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Women’s Football Forum – Stepping out of the shadows

October 15, 2009


Yesterday I went to the London FA Female Football Forum at White Hart Lane. It was a great opportunity to hear more about the progression of the Women’s game and to meet the others who had gone to the event. I admit feeling a little bit of pressure as they said they all want to read what I write!

This is a very open post and I’m very keen to hear any comments that any of you have, I’ve got my own feelings on it as you all know from previous posts and especially would like to also hear from the guys about their views.

The Forum featured special guests, which were;

Jacqui Oatley (BBC Radio and Match of the Day presenter)

Rachel Pavlou (National Women’s Football Development Manager, FA)

Alison Vaughan (Campaign Manager for Kick It Out)

Karen Hills (Manager, Tottenham Hotspur Ladies)

Ebony Casey-Gooden (Goalkeeper, Tottenham Hotspur Ladies)

My local Ladies team is Watford Ladies and so I know quite a lot about them but this forum I got to hear about the Tottenham Hotspur Ladies Team. Interested to know if any Tottenham fans know that there is a Ladies Team?

The main conversation was really about the new Women’s Super League for 2011, and it still seems that there is plenty of organising to be done with regards to this. Clubs are going through the application process at the moment, and the teams will be announced in June 2010.

There will be no new entrants to this Super League for 2 years so the League can gather some stability, I question the competitiveness of it being in such a way. If we want to get people into watching and following the Women’s game, although just playing SHOULD be enough – is it enough for the supporters?

TV coverage was of course mentioned and again they are looking into it, I think the internet part would be interesting. Here at WDKF we all had our views on the Ukraine V England game and I don’t think paying to watch women’s football on a computer is the way forward at all. But I could be wrong with this of course, I like the idea of it following the format of the England Under 21’s game that was featured live on the FA website. If TV is going to be a hard one to get, surely the FA’s website is the next best thing?

I did bring up the fact that the FA website is hardly Women’s Football friendly as you really have to search for the Women’s news but apparently this is being looked into. Good!

Another thing that was extremely interesting is this thing that at Senior School children are split into gender groups for sports as it’s always been posed as being “too risky” as boys are “tougher” than girls. The FA are doing a study (looking into injuries, benefits of mixed gender groups etc) over this and results should be announced early 2010, I think gender issues aside kids just want to play football (or other sports) with their friends.

At Senior School I only played football at break times; our sport lessons were split into girls and boys. The girls played netball, hockey and volleyball. The boys played football, rugby, cricket and basketball. I have to say I got more injured in my hour hockey session than in my whole life of playing football! It took a while for us girls to “prove” ourselves to the boys that we could play football, but soon the teams were becoming mixed sex teams and we had found a level playing field. Finally!


I felt very positive after the Forum and hearing about everyone’s involvement in the game whether it was coaching, playing or supporting the Women’s game. There was even a lady there who wanted to become a Sports Agent, good luck to her and she seems determined to get there and why not!

There is still much work to be done I feel, and hope that 2011 is not too late. The Ladies who are now playing in America seem to be having a great time and I do follow some of them on twitter and wonder if this Super League will tempt them to come back, I guess like with everything – time will tell.

Also hope the two girls who were at the event (So sorry I have forgotten your names!) managed to get to the England game yesterday and hope they had a great time. Thanks to all the people that came to the event and for the London FA and Tottenham Hotspur for getting it organised.

When I left the forum and was making my way to the station for the journey home, a red double decker bus passed me with Frank Lampard and John Terry plastered across the side of it, left me thinking – ‘Women’s football might be in the shadows of you but hopefully not for long’

The England Ladies kick off their 2011 World Cup qualification campaign on Sunday 25th October at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool – kick off is at 5:30. So if you can get to the game, go support the England Ladies. Tickets are £5 for adults and £2.50 for concessions!

18 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2009 11:04 am

    Well I know that there’s a ladies team from the Spurs club website but I’ve never actually clicked on it.

    So I just did it.

    And what do you know?

    Not only do Spurs have a ladies first team, they have a Reserves, 3rd team and a whole age group of players all the way to the Under 10s.

    Impressive stuff!

  2. October 16, 2009 12:11 pm

    Sarah are you in this picture? Lol. I got this off the Spurs site

    And that 3rd team score was unbelievable! 14-1! haha…

    • October 16, 2009 1:27 pm

      Not in that picture, that’s from the school forum that was on before the one I went to.

      So if the Ladies team games were shown on the FA website would you watch them?

      • October 16, 2009 6:48 pm

        I’m not sure I would but it has nothing to do with the gender of the sport. As it is, I don’t always make time to watch the EPL games often. It’s just that everywhere I go, its put on so I tend to just sit and watch wherever I may be.

  3. Shellylou permalink
    October 16, 2009 1:36 pm

    Hi. I was also one of the women who attended the conference. I found it very interesting and it has helped me come up with some ideas for my dissertation. Something I am interested at looking into now is how women would feel if the game was altered e.g. size for pitch and size of goal made smaller. Being a footballer myself, at first I thought this was not a good idea but the more I think about it, the more I think this could be a good idea to trail. Having a smaller pitch would allow for the technical skills to be shown and would also help with stamina. By slightly altering the women’s game it creates a different football product to the men’s and could create more public interest. If you think about it quite a few sports have been altered for women. E.g. basketball – Netball, Baseball – Softball and in tennis women only play 3 sets when men play 5. So is it a good idea to alter aspects of the football match to suit women? I would be interested to hear others opinions on this.
    I was one of the two women who were trying to make it to the game….and we made it (well we missed the first goal but thankfully there were more!) Even better we got to see Becks in action! What also surprised me was at half time when two of the women’s England teams were invited onto the pitch. They got a good response from the crowd!

    • October 16, 2009 1:48 pm


      Firstly I’m so sorry I forgot your names! Glad you got to the game and that you got to see Becks! What did you make of the beard? Although you were probably too far away to see

      I did noticed the England Girls all trying to get as close to Becks for the photos that were taken with him at half-time, he looked like he was a little scared by them though! Haha

      As for your comment about changing aspects of football for women; for me when I played size of pitch and goal was never a problem. Whenever I do coaching for Under 16’s I tend to use smaller pitches but that’s only because of lack of funding for larger pitches is unavailable. But it’s definitely something to debate

      Anyone else got any views on Shellylou’s idea?

      Also Shellylou go to they have forum links on there and they are a really helpful and friendly bunch of people who can help you further I’m sure.

      Good luck with it all x

      • October 16, 2009 4:35 pm

        hmm the main issue for small pitches and goals is making them! At the moment men and women use standard pitches. Its worth noting with the tennis analogy that men and women still play on the same size court.

        However i do think there is a case for a smaller pitch and goals. It would improve the womens sport i think, but i just dont see it financially viable. It would cost a bomb

        I think one of the satellite channels would pick up on a Super League, but it would be better if a terrestrial channel was involved..BBC2 ideally. People need to watch womens football for free as there is no incentive to pay to watch, and wont be in the near future.

      • October 16, 2009 6:25 pm

        At the forum they said they were talking to a few TV places, but they were keen on the pay to watch stuff. I think the FA really do see this as a way forward and unfortunately the numbers for the Ukraine v England game were high!

        BBC2 would be my channel of choice

      • October 16, 2009 6:59 pm

        I think changing certain aspects of the game is fine. I remember women’s basketball in the US used smaller sized balls when the WNBA started (no idea now as I’ve not followed it for years!) and it made scoring similar to the men’s game, as the men’s game tend to be more exciting due to the high scoring nature.

        Possibly a cheaper option would be to change maybe the time played on the pitch, as these do not cost money unlike changing the pitch sizes. Either that, or draw a new set of lines for the women on the same pitch. It’s still cheaper than creating a brand new pitch if you don’t know the interest is going to be there.

        Also, to make the women’s game more interesting, I think it would be a good idea to introduce technology into the game, like things we’ve suggested before. Blatter and FIFA would definitely show an interest since it doesn’t affect their main bread and butter while at the same time, audiences will immediately be interested to watch the game to see if it works.

        Imagine if it does work out well, and the first 5,000 fans who watch the game tell their friends about the wonders of technology. Not only will this create more interest through word of mouth, fans may start coming to the games just to see it in action. You instantly create something different and unique for the women’s game, without having to constantly compare apple to apple in the men’s game.

  4. October 23, 2009 3:01 am

    Hey been surfing this site for a while now and decided i would sign up and spread the word!

    I’m jason :)

    (please move this if its in the wrong place and bare with me, I’m new!)

  5. Reds go Marching on on on !! permalink
    October 31, 2009 2:54 am

    Manchester United stage a comeback into the womens game after folding in 2005, with the introduction of their Centre Of Excellence for girls aged 10 – 16 and an independent U18’s Girls side who play in the Cheshire and Manchester League and have started with a bang…”the reds go marching on on on!” as the terraces song implies…..

    P W D L F A PTS
    1 Manchester United 4 4 0 0 30 0 12
    2 Bolton Wanderers 4 3 0 1 19 5 9
    3 Altrincham Ladies18’s 5 2 1 2 12 24 7
    4 Frodsham Ladies 5 2 0 3 10 15 6
    5 Port Vale 4 1 1 2 8 12 4
    6 Barnton 4 0 0 4 4 27 0

    up to 18th Oct

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    • February 10, 2010 12:37 pm

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