Episode 05

Tess and Ravi talk about football and hooligans in the UK and how things have changed. Adam is on holiday so we only have Rob this week.


Rob: Hello and welcome. It’s just me this week. Adam’s on holiday – lucky him. But don’t worry – he’ll be back next time. Now, thank you for writing with your stories about your first job. I loved them. I think they’re the best we’ve had so far. And it’s really interesting to find out more about you. And what an educated lot of people you are too. We’ve got dentists like Lella in Lebanon, and some teachers like Sirjoe and Angesca in Italy. And Ali Reza and TKazerooni in Iran are teachers too. And so many different stories as well. I liked Rasa’s story of using the first money she earned in Lithuania to go and see the sea. And Mac in Hong Kong gave his first salary to his mum. And do you know what, Mac? That’s exactly what I did too. So thanks again for your answers. I hope we hear as many interesting stories this time. Remember, you can write to us at the website: www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish­ – and on Facebook –­ look for Elementary podcasts. Now it’s time to listen to Tess and Ravi. They’re talking about something British, as usual. But this time, it’s not such good news.

Ravi: Hello again from me, Ravi.

Tess: And from me, Tess. We’re here again to talk about some of the things you think you know about Britain.

Ravi: Things like ‘drinking tea’ and ‘fish and chips’ – but not everything you think about Britain is nice and positive and today we’re going to talk about something lots of you mentioned – football hooligans.

Tess: You’re a football fan, Ravi. Are you a football hooligan?

Ravi: You know, Tess, people often ask me that – people from other countries, I mean.

Tess: You, a hooligan? I don’t think so.

Ravi: I know, I know. But people sometimes think that being a football fan in England means you must be a hooligan – fighting and causing trouble and stuff.

Tess: That’s a bit strange. Why do they think that?

Ravi: Well, there was a problem here – about thirty years ago – in the nineteen seventies and nineteen eighties there was a lot of trouble and fighting and stuff. There were a couple of really bad incidents that were in the news all over the world – that’s why people sometimes think – ‘Ah, English football – hooligans’. But for the last twenty years or so it really isn’t a problem.

Tess: So why do people still think that English football fans are hooligans? [laughs] I really can’t imagine anyone thinking of you as a football hooligan, Ravi.

Ravi: Alright, Tess, you’ve already said that. I guess when you’ve got a bad reputation – like English football fans – it’s difficult to change people’s minds.

Tess: So it isn’t dangerous to go to a football match?

Ravi: Come on, Tess, you know it isn’t. You should go to a game. There are lots of women and children at matches and the new football stadiums are great – comfortable seats, great views, good food – it’s nothing like it was twenty years ago. It’s a family thing these days.

Tess: But most fans at the stadium are men, aren’t they?

Ravi: Yeah, most of the fans are men but about twenty per cent are women.

Tess: How do you know that?

Ravi: I looked it up on the internet. More and more women are going to football matches. I sometimes take my niece.

Tess: Ah, that’s nice. How old is she?

Ravi: She’s nine. She’s really into football – loves it.

Tess: Ah. So there’s never any sort of crowd trouble or anything? Don’t they have a lot of police at football matches?

Ravi: Not really, not these days. I don’t think you can say there’s no trouble at all but not in the stadium – I always feel perfectly safe there. Why don’t you come to a match with me? I’ll try to get tickets for the game next Saturday. What do you say?

Tess: Well … yeah, OK, why not? I don’t know anything about football though.

Ravi: That’s OK.

Tess: And … well, what if people think you’re a hooligan, Ravi?

Ravi: Stop it.

Rob: So, what do you think? Did you think English football fans are hooligans? Like Ravi, I’m a football fan. And people often ask me if all football fans in England are hooligans. And of course, my answer is “They’re not”.

English football seems to be really popular all over the world. My team are Aston Villa and they’re probably not as famous as some other teams in England like Manchester United or Chelsea or Liverpool. How about football teams in your country? Do you support a team? Let us know which one. And tell us about football fans in your country too. What do they do?

And if you don’t like football – and I know a lot of people don’t – write and tell us why not. Remember you can write to us at www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish and on Facebook. Look for Elementary Podcasts.

Before I go, a quick word about some of the things Tess and Ravi talked about when they talked about football. Ravi talked about stadiums – the places where football matches are played. We talk about a football match between two teams. I’m sure you know more football words like score a goal, for example. In fact, the British Council has a website all about football and English. It’s called Premier Skills. I’ll give you the address for that. It’s www.britishcouncil.org/premierskills.

One more thing. Listen to this:

Man: More and more women are going to football matches. I sometimes take my niece.

Rob: 'More and more women.' 'More and more people.' Why are there two 'more's? Well, just because. We do this quite often in English. 'Lots and lots of people go to football matches. London is getting bigger and bigger. Prices seem to be going up and up.' It's quite nice, isn't it?

Well, that's it for this week. Remember to write to us via the LearnEnglish website, or Facebook. Adam and I will be back next time and we'll be here with Carolina. And the question is: will she have a new job? Find out next time. Bye!

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Language level

B1 English level (intermediate)

Submitted by Abo0od2022 on Sat, 04/06/2022 - 13:24


I lot lot love football spcifiic English much, concerning people hooligan they power all the much 😂

Submitted by iramnazt7abassum on Wed, 21/04/2021 - 15:38

I like any kind of sport but I have never been to a stadium and I haven't visited any national place of sport as well. I feel very proud and very happy when a team from my country has paid effort and won. Thank you all

Submitted by Sulaiman Alshammari on Mon, 22/03/2021 - 10:07

Hi i like football matches but not too much . my favorite team club is Liverpool .the fans extremely support their teams in saudia arabia every matches , although the climate very hot in summer they watch the match in stadium . i hope to see you next episode .

Submitted by Oksserg on Thu, 21/01/2021 - 22:17

I'm not a football fun. But I was a football player when I was a child and tеenager. I played from 5 years to 15 years old. Every day. I was one girl in a big team of boys, but only I could bit by left leg. So I was irreplaceable left striker. I live in Ukraine, so that my lovely football team was 'Dynamo' Kiev.

Submitted by Alan Singer on Sun, 03/01/2021 - 08:24

I'm not a football fan, but I really want to be. Many people love it. Then, You can talk with these guys and getting more fun. Also, football is a great culture to enjoy.

Submitted by jmajo on Sun, 27/12/2020 - 17:43

When I was younger, about 14 or 15 years old I used to like the football of my country, I used to go to the stadium to see the matches and support the "Nacional Club of Football" from Montevideo, but nowadays the level of quality is really bad and I don't support them any more, I don't use to go to the stadiums either but although the national clubs are not so good I try to see the national team every time they play. There are some hooligans in my country supporting the most important clubs but they're not so violent as they're in other countries, they sometimes hurt each other out of the stadiums though. I'd prefer to see Spanish football or English football instead, because of the greater quality and the technique they have, despite the Uruguayan teams are not so good, there are lots of Uruguayan players playing in the most important clubs all over the world like Manchester United and Atletico Madrid at the moment. I think I like football most than other sports because in my country we have a historical culture of football and almost every person here played at least once at some point of their youth, and nowadays most and most women are playing it, so it's a sport that everyone can play.

Submitted by nram.1983 on Fri, 27/11/2020 - 04:11

I am not a football fan, but I do follow some international matches. In india we have foot ball team, but not many fans following them, indians mostly following cricket than football.

Submitted by khaled___qq on Mon, 02/11/2020 - 21:05

I love english league and I encourage chelsea and the favorite player is drogba I hope I write it well that’s all see u next episode.

Submitted by Shimah90 on Tue, 27/10/2020 - 19:04

In my country, I support a team called Al Ittihad. I like it because it's strong and I was raised to love it. He has won more and more trophies and is always on top. but now Unfortunately, things have changed with his players and managers changing. Our football fans like competition and In a football match they use special songs for their team. Recently women have been allowed to attend the matches and I am happy about that

Submitted by Mohammedalbassami on Fri, 16/10/2020 - 17:52

Good evening everyone I fancy in playing football when I was a kid every day I played but now I have injuried in my knee so I need surgery otherwise I can't play. I suppose to do it next year. I support Oman national team. Also my city club team called Alrustaq team.

Submitted by Mazoon AL.Ghssani on Sun, 04/10/2020 - 11:21

Hi, I am not a fan for any team club. I don't like football at all, but if it's the team of my country and there is a prize of them then I will absolutely watching it.

Submitted by Mohammedalbassami on Fri, 16/10/2020 - 16:10

In reply to by Mazoon AL.Ghssani

Actually most of omani girls like you because still culture effects in that also there isn't satiable stadium for girls
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Submitted by Czar Aaron on Wed, 30/09/2020 - 15:30

Hi everybody! I came from Poland. When I had been little child, my uncle named me Pele ;)) Yes, football was a popular sport in Poland even in communism TV. Football is still popular now there. In Poland is many football clubs and many different football teams in different towns and cities. Example: Warsaw "Legia" and Krakow "Wisła", sometimes fans of these teams do not like each other. Hooligans of different football teams beats other hooligans of other football teams. But they have a stadium ban if were using violence. Sometimes they use smooggle flares during matches and the matches are stopping because a smoke is too big. Sometimes the hooligans show controversial posters during the matches like anti-Semitism, racism or homophobia. But of course many matches is calm and many families watch it at the stadiums and many football fans have good emotions for this sport.

Submitted by Ahmed 99 on Mon, 31/08/2020 - 22:23

football is the most popular sport in the world more than half world population consider themselves fans. I support FC Barcelona because they got 5 champions league and they have the best players in the world . the people in my country they support the teams like the others fans anywhere by They flutter the club flag and say specific words.
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Fri, 21/08/2020 - 20:18

Football is a universal sport activity and it's known for it popularity globally as we have football competition like World Cup. I support Enyimba team of Nigeria. I supported them because they had efficient management and technicalities that enhances their performances. They supported their team by watching matches and buying tickets. In a football matches two teams play one another, and the one with the highest goal win the match as it's being supervised by a referee and watched by crowds and fans.

Submitted by valdez on Sat, 18/07/2020 - 15:44

Hello everyone, I'm live in Brazil. Football is very important here. I'm a Flamengo fan , but i don't understand much about it.

Submitted by Melchorita2001 on Tue, 02/06/2020 - 22:07

Regards to everybody. I am not a football fan. but I would see it if I was with somefriend that I love too much.I used to watch football with my family when I was a child, but now I am into my own thing.

Submitted by Leonardo Lisboa on Thu, 28/05/2020 - 08:19

Hi everyone, I'm Brazilian and here we call this game "Futebol". My football team is São paulo futebol clube, it is the bigest club of the country and I love him. it has 5 brazilian championships.

Submitted by Abu Nahayan on Wed, 06/05/2020 - 18:04

Hi everybody I like my teem which his name AL NASSER Club in Riyadh, we don't have hooligans fans in Saudi Arabia, maybe because we Muslims country & our culture against these things.

Submitted by Bruno2020 on Wed, 22/04/2020 - 16:18

Which team do you support? Why? What do football fans do in your country? What happens at football matches?My football team here in Brazil is Atletico Mineiro.Well,we are not winings many matches but we will get there. The football is the main and most popular sport in Brazil.

Submitted by clauvera2016 on Wed, 08/04/2020 - 10:59

Hi ! I'm back... Please, could you check the transcript ? A final part of it (that with the repetitive words) misses. I don't know if it's a problem at my computer or this final part really misses. Thank you very much !

Hello clauvera2016

I'm sorry for the confusion. Could you please tell us the time code (for example, 9:36) where it seems to be different?

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by clauvera2016 on Wed, 08/04/2020 - 10:50

Hi there ! I never liked football matches. Maybe because I never watched a game to the end or because no one in my family don't watch a football match too often. I find it very boring and noisy...

Submitted by Israa Moha on Sun, 23/02/2020 - 19:00

I don't prefer to watch football matches, but if it occurs I feel boring. It is really boredom. When my brothers watching match they make noise and troubles. I hate noise in all its form.

Submitted by msoriano on Fri, 06/12/2019 - 18:26

I am a fan of pumas team. They play in de C.U stadium each sunday. I try to go to stadium frecuetly to suppor them. When i was seventeen year old i decided to became a fan of pumas because i studied in UNAM, so i feel identify whith them. I enjoy each match with my friend, i like singing their anthem, it is beautiful but not all is good sometimes the hooligans are agressive whith fanatics of rivals and they get drunk and drugs.

Submitted by Abdo sleem on Sat, 23/11/2019 - 11:27

i never watched any matches before in stadium i prefer to play football as irregular but sometime i watch important matches on tv i support egyption team.
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Submitted by kamicounciler on Tue, 22/10/2019 - 22:49

I love Sepidrood Football team,that s the oldest football team of our city, rasht. i am a fan of perspolis football team too,they are one of the most famous football teams in iran.footbal is very popular in iran and lots of people go to stadiums to watch the matches,also women are becoming football fan in iran but they dont have legal rights to enter the stadiums,last month a girl called "dokhtare aabi" fired herslef because the court had sentenced her to jail for her attempt to enter an stadium.that was so sad.after that and as FIFA had its pressure on iran to let women enter stadiums,finally women could watch their national footbal team friendlly match againts kamboj,although no legal right officially has been registered to let women enter stadiums.
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Submitted by Sergey Sh on Tue, 24/09/2019 - 07:35

I can’t say I’m a football fan but time by time, find it enough interesting to watch some match where there are many exciting moments with talented players. It turned out that I had never have any interest in football before I introduced to university and began living at its hostel. At the storey where I lived there were students, most part of them consisted of only football fans. That’s more than a half of all storey. Every time when it was some big match on TV, everybody met to watch it together. Gradually it made me wonder of this kind of sport more and more. You know, when you communicate with people who know so much in some craft you become to know different subtleties making you being interested. One of my best friend and fellow student was hooked on football and told me that every team has its own tactics and something interesting from bio of famous players and stuff. I wasn’t present on matches where at the stadium were dangerous hooligans causing problems, but unfortunately I had to watch these situations on national TV news here in Russia.

Submitted by carlosjprieto on Fri, 20/09/2019 - 12:01

Hello. I dont like football because when i was children never played football with my father or friends. My father dont like football and my mom is the same. In colombia more and more people like football . Some time there are some matches that are dangerous because sometime there are hooligans

Submitted by Andrew Utkin on Fri, 23/08/2019 - 13:28

Hi everyone. I am fond of football and my brother as well. I live in Russia but I do not like Russian football at all. I`d rather support German teams. My favorite is called "Hamburg SV".
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Submitted by Duy Nguyen on Tue, 25/06/2019 - 18:22

Hello everyone, I'm Duy and I'm from Vietnam. Most of people just watch football matches in my country. I know this sport is well-known by name King of sport but personally I think it's a little unfair to the other sport such as volleyball, swimming, basketball...I feel football is a bit of violent though. I'm not a football fan but I sometimes cheer with the crowd when Vietnam's football team win in matches. The only thing is some football fans have a low consciousness. They scream and use bottles to make noise sounds when their team win and they can break anything when their team lose. The illegally motoring races are the typical thing after the matches. These days, they down to streets to courage their team so the traffic jams are getting more and more regular. I hope they will celebrate the victory in a more civilized manner.
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Submitted by Arwa_amq on Sun, 16/06/2019 - 11:37

I don’t like football at all and i don’t know why it’s just looks boring

Submitted by Yury Taborsky on Wed, 08/05/2019 - 22:04

I do not like football in our country because they cannot play very well.

Submitted by parisaach on Mon, 29/04/2019 - 10:42

In my country there are many football teams and all of them has special fans, but we have two popular football team which has the most fans in the country and fan of these team always want to prove their team is the best, and mock the other team. But fans of one of these teams which is named "Perspolis" are really hooligen. they always fight and break everything when they lose .

Submitted by Patricia Zapata on Thu, 11/04/2019 - 21:33

My favorite team is the team of my country, Colombia, and when they play and they win, the fans go out on the streets to celebrate and to dance all together. It's for me beautifull, because you can see every street whith the Colombia flag and you can listening and dancing the colombian music that is very cheerfull and autoctone.
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Submitted by Ethel on Thu, 21/03/2019 - 11:44

I do not like football, really. In my country almost all people are very fond of football. It is the most popular sport. When there is an important game (it is never for me, I am sorry), the whole country is paralyzed. I hate that. The emergency services do not even respond. Fans of the winning team make noise and trash for days, and it is impossible to talk about another topic.

Submitted by chunya on Fri, 08/03/2019 - 11:01

I don't like football. But I have friends who are football fans. The whole family - husband, wife and tho sons (9 and 14 yaears old) - like football and watch all interesting matches. Moreover, the boys train in the kids football team. Fortunately, they are jast the football fans, not a hooligans )))
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Submitted by Ndayishimiye on Sat, 09/02/2019 - 14:34

As many young people and olds I like football as my first preference sport. In my country football is the most popular game with a lot of fans. we have two senior football clubs, they are rivers. Every match between them requires a big number of security offices to avoid conflicts and fight among supports on both sides where one fan group call themselves hooligans. But generally at the football match people enjoy and relax despite the lack of modern infrastructures as pitches and stadiums

Submitted by nikoslado on Sat, 26/01/2019 - 18:24

Hello teachers and all of you helping and encouraging us to learn English. You' re all a really irreplaceable team, with a lot of knowledge, neccessary patience and, above all, gentle and communicative at this serious task.Thanks a lot... From my childwood I've loved football and I've been fun of Olympiacos team. But,I

Submitted by Nancy Nguyen on Sun, 09/12/2018 - 13:47

I like football. Every 4 years I always expect the World championship. In World cup 2018, my favorite team was France and I supported Mbappé who was my favorite player. In Vietnam, we also have some crazy football fans. They scream, angry or even throw the bottle in the pitch when their football team loses. With the tournaments in the area, when Vietnam team win, the people go to the street, sing and wave the flag to cheer and share together. I just watch the matches on TV and I hope someday I will go to the stadium to support my team.

Submitted by Zaur on Mon, 03/12/2018 - 19:47

Very interesting theme. I'm not a big football fan, but I have a friend, who really is. And he is a football hooligan. Such people has there own ideology, and sometimes it's difficult to understand them. That's why I don't speak about Russian football with him. But I like watching the World Championship, because there I can see a really good football. This year it took place in Russia. The organisation was on a very high level. The fans from all over the world visited several our cities, where matches were. And there was no any hassle, the fans were very friendly! My opinion is that no game is worth fighting between fans of opposite teams. It's just a game. And the strongest wins!)

Submitted by efec7 on Tue, 27/11/2018 - 19:33

I'm a big fan of football! in mexico football is the most popular sport. There are 4 great teams: Chivas, America, Pumas and Cruz Azul, but my favorite team are Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz, they don't do it quite well but it is the team of my state so, I have to be with them. We live football with lot of passion like all the latin american people. I don't go to the matches often but I watch the games on TV when I can.
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Submitted by Oksi1001 on Thu, 22/11/2018 - 21:17

I really like football,despite being a girl.I'm not keen on Russions championchip,but support national team on the tournaments of course. Also i support Spain and Argentina.In spite of this fact my favorite team is Barcelona. I've been watching spainish championship and the best tournament-ChampionsLeague. I really admire of beautiful and colorful play footballers,especially Leo Messi.Also i like other players of Barca-Suarez,Pique and legendary Xavi,Iniesta,Villa,Ronaldinho and so on.In other clubs i can highlite Grizmann,Neymar,although,i'll very long list..) As to football fans they are not hooligans in my city,difinately.Mayby in the whole our country they are,but most of them-adequate fans.

Submitted by Tomoaki Hachiya on Tue, 20/11/2018 - 21:56

This time, the topic was on football, but I'm afraid I'm not interested in any sports including football, and luckily there aren't any hooligans in Japan. Young people sometimes go violent, including me when I was young, they have a lot of energy and complaints at the same time, so it can't be helped to some extent. I accept their violent behaviour since I was violent sometimes when I was in my twenties. My present concern is language studying including English (of course), Arabic, French, and Chinese. And also, I used to be a Japanese teacher for foreigners after getting enough training to teach my native language Japanese. It was a good experience to me, because I was able to understand my own language from the point of view from foreigners, and I know our language is not so easy to master for foreigners. English is simple and easy to learn after all....

Submitted by guigomar on Tue, 13/11/2018 - 13:45

In my country Chile, the football is the most popular sport. The national selection team is named “La Roja”, because they use a red shirt for play. When the Roja play, all the activities in the country are stopped and the fans follow the game by TV. All the weekends, there are football games in the stadiums. The football fans are many appassionate, and when a player get a goal, the fans jump and shout of joy.
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Submitted by Sergey Sh on Wed, 07/11/2018 - 03:51

Hi! My name is Sergey, I’m from Russia. I don’t consider myself as football fan. But I can watch some separate global matches, though. I’m interested to see how technically players can play. The most interesting players to see are usually some big and famous stars like Messi, Ronaldo and so on. That’s especially cool to see how they make their goals. Football ratings, leagues, championships, interviews are not for me. When I used to study at the university, one of my classmate was a crazy football fan. He can answer whatever you ask him about football. All player’s names, their career’s progresses, dates of all important matches and stuff. When he saw some live translation of match on TV he was really excited and he worried a lot. He could throw away everything to go watching match, no way missed it. What about me, I wouldn’t say that I’m a fan of other kind of sport despite football. I’m not so interested by that stuff. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t do any physical activity. At the school I used to go swimming and to the gym. Nowadays I like to ride my mountain bike just like Tess does. Sometimes a little joggling, walking out on fresh air and camping as well.

Submitted by Mahougbe on Tue, 06/11/2018 - 13:31

I don't like football. Being a fan or even watching a footballmatch is a time waisting for me. I can take that time to do something else which is more beneficial, like reading books, helping my wife in the kitchen, playing with my child, planning for my work, etc.
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Submitted by Kukul on Wed, 17/10/2018 - 19:56

Hi I am a girl and football is not in my style. Because in my country it hasn't legated for women to go to stadium for a long time , I've never gone to. There are some several teams in my country but I don't support any team as I pointed I don't like this game :) thank you very much for your great courses
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Submitted by Haaadi on Tue, 09/10/2018 - 09:36

hello guys,im hadi from iran. my favorite team is Esteghlal, the blue team, i see the matches on tv and some times i go to stadium, but there is a a bad problem, in Forty recent years, womans cant go to stadium. some girls using make up and Turn into boy to watch the matchs. its very crazy on all over the world, i hope this situation ends one day and we'll be free. my other favorite tean is juventus. thanks alot bye

Submitted by jonancbr on Tue, 02/10/2018 - 16:40

I like the football, mainly the country selection, the world cup. I´m not fan of local team, but I prefer support one of the three in my city. the red team; I always have seen the matches in tv, never i was in a stadium for it. I will go soon.