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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Atletico, UEFA and West Ham ‘Fans’

In this week’s review section we look back at some of the big stories from the world of football to help learners of English improve their vocabulary. This week we congratulate Atletico Madrid and look ahead to the Madrid derby,wonder why UEFA continue coming up with crazy ideas and are saddened by some anti-Semitic chants. You can find explanations of key vocabulary in bold below.

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Good for Atletico Madrid who go in to this weekends derby against real Madrid eight points clear of their rivals. Atletico are hoping to cement their place in second place, three points behind title favourites, Barcelona. Atletico go into the derby with a formidable run of form – nine wins out of ten and with their star striker, Falcao, on fire, Los Colchoneros will be hoping for their first victory over Real since 1999.


A crazy idea from UEFA to increase the Champions League teams from 32 to 64 by combining it with the Europa League. This seems another step closer to a European League, something many of the big clubs’ owners have wanted for a long time. While administrators, club owners and TV companies look to expand competitions to squeeze as much money out of them as possible, fans look back, perhaps with rose-tinted glasses, to the time when competitions were smaller but more dramatic and arguably the winners fully deserved their titles a champions.


The English game suffered another embarrassing racist incident. West Ham fans  were heard chanting ugly anti-Semitic chants aimed at their London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, at White Hart Lane. West Ham fans also made Nazi-salutes. While Spurs have traditionally been associated with the large north London Jewish community, it is fair to say that other London clubs have significant numbers of Jewish supporters. West Ham themselves have a Jewish owner, David Gold, and a Jewish player, Yossi Benayoun. Ugly from a small minority of West Ham fans.


cement (their) place: make very secure; emphasise their position

form: recent results; recent history

on fire: scoring goals; being very effective; dazzling form

Los Colchoneros: Atletico Madrid’s knickname

squeeze money out of: make as much money as possible

(look through) rose tinted glasses: be nostalgic; remember the past fondly

chant: shout; sing slogans from the terraces

White Hart Lane: Tottenham Hotspur’s home ground

Spurs: Tottenham Hotspur’s knickname


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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