Views #712 | Intermediate 5

Football in England

Phil talks about being a football fan and what happens on the day of a match.

Todd: Now, Phil, you're from England and you're a big football fan.
Phil: Yeah, very much. Definitely. Football's one of my main passions in life.
Todd: OK, I'm a huge American football fan, and I know American football there's a certain process when you go the game that happens on game day. Can you talk about what happens when you go watch a British match, like a Premiere League match? Like what's the routine from morning to night? Like if you're a fan?

Phil: If it's a home game then I guess I leave about two hours before the game. I arrive at the stadium and go the bar and have like a drink of beer before the game, and then I'll always wear my football kit: my shirt and my scarf; and then I'll go the game. I'll find my normal place in the stand, cause I always stand or sit in the same place. It's kind of tradition. It's like my routine, and then for about half-an-hour before the game, the stadium starts to fill up, the supporters start to make a lot of noise and they start to get behind the team and everyone... the adrenaline's flowing, and there's a few opposition supporters and it's generally kind of banter between the supporters whilst the players are warming up on the pitch.
Todd: Right, and then what happens like during the game? In British soccer you have a lot of songs, correct?
Phil: Yeah, there's a lot of songs. Generally they're either supporting the team or insulting the other team or local rivals.
Todd: Right, right. And like how do you know when to sing? Like somebody just busts out in song or do you have a leader or?
Phil: I've always wondered this. There's no designated leader but there's always a group that starts song or, there must be someone who does it, but I've never actually never know who or why, but it just seems that everyone spontaneously starts to sing at the same time and a certain song.
Todd: Now is it always the same songs, or do the team come up with new songs from time to time?
Phil: The team doesn't come up with any of them, the supporters do. Generally there's a set hard core group of songs for each team that you have and then there's occasionally specialty songs. If it's a local derby game against someone you really don't like, then there's specialty songs for that game, or a few new ones come up depending on events that have been happening, so maybe one of the players have been in the news recently. They'll be a song about the player or something.
Todd: That's cool. So you said "derby", that's your team?
Phil: Derby is the term when a local game... when you play like your rival team, we call it like a local derby in English football.
Todd: Oh, really?
Phil: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Todd: It's called a local derby.
Phil: Derby is also the name of the team, but that's just coincidence.
Todd: Oh, OK. So, derby means when you play your rival team?
Phil: Yeah, you play a local team, a team that's based near to you. It's called a derby game.
Todd: A derby game. And it's D-A-R-B-Y?
Phil: D-E.
Todd: Oh, so it's like derby. OK.
Phil: Yeah.
Todd: Got it. Phil: In English, we pronounce it derby, yeah.
Todd: Derby! OK, interesting. OK, sorry... Do you ever go the away games?
Phil: Yeah. Yeah, I used to travel quite a lot. I once traveled nine hours to an away game.
Todd: Wow!
Phil: And my team lost that day. And because we lost, we went down to the league below. I was not very happy on the way home.
Todd: What a terrible day.
Phil: Yeah, yeah. But we kind of knew we were going to lose because my team was very bad that year and the opposition was a very strong team so it's kind of everyone's attitude. We expected to lose, so we went there in a party spirit anyway so it wasn't so bad.
Todd: Well, cool. Thanks for talking about the Premiere League.
Phil: Anytime, I love football.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson



For about half-an-hour before the game, the stadium starts to fill up.

'Half-an-hour' is the same as 30 minutes in time.

Notice the following:

  1. I was over half-an-hour late for the film.
  2. The exam is only half-an-hour long.

get behind the team


They start to get behind the team.

When you 'get behind the team,' it means that you pledge your support to a particular sports team.

Notice the following:

  1. I think you should wear your team's colors to get behind the team.
  2. The crowd really got behind the team and pushed them to a win.

banter between the supporters


There's generally banter between the supporters whilst the players are warming up on the pitch.

The 'banter between the supporters' is the friendly fighting between fans of different teams.

Notice the following:

  1. The is lots of friendly banter between the teams.
  2. I think half of the fun of supporting a football team is the banter between the supporters.

designated leader


There's no designated leader but there's always a group that starts the song spontaneously.

The 'designated leader' is the person that has been appointed manager.

Notice the following:

  1. I was the designated leader of the group.
  2. I think when you have a team of people, you need a designated leader to make sure that everything runs smoothly.



Everyone spontaneously starts to sing at the same time and a certain song.

When something happens 'spontaneously,' it means that it is impromptu or begins without any planning.

Notice the following:

  1. I decided quite spontaneously that I wanted to go on holiday.
  2. The music began, and people started to dance spontaneously.

Vocabulary Quiz

half-an-hour • behind • banter
designated • spontaneously
  1. There is no leader on this team, but a few of us have kind of taken charge.
  2. He acts very , and you never know what he is going to do next.
  3. Now is the time when the team members need their fans to get them and motivate them to win.
  4. When our team plays them, there is always a lot of between the supporters.
  5. It takes about a to drive to my office from here.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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