Podcast 50 - Leicester Special
Rich and Jack talk about all things Leicester and Leicester City in our 50th Premier Skills English Podcast - a Leicester special. We celebrate one of the biggest surprises in football history by talking about the city, the manager and the players. We also discuss different adjectives that we could use to describe the Foxes' amazing achievement. The language focus is on the past perfect.
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some vocabulary that might be new for you. Try the activity below to see how much you understand:
"Claudio Ranieri was the favourite to be the first manager to lose his job!"
"Leicester’s chance of winning the league at the start of the season was 5,000-1."
Leicester City players celebrating with the Premier League trophy.
Language - Past Perfect
In the podcast, Jack and Rich used a few examples of the past perfect. When we talk about something that happened in the past we sometimes want to refer back to something that happened before that time. We can use the past perfect tense (had + past participle) to do this. Take a look at these examples from the podcast:
"Leicester City had never won the Premier League before this season. In fact, they hadn’t ever won a top division title."
"The most goals Riyad Mahrez had ever scored before this season was five, when he played in the French second division."
Look at these two sentences.
- In 2012/13, Riyad Mahrez scored five goals in the French second division.
- In 2015/16, Riyad Mahrez scored 17 goals for Leicester City.
Both actions happened in the past so we use the past simple tense. But look at how we can combine the sentences.
- Riyad Mahrez scored 17 goals for Leicester City in 2015/16; the most he had ever scored before was in 2012/13, in the French second division.
We use the past perfect (had scored) to show the action happened before another action in the past (Mahrez scored 17 goals for Leicester.)
Look at some more examples of the past perfect.
- Andy King scored for Leicester last weekend. It was his first goal for 6 months because he had been out injured.
- Kasper Schmeichel won the Premier League with Leicester last week. That's amazing because his dad (Peter Schmeichel) had won it with Manchester Utd ten years earlier.
The past perfect is used in this examples because Peter Schmeichel won the Premier League before Kasper Schmeichel. It refers to an earlier past.
If you want to know more about the past perfect, have a go at the activity below, then, take a look at our LearnEnglish website for more activities and advice.
Wes Morgan, the Leicester captain, kissing the Premier League trophy.
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast.
Jack: Hi everyone. I’m Jack and every week we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: This week, the podcast is going to be a little bit different because we’re going to talk about the new Premier League Champions - Leicester City and tell you a bit more about the club, the city and it’s history.
Jack: This week, we’re focusing on vocabulary, using adjectives to describe Leicester’s win and we’ll take a look at the past perfect tense.
Jack: And we’ve also got a new feature on the Premier Skills English website. You can now do courses. And our first Football English course is Leicester City - Champions of England. The course will take 4 weeks to complete.
Rich: You can start the course by clicking on the link on the side of this page. Each week we will have different things for you to do all connected to this season’s Premier League Champions and improving your English skills. There will be things to listen to and things to read. You will find out more about Leicester City, the players and the city of Leicester.
Jack: But, most importantly, there will be lots of questions for you to discuss together. We want the course to be a place where you discuss things about Leicester but also about your English learning and grammar and vocabulary. Rich and I will be online to discuss football and English, we can correct your English or you can ask for help on specific topics. It’s up to you.
Rich: We know that all of you have different levels of English. It would be great to see you giving advice, and correcting each other’s English as well as talking about football together. We have learners from all over the world on the website and it would be great for all of you to interact on this course.
Jack: You can find the course on the side of this podcast page on Premier Skills English. If you have any problems or questions about joining the course, leave a comment below or send us an email at PremierSkills@britishcouncil.org.
Rich: Or you can use the contact us link at the bottom of the page. Right, let’s get on with this week’s podcast.
Rich: We had a new football phrase for you to guess last week. It was a difficult one but as usual there were lots of guesses.
Jack: Well done to Kwesimanifest from Ghana, Pavlo from Ukraine, HassanRaja447 from Pakistan, and Haydi from Tunisia. You were the only ones to correctly guess last week’s football phrase.
Rich: The answer was cracker. Sunderland’s Whabi Khazri from Tunisia scored a cracker against Chelsea last weekend.
Jack: Yes, it was a cracking goal and Sunderland have a good chance of avoiding relegation after beating the Blues 3-2.
Rich: A cracker is just one way you can describe a fantastic goal from long range. Other similar ways to describe long range goals are a screamer, a stunner, a bullet, or a rocket. I’m sure there are more too. I just can’t think of any at the moment.
Jack: We’ve already had a few comments about Leicester City’s amazing Premier League triumph.
Rich: Triumph that’s a good word. It’s a noun that we use to describe a great success, achievement or victory.
Jack: Elghoul from Algeria said that he still can’t believe that Leicester’s won the Premier League. Aragorn1986 from Montenegro said that the win was terrific and makes everyone believe in their dreams. SalvaGH from Spain thought the same but Kwesimanifest reminds us that it’s not all about dreams or surprises. He says Leicester deserve the title because they’ve had the best tactics.
Rich: In the main section of this week’s podcast, we’re going to talk more about the new Champions of England: Leicester City.Latest news
Jack: I think we should start with the pronunciation because lots of people are finding it very difficult.
Rich: The problem is that the spelling and pronunciation of Leicester are very different. Leicester sounds similar to jester or pester with /le/ at the beginning so it becomes Leicester.
Jack: It’s a bit like the second part of the words in semester or trimester or even Manchester.
Rich: There are lots of towns in England that end in this sound -cester and it’s common for the spelling to be very different to how it’s pronounced. A lot of these towns are in the same area of England. There’s Cirencester, Gloucester, and Worcester - there’s a famous sauce that comes from Worcester - it’s called Worcestershire sauce.
Jack: Worcestershire sauce is great. I put it in everything. It goes really well with cheese and meat.
Rich: Right that’s the pronunciation. So what about the city, what do we know about it?
Jack: Leicester is in the middle of England and it’s quite a small city. About 300,000 people live there. It’s one of the most multicultural cities in the UK. Leicester has 57 churches, 55 mosques, 18 Hindu Temples, 9 Sikh gurdwaras, 2 synagogues, 2 Buddhist centres and 1 Jain centre.
Rich: About half of school students in Leicester speak English as an additional language and there are over 70 different languages spoken in schools in Leicester.
Jack: 16% of people in Leicester speak Gujarati and there are also large groups of people who speak Polish, Punjabi, Somali and Urdu.
Rich: The Leicester team is also really multicultural. There’s Shinji Okazaki from Japan, Kasper Schmeichel from Denmark, Riyad Mahrez from Algeria, Leonardo Ulloa from Argentina and even the captain Wes Morgan plays for Jamaica but he was actually born in Nottingham!
Jack: What do you think, Rich? How have Leicester won the Premier League title this season?
Rich: I’m not sure. In our predictions at the beginning of the season, I said that they would finish in 17th place. At least I didn’t predict them to be relegated. I read an article the other day that said about 80% of football journalists predicted Leicester to be relegated this season and last August Claudio Ranieri was the favourite to be the first manager to lose his job!
Jack: The favourite to be the first manager to lose his job ... that’s an interesting phrase. Can you explain it?
Rich: Well, the favourite is the person or team that most people think will win a competition. In this case, the ‘competition’ was being fired or sacked from their job! At the beginning of last season, Chelsea were the favourites to win the Premier League and Leicester were one of the favourites to be relegated.
Jack: At the beginning of the season you wrote that under Claudio Ranieri Leicester would play some high quality football. And it was very high quality, higher than anybody expected. So do you think it’s the manager that won the title or the players?
Rich: I think it’s a mixture of many things. Ranieri has been wonderful and very clever both with his tactics and keeping the pressure off his players.
Jack: What do you mean?
Rich: It wasn’t until April that Ranieri finally said that Leicester had a chance of winning the title. It was always, first we need to avoid relegation, then we need to finish in the top half, then to finish in the European places. He was always saying that the other clubs were the favourites.
Jack: It’s great to see an underdog win.
Rich: In football, an underdog is a team that has little chance of winning. Leicester are probably the biggest underdogs to have ever won a major sports trophy. They had never won the Premier League before. In fact, they hadn’t ever won a top division title. Only the German defender, Robert Huth, had won the Premier League before.
Jack: Leicester’s chance of winning the league at the start of the season was 5,000-1. There was more chance of Elvis Presley being found alive or the Loch Ness Monster being discovered. The chance of David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister taking over as Aston Villa’s manager was only 2000-1.
Rich: Yeah, an amazing if unexpected achievement. You said that the chance of Leicester winning was 5,000-1. These numbers are called odds and they come from bookmakers. Bookmakers are businesses where people gamble money on sports.
Jack: Are you a gambler, Rich?
Rich: No, you’ve seen my predictions.
Jack: We’ve spoken about the manager, Claudio Ranieri. What about the players? Who have been the standout performers?
Rich: At the start of the season, there were no superstars in this team so I have to say that it was a team performance and a result of very hardwork and teamwork.
Jack: Yes, but there are a few stars in the team now. What about Riyad Mahrez? What a player!
Rich: He’s brilliant! He’s scored 17 goals and got 11 assists this season and played a part in more goals than any other Premier League player. The most he had ever scored before this season was five, when he was playing in the French second division.
Jack: But there are others too. What about Jamie Vardy? He might finish the season as the Premier League’s top scorer.
Rich: Many people have heard the Vardy story. He was working in a factory five years ago and only played his first professional match in 2012 when he was 25, which is quite old for a footballer.
Jack: And what’s the phrase that Leicester fans have been using all season.
Rich: Jamie Vardy is having a party.
Jack: And last week it came true, too. Vardy invited all the player’s to his house to watch Tottenham against Chelsea when a 2-2 draw meant that Leicester won the Premier League.
Rich: But there are other players too. Shinji Okazaki is unbelievable. He works so hard for the team. And N’Golo Kante, too. I heard a joke the other day that said 70% of the planet is covered by water, the rest by N’Golo Kante.
Jack: Leicester’s most famous fan, Gary Lineker, said ‘If Earth was ever threatened by an asteroid, I’m pretty sure that N’Golo Kante would intercept it.’
Rich: All of the players have a story to tell. They’ve worked so hard as individuals and a team and of course Leicester’s win has shown all clubs that anybody can win the title not just the big players and the big clubs.
Jack: So, if you had to choose three words to describe Leicester’s season. Which would you choose?
Rich: I’d go for unexpected, thrilling and determination. Leicester City’s win was so, so unexpected. Nobody thought that it could happen. Riyad Mahrez’s performances for Leicester have been thrilling, so exciting to watch. And all Leicester’s players have shown unbelievable determination, especially the defence, it was difficult but they continued defending and defending and it has given them a fantastic prize. What about you, Jack? What would your three words be?
Jack: I’d go for extraordinary, inspiring and emotional. Extraordinary because the story is so hard to believe and very unusual in a good way, of course. Inspiring because I think other players and clubs will be inspired and want to achieve the same as Leicester. And emotional because of Claudio Ranieri - the Leicester manager. His tears showed how important it was to him and all Leicester fans and when he introduced Andrea Bocelli to sing before their last match the emotion and the atmosphere in the stadium was unbelievable.
Rich: That brings us to this week’s questions. Question 1: Which three words would you use to describe Leicester City winning the Premier League? Why did you choose these words?
Jack: Question 2: It was a big surprise that Leicester City won the Premier League because, they had never won a top division title. Can you describe something that was really surprising and use the past perfect to say why it was so surprising?
Rich: Question 3: The city of Leicester and Leicester City football club are truly multicultural. What is the most multicultural city you have visited? What are the advantages of living in a multicultural city?
Jack: If you want to learn more about Leicester City, the players and the club, and learn more football English, then sign up for our new course: Leicester City: Champions of England.
Rich: And remember, if you want us to correct your comments just write ‘correct me’ at the beginning of your message.
Rich: Right, do you have a new football phrase for our listeners to guess, Jack?
Jack: Yes, I do. This week’s football phrase is topical because it’s what Leicester City did after the match against Everton last weekend. The phrase is ‘** **** *** ******’. It means to win a competition but more literally it means for a player to hold or raise the thing you have won above their head and show it to the fans. After the match, Leicester City were given their Premier League medals and they ****** *** ******.
Rich: It was amazing to see. Wes Morgan and Claudio Ranieri did it together and you could see the emotion on their faces.
Jack: Have you got a prediction for us this week, Rich?
Rich: Yes, I have. The title has been decided and maybe we will already know the three teams that will be relegated this season. But there is still one thing that will be decided this weekend and that’s who will be playing in the Champions League next season. Manchester Utd could take the last Champions League spot away from their city rivals. If Utd beat West Ham and Swansea they will finish fourth. Utd have not been in the top four for months but they could take it on the last day of the season. They have a difficult game against West Ham but they should beat Swansea who don’t have anything but pride to play for. I think they will win easily but will it be enough? Final score: Swansea City 0-2 Manchester Utd
Jack: I think City will be in the Champions League again next season.
Rich: Remember! If you want to sign up for our new football English course about Leicester City, just click the link on the side of this page.
Jack: Right, anyway that’s it for today - we’ve run out of time! Thanks for listening. And don’t forget to write your answers to our questions, your predictions and anything you want to say about the website or football English in the comments below.
Rich: Don’t forget if you sign in, you can score points to see if you can get your club, your country and your name to the top of our leaderboard.
Jack: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
What do you think?
In this week’s podcast, we spoke about the word 'nutmeg' and dependent prepositions. Can you try to use some dependent prepsitions in your answers to these questions.
What three words word you use to describe Leicester City winning the Premier League? Why did you choose these words?
It was a big surprise that Leicester City won the Premier League because, they had never won a top division title. Can you describe something that was really surprising and use the past perfect to say why it was so surprising?
Leicester and Leicester City is truly multicultural. What is the most multicultural city you have visited? What are the advantages of living in a multicultural city?
Rich predicts that Manchester Utd will beat Swansea 2-0 this weekend. Do you agree? Do you think they will qualify for the Champions League?