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Women and Football

Last weekend I went to a football game. More specifically, I went to see Manchester City Women play Sunderland AFC Ladies. This was my first time ever seeing women play football (because somehow I completely missed the Women’s Football World Cup last year) and it was so good that I’m paying more attention to the Women’s Super League now than I ever have to the Premier League.

I have always been a Manchester City fan. My parents met at the University of Manchester in the 1980s and stayed in the city where I was born and raised. My dad picked Manchester City as his team – to be honest I don’t know why but I like to think it’s because he wanted to support the underdog.

For the first 11 months of my life I lived on Kippax Street. Before Manchester City were at the Etihad Stadium (their current home), they were at Maine Road and Kippax Street ran right up to it. Even one of the stands was called “The Kippax Stand”. And so there was no doubt that I would be a Manchester City fan from the day I was born.

But until now I’ve only ever followed the men’s team. To be honest I wasn’t even aware that there was a women’s team until I looked it up after reading Anna Kessel’s book, Eat, Sweat, Play: How Sport Can Change Our Lives.

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I made a whole video about it but this book was so inspiring to me. It actually made me create 3 sport resolutions and one of them was to go watch women’s football. So I went off to Manchester and took my parents to see Manchester City Women play. I thought about finding a London team to support but I just couldn’t do it.

And the game was so good! Not just because Manchester City Women won 3-0 (Georgia Stanway scored a hat-trick!) but the atmosphere was so much fun and so friendly. No-one was shouting abuse at the players like you sometimes get at Premier League games and these women were incredible. Athletes. They were playing on the training pitch for Manchester City and only one stand was filled with people. When the announcer said that there were 2,000 people in attendance at the game everyone cheered and whooped but I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad.

Tickets were only £6 for adults. Go support your women’s football teams. It’s so fun and super cheap! 

I was very excited by the fact that snapchat had a Manchester City Women geofilter though, that made me extremely happy. And watching the women walk out on to the pitch evoked a lot of feelings. Tears in my eyes.

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Are you a football fan? Do you follow women’s football? And also have you read Anna Kessell’s book because oh my god it’s so good! Let me know in the comments!

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6 Comments

  1. Hi Hannah,

    I am an admirer of your blogs/posts and I have to admit that I am disappointed in your choice of Manchester based football teams! I won’t hold that against you because being a Manchester United fan as I love the banter! 😉

    However, I did enjoy reading this article.

    I find the standard of women’s football has dramatically improved over the last 5 years. There is more investors in the ladies teams now and there are more teams being introduced into the English leagues locally and at higher levels. A major factor came down to the passion and commitment the ladies World Cup team displayed last year (yes, I lay awake at 2am on a school night absolutely heart broken for them).

    But I do like how Manchester City ladies are operating. They signed a 15 year old girl from the small town I live in! Anyway, I’m glad that you managed to see your home team play and reignite your passion for the beautiful game 🙂

  2. I’m so glad that you’re showing support for the women’s game. I’m a huge football fan and about a year ago started to watch the women’s football, I really recommend watching “The Women’s Football Show” it’s basically Match of the Day for women’s football, so that will help to show support for the women’s game (I hate constantly repeating myself there just aren’t many ways to say women’s football) and you can keep up to date with what’s happening in WSL 1 (and the table for WSL 2) both on and off the pitch. I’m very excited that it’s moving to a winter season so that it’s running side by side with the men’s game, I think that could make it more popular.

  3. I attended the last game of the season last year. It was Girl Scout night, but I attended with my daughter’s U13 team. We watched the THORNS play in Portland, Oregon, the Rose City. It was awesome. Great athletes. Great fans. I’m looking forward to going back this year in a few weeks. Maybe I’ll look into season tickets for next year.

  4. Hi Hannah,

    Just watched your July favourites video and read this, and I’ve got to say I’m pretty inspired.

    I’m a big football fan, I’ve supported Southampton as long as I can remember and have actively followed them since I was 12 or 13 but have never really given women’s football the time of day. (I’m ashamed to say)

    If you know anything about Southampton FC it’ll be that buy/develop great players and sell them all to Liverpool or United or Arsenal each summer for stupid money and I’m growing tired of this cycle. I’ll always follow them and love the game but I’m seriously considering that women’s football night bring back that raw enthusiasm and passion. Sad thing is, I don’t think we have a ladies team directly affiliated with the club anymore. More posts about your exciting trips to games would be great!

    Lucy

  5. I’m a Man United fan so obviously I should really dislike your new found love for the City women’s team, but since we don’t have a womens team (Seriously whats that about United, get on it) i guess I can come to terms lol.

    I fell in love with Women’s Football at the World Cup the other year but have found it difficult to follow the league, mainly due to the timing of some of the televised games, and the fact that its mainly on BT Sport which I didn’t have until last year.

    I do think it’s amazing that you womens football passed you by given the sporty nature you talk about in the video. I don’t see that as a slight against you but rather the way that womens football is marketed and publicised in this country. It really needs to do more to attract people to see these amazing women play and help develop the womens side of the sport which until the world cup was pretty much anonymous.

    Something you mentioned in your July Favorites video was the whole “Glory Supporter” thing, and obviously being a United fan I feel your pain on this. I’ve been a United fan since I can remember which is the late eighties when we weren’t doing so well but anytime I mention who my club is I have to listen to the same old jokes. You can’t win in those conversations, people have an answer for everything.

  6. *Waves.* American here. So UK football/US soccer fan not particularly. But if we’re just talking about sports… I love sports. I played softball and basketball, and I played baseball in the backyard with my family and with friends in the summer. I fell out of love with being active, and then recently found it again as an adult. I’m 25 now and it’s done so much for my body and spirit to really just workout regularly. In terms of what sports I love to enjoy, it’s baseball and my football (not UK football/soccer). Soccer is a really cool sport, I just never grew up around it, so I haven’t really spent a lot of time learning it. I did love the movie Switching Goals with Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen when I was younger, and I thought I wanted to play, but I was also a very shy kid who didn’t put herself out there and ask her parents to enroll her in recreational sports like that unless it was something inborn like softball/baseball. Anyway I’m rambling. Sports are important. Having a healthy relationship with being active and healthy is important, too. And cheering on a team you really care about can be such an uplifting and encouraging experience. I really need to get more into female sports teams and read this book.

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