The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A generous manager and trouble for United

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A generous manager, trouble at Manchester United and racism in Italian football all feature in our football review of the week for learners of English who love football. You can listen to these stories on our weekly football podcast, while explanations of key vocabulary (in bold) can be found at the foot of the post.


It’s not often that you hear that someone in the football world has decided not to try to get their hands on more money. But that is what happened when Gordon Strachan quit as manager of Middlesbrough of the Championship in England this week. After a terrible run of form at the financially struggling north-east club, and after coming under increasing pressure from disgruntled fans, the Scot resigned and refused the money he was owed on the rest of his contract. That shows class and he deserves some respect for his gesture.


Potentially bad for Manchester United, the most successful club of recent times in England, as they look set to lose their star player, Wayne Rooney. The United and England striker has not only refused to sign a new contract but has also made it clear that he wants out and is unhappy at the club. This revelation was swiftly followed by Fergie giving a press conference and talking about Rooney’s lack of respect for the club and pinning the blame squarely on the temperamental player. Cristiano Ronaldo last year, Rooney this season, Giggs and Scholes – arguably two of United’s best players this season – surely reaching the end of their careers, a massive debt for the club, and indifferent form on the pitch all spells trouble for the Red Devils.

Yet again racism has reared its ugly head in Italian football, this time it was Cagliari’s fans’ crude attempt to put off Cameroon and Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto’o. The game was stopped after only three minutes when the referee brought the players off the pitch after racist chants from the Cagliari supporters. The game resumed soon after and thankfully the chanting stopped. Even better was the superb winning goal by Samuel Eto’o that silenced the home fans. Good decision from the referee, great response from Eto’o but ugly by those Italian supporters


disgruntled: unhappy, angry, dissatisfied

class: style, excellence

to want out: to want to leave, to desire a transfer from a club

to pin the blame on: to accuse someone, to blame someone, say someone is responsible for something

indifferent form: used to describe a team or player under achieving, not playing well; not terrible but not good

reared its ugly head: Has re-appeared, has returned

crude : Basic, low-level

chants: Football songs

resumed: Re-started, the game began again

superb: Fantastic, wonderful

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