What means "take up the pools"?

In the song "Liverpoolstreet station" (or "There's a girl that I love") I found the idiom "take up the pools" (in the 2nd part). Does anyone of you know that idiom and can explain it to me?

I am a German native speaker doing already the reverse course and I do not expect anyone in the German->English course to know this idiom.

Thank you all.

March 17, 2018


It's not a set phrase. I looked at the lyric and it means 'start doing the football pools' - before we had a national lottery, people (usually working class men) dreaming of winning a fortune would bet a little money on the outcome football matches via a system called the football pools. You don't hear of it so much since the lottery began but it used to be very popular. In the context of your song, it represents a very remote and unrealistic hope of becoming wealthy.

If I look at the Wikipedia Football Pools page and switch to German Wikipedia, I get this.

In English, we 'take up' a habit or a hobby when we begin to do it regularly.

March 17, 2018

i don't know this phrase, but I wonder whether it's anything to do with the football pools? (a game that used to be very popular before the lottery) If so, it suggests that the singer needs to win money.

March 17, 2018

Thank you! So it has nothing to do with swimming pools. :-)

I think betting about sports (especially football) is still popular in Germany.

March 17, 2018

It's pool in the sense of pooled resources, something collected together. (you have to go a long way down the page for definition 2, which is the one you need)

March 17, 2018
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