Ladies’ Night? More like Ladies’ Week, Month and Year: Why it’s been a great few days for women’s football, and women in football, in England

October 3, 2013 in Women's Football

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From the epochal shift of a team that isn’t Arsenal winning the highest domestic prize on offer in women’s football in England, to the national side thrashing Belarus and Turkey in their World Cup qualifiers - clocking up an aggregate score of 14-0 from just two games, no less – not to mention Charlotte Green taking on the mantle of reading the classified football results on the Beeb, it’s been quite a week or so for those interested in the beautiful game and the place of women in it. After the disappointments of the summer, with the senior England girls dismally underachieving in Sweden at the Euros preceding the sacking of Hope Powell, some autumnal optimism is just what the doctor ordered. With the newly restructured Women’s Super League to look forward to next year, the Under 17 European Championships taking place over here in November and December, and the Super League Continental Cup clash between newly dethroned Arsenal and soon to be re-branded Lincoln Ladies taking place at Barnet’s Hive this Friday night, there’s plenty more to whet our appetites and get excited about. However, let’s focus for now on the events of the past fortnight, and exactly what is starting to go so right in the English women’s game.women1

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Dreams Can Come True: From Non-League to International

September 10, 2013 in International, Premier League

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England’s 4-0 thrashing of Moldova last Friday may have been formulaic, though no less vital given the sterner test of Ukraine lying in wait around the corner. One positive to take from a game that held many good points for England (disregarding Welbeck’s suspension, of course), was the continued success of Rickie Lambert in an England shirt. Lambert is no Messi, Higuaín or Falcao; he’s not even a Rooney (but then Wayne Rooney isn’t really a Rooney any more). What Lambert does represent, however, is the kind of fairy-tale that modern, particularly English football appeared to have forgotten up until very recently. Who would have thought that amongst the oligarchs, petrodollars, and €100m transfers of summer 2013, Lambert’s dreams would actually come true. For all the consternation that swirled around the papers when he received his first international call-up this August at the practically geriatric age of 31, the Southampton striker is now the media’s new darling. Lambert has not only enjoyed two superb games for the Three Lions, he also crucially seems to represent the average England fan better than some of his more feted international teammates. After all, if a former beetroot factory worker can score two goals in two games for his country in front of an adoring Wembley in the space of a month, there’s hope for us all yet.LAMBERT

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Season Preview 2013-14: Swansea City

August 16, 2013 in Premier League, Team Previews

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Those of you who haven’t watched the Beeb’s Swansea City: The Fall and Rise yet are in for a treat. Catch it on iPlayer whilst you can; the perceptive little doc does a good job of explaining exactly why Swansea are one of the most well-liked clubs in the Premier League, and also, why their recent success is nothing short of miraculous, compared to the perilous state of the club’s finances and future ten years ago. Famously sold for a £1 in 2001, Swansea City are about to start their third Premier League campaign on the trot, and will be looking to both build on their ninth place finish last season and emulate their competition success after last year’s triumphant capture of the League Cup – the Swans’ first major trophy in their 101-year history.

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Bert Trautmann - A Tribute

July 26, 2013 in Features, Premier League

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Last Friday, the sad news broke of the death of Bert Trautmann, the Manchester City goalkeeping legend, who had passed away at his home in Valencia at the age of 89. Bert was an inspiration to not just City supporters, but to legions of football fans throughout the world, and the story of his life is nothing short of incredible. Appearing over 500 times between the sticks for City in a fifteen-year career at the club, Trautmann’s background as a former Luftwaffe paratrooper-turned-prisoner of war was already enough to single him out as something different, before he even played a game for the Blues. However, the fateful Cup Final of ’56 forever sealed his place in footballing lore, as Bert played on with an injured neck to help City win their third FA Cup, only finding out that his neck was in fact broken three days later. So many deserving tributes have already been given in honour of this wonderful gentleman, who achieved so much on the field and in life. For what it’s worth, here’s mine.

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Spanish Football: Hasta La Vista, Maybe?

July 12, 2013 in Features, International, La Liga

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Does defeat in the Confederations Cup Final – not to mention near obliteration in this year’s Champions League - suggest the end is nigh for Spanish footballing dominance?

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