Manchester City aren’t the only team to produce end of season excitement…
Difficulty Level: (1)→(2)→3
Important football (soccer) vocabulary is highlighted at the bottom of the page.
Watch the video first without reading the text so you practice your listening skills.
Think about this question when you watch the video for the first time: what factors made this match so exciting?
[afterwards read the text to check your understanding]
Background: It’s May 1989. This is the last match of the league season between Liverpool and Arsenal…
By half-time it was still nil-nil and and George was still thinking there would be chances to come. You know, it’s down to taking them, and, er, you can do this, and that’s what happened.
He said, “it’s all going according to plan, lads. All we need to do is get a goal, you know, whenever. And then, we’ve only got to get one more, so just make sure you keep a clean sheet.
[Television commentary:] Winterburn and Richardson behind it. Adams has made a darting little run in there… and Smith. And Arsenal have scored. The Liverpool players are surrounding the referee, asking him to speak to a linesman.
I’ve spoken to some of the Liverpool lads since; Steve Nicol and Ronnie Whelan, and, um, I always say, “well, what were you appealing about?”, and they say, “ well, we thought it was offside or you didn’t touch it. So, we just thought we’d try our luck, you know”. One of the most frequently asked questions that people ask me is, “did you touch it?”. And I always say, “yeah, I did, I got a good touch. It was just the fact that the, er, the flight of the ball didn’t change all that much. I just helped it on its way. It was quite tense when they surrounded the ref. And the ref went over to the linesman. And, you know, it’s quite intimidating, because you had the likes of Ronnie Whelan balling in their ear and trying to influence them. So, when the ref pointed to the centre circle, that was, you know, a great moment of relief.
[Television commentary:] Ronnie Whelan looking on there… the goal’s been given! And what a game we have now.
Onto Alan Smith. Ablett’s there with him. Merson…Richardson! A chance here… Thomas! …and Grobbalaar was able to grab it.
There the signals… get forward, get forward.
I think the great story from it is when Steve McMahon is putting one finger up, and I can remember that, and I’m sure the lads that played that night knew there was only one minute to go ‘we’ve lost it’. That for the lads… cor, when they scored that goal… I still watch it… I’m disappointed I wasn’t there, but I’m pleased for them lads that were actually ???? .
[Television commentary:] Arsenal come streaming forward now, in surely what will be there last attack. A good ball by Dixon, finding Smith, for Thomas, charging through the midfield! Thomas! It’s up for grabs now!!! Thomas!! Right at the end! An unbelievable climax to the league season!
to keep a clean sheet: a team keeps a clean sheet in a match when the other team doesn’t score any goals.
to appeal to the referee: to ‘ask’ the referee to make a decision, e.g. to give your team a penalty or free kick (here, to ask the referee NOT to give a goal for Arsenal)