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Football, also known as soccer, is an extremely popular sport in countries all over the world. You probably know a lot about football (maybe you play it yourself), but do you know how and where it all started?
Countryside football
Åpne bilde i et nytt vindu




  • Do you have a favourite English football team? Why is it your favourite? Write down as many English football expressions as you can think of and ask the student next to you what they mean.

The sport originated at British boarding schools some 200 years ago, and was used to keep the pupils occupied in their lunch-break and after school hours. While football, where the use of hands is not allowed, was popular at some schools, rugby gained popularity at others.

A Common Set of Rules

A problem soon arose. Since schools made their own sets of football rules, it was impossible to compete against teams from other schools. In order to make a common set of football rules, a group of enthusiasts established the Football Association. Soon a set of fixed rules became the norm for the whole country, and tournaments could be arranged. Football increased in popularity, first in the North, later throughout the rest of the country.

Manchester United

Wembley stadium. Photo.

The football season now lasts from August to April, with matches being played on Saturday afternoons. Recent years have been dominated by teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea. Manchester United alone has won the Premier League 13 times since it was established in 1992. In spite of recent financial troubles, transfer fees often reach tens of millions of pounds.

The British, being a cultural superpower, introduced football in other countries and today football is the national pastime in, for instance, most Latin-American countries. In 1969 a small war even broke out between El Salvador and Honduras due to the results of a football match.

Tasks and Activities


  1. In what connection did football originate?
  2. Why was it difficult for the different schools to play football against each other?
  3. What is one of the main differences between football and rugby?
  4. How did football become popular in other countries around the world?

Solution: 1. At British boarding schools. 2. There were no standard rules. 3. The ball can be picked up in rugby. 4. Because of the British Empire.


  1. How many Premier League teams have the name of their city in their name? Premier League Teams
  2. A lot of football clubs have nicknames. Which nickname belongs to which club: Manchester United, Newcastle United, West Ham United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur.

    • Spurs
    • Gunners
    • Reds
    • The Irons
    • Toffees
    • Magpies
    • Red Devils
  3. More nicknames:

  4. Which home ground belongs to which team?
    Teams: Newcastle, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Chelsea FC

    • White Hart Lane
    • Old Trafford
    • Anfield
    • Stamford Bridge
    • St James' Park
  5. Find and present facts and figures of the latest football transfers.
Solution Question 2
  • Manchester United: Red Devils
  • Newcastle United: Magpies
  • West Ham United: The Irons
  • Liverpool: Reds
  • Arsenal: Gunners
  • Everton: Toffees
  • Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs
Solution Question 3

Newcastle: St James

ManU: Old Trafford

Liverpool: Anfield

Tottenham Hotspur:White Hart Lane

Chelsea: Stamford Bridge


Choose one of the tasks below:
  1. Make a digital story or a poster about your favourite football player. Include biographical details such as date and place of birth, clubs, playing position and highlights in career.
  2. Make a digital story or a poster about the history of your favourite football club in the UK.
  3. Make a presentation of all the fantastic things you can do if you do not watch football all day long.
CC BY-SASkrevet av Knut Inge Skifjeld, Eli M. Huseby, Anne Scott Hagen og Engelsk for videregående (Vega).
Sist faglig oppdatert 31.01.2019


UK & Ireland