2 = versions
3 = country
4 = transport
5 = social
6 = funding
7 = competitions
8 = professional
Today, football is a key feature of school children’s day-to-day education, particularly for boys. With the help of football associations, all schools in the UK are boasting their own football teams. 1 This mainly comes as a result of pressure put on schools and the government by concerned parents, who felt that football education taught their children valuable lessons and indeed vital life skills, such as teamwork and the drive to succeed. Nowadays, many of the UK’s top football clubs provide training facilities and outreach programmes in an attempt to educate the nation’s aspiring youths.
As I previously mentioned, 2 it was only during the 19th century that football in its uniform concept truly began to emerge, with footballers previously playing according to their own versions of the rules. However, it was not unitl the early 20th century that different players actually began to play according to these standardised rules. Prior to the 19th century, football was played by all the major English public schools including the likes of Eton College, Winchester College, and Harrow. In 1848 there was a meeting at Cambridge University in an attempt to lay down the laws of football. Present at the meeting were representatives of each of these major public schools, whom each brought a copy of the rules enforced by their own individual school’s rules of football. 3 The result of the meeting was what is now known as the ‘Cambridge Rules’, thereby uniting the rules from across the country into one simple document. However, the Cambridge Rules were not liked by all, and a new set of rules, ‘Thring’s Rules’ compounded in the book ‘The Simplest Game’ became common place among dissenters. 4 Across the country, improvements in infrastructure and public transport had a knock on effect of dramatically increasing attendance to football games. 5 Football quickly became a social event where spectators would meet friends, drink tea and chat about the good old days. As football became more and more popular, it was decided that more money should be invested in maintaining the quality of pitches amongst other things, and there was even talk of installing seating for spectators. However, the question of who was to foot the bill quickly became a divisive issue, with many believing that the government should fund football’s development as a national sport. 6 But in the end, the onus fell upon Britain’s local and regional football clubs for the funding and development of the football association. 7 They became responsible for the upkeep of football grounds, began to pay their best players a small salary, and organised competitions against other local and regional teams. And there began England’s Football Association, or the FA, as we know it in its current form, the governing body of football in England. As the FA continued to grow and accumulate greater wealth, it was able to attract more and more talented young men from across the country, 8 before finally accepting professional talent in the early 20th century. Today, football is played at a professional level all over the world. Millions of people regularly go to football stadiums to follow their favourite teams, while billions more watch the game on television or on the Internet…
It is very difficult to write a word if you don’t know what it means. For example, many students struggle with question 2 (versions) and question 6 (funding) because they don’t know what these words mean.
One of the most effective ways of increasing your listening score is to increase your ‘passive vocabulary’. ‘Passive vocabulary’ is the vocabulary that you know and understand, but don’t use. (‘Active vocabulary’ is the vocabulary that you use in your speaking and writing). Increasing passive vocabulary comes from being exposed to lots of English over time. Some effective ways to increase it are by watching English television and YouTube videos, reading for fun, and listening to podcasts and the radio. You don’t need to write down all of the words you don’t understand: you will increase your passive vocabulary through exposure. Just find content that you find entertaining and your vocabulary will increase naturally.