor in who wins the league.

Sir Alex Ferguson: No matter the position of the clubs this is a game separate from everything as far as I am concerned.

Damian: This weekend in England sees two huge matches involving the top 4 teams in the Premier League, Manchester United travel away to Liverpool and Arsenal host Chelsea in a London derby. These four teams have dominated the Premier league in recent times, having supplied all the winners since 1996. The gulf between them and the rest of the teams in the division is further demonstrated by the fact that since 1999 only one other side has managed to break into the top 4, while the FA and League Cups have also been dominated by these teams.

Of course success breeds more success so the best clubs will tend to attract the best players but in order to do this they need money – and lots of it. Luckily for them there is quite a lot of it around. But where is it all coming from? The simple answer is television. Before 1992 football was barely seen on TV in Britain and hardly any of what was shown was live.  One or two hours a week was all that viewers were able to see and even then some felt that was too much.

But this all changed when Rupert Murdoch and his newly-formed Sky TV bought the rights to show English football on television. He paid so much money to the clubs and the league that suddenly live matches were being shown which in turn brought in new sponsors eager to promote their brands through the new-found popularity of football.

This popularity was not solely down to Sky Sports but its influence cannot be ignored. With a flood of money entering the game, teams were able to attract players from overseas by paying them top salaries. The standard improved and so did football’s image. Crowds flocked to the new stadia being built from TV money, players became millionaires and suddenly football was everywhere and Sky was at the heart of it all.

But there are many concerns with the power that Murdoch’s channel wields – teams play when the channel dictates as the kick off times follow TV schedules and some would argue that the soul of football has been lost in its pursuit of even more riches. Players now earning more money in one week than teachers, say, they could earn in three or four years. This gap is expressed within football too with the top four clubs in England becoming richer all the time. There seems to be little or no chance for other teams to make the break through and this polarisation may lead to the eventual disinterest in the game.

Of course, this does not mean I won’t be watching the top four battling it out on TV this weekend.

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