Weekly Football Phrase: to Poach

You can poach an egg, but what does poach a player mean? Check out the latest Weekly English for Football phrase from languagecaster.com

poachThis week, languagecaster.com introduces the English for football phrase ‘to poach’. You can understand more about this phrase by reading the transcript below. You can also find many more examples of soccer vocabulary by going to our football cliches page here and our huge football glossary here.
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This week, we look at the verb to ‘to poach‘. The end of the European season is here and it is now traditionally a time for buying and selling players. While some clubs want to offload unwanted players, others are looking to strengthen their squad. When talking about buying a player, phrases like ‘bring in’, ‘secure the move of’, and ‘sign’ are used. But sometimes a player is persuaded to move from Club A to Club B against Club A’s wishes; they don’t want to sell hi,m but the buyer persuades the player to move – the buyer poaches the player. To poach means to illegally trap or kill animals from someone else’s land. To poach a player in football means to buy them in a secretive, somehow dishonest way – to steal them. Many Everton fans are worried that new Manchester United manager, David Moyes, their ex-manager, will try and poach some of their stars, especially Fellini and sign them for United. To poach.

See also poacher – a special kind of goal scorer.

Check out more football phrases by visiting our huge glossary page, where you can find hundreds of words, phrases and cliches connected to the world of football. If there is a phrase you need explaining send us a comment or email and we will try to explain it for you.

For more on this topic check out the Language of Transfers.


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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