It’s been quite a few years now since Big Paper and Big Website started “ramming women’s football down people’s throats” by publishing sporadic, easily avoidable columns about a burgeoning sport that seemed to drive some readers to the brink of apoplexy even though they were free to ignore them. Indeed, such was the lack of interest harboured by some readers on the goings-on in the Women’s Super League or international arena, that week after week the same bozos felt compelled to post comments Below The Line pointing out how hilarious they found the idea of women playing football, and advising all involved to “get back in the kitchen” because those dishes won’t wash themselves.
Rather heartwarmingly, it seems that as the volume of women’s football content with which some reluctant fans have been force-fed has steadily increased across TV, radio and assorted other media platforms in recent years, the volume of carping about it seems to have died down. So much so, that when the Guardian announced yesterday that it would be launching a Women’s Football Weekly podcast to coincide with the upcoming Euros, the volume of entitled dissent from your typical Twitter “proud dad” (posing alongside young daughters who might want to play the game) barely registered.
Due to be hosted by Faye “Holy!” Carruthers with Big Paper’s women’s football correspondent Suzy Wrack in the deceptively easy and universally under-appreciated sidekick role, Women’s Football Weekly will start on 4 July and run throughout Euro 2022. It is also set to feature an array of impressive, enthusiastic guests who actually know what they’re talking about. What’s more, while we would really like you to download this new podcast and give it a whirl, it’s not compulsory. Nobody from Big Paper is going to stand underneath your bedroom window holding up a boombox like John Cusack in Say Anything, forcing you to listen.
Of course, with the Euros fast approaching, the final tweaks to our new podcast aren’t the only preparations being finely tuned before England’s final friendly against Switzerland tomorrow. Head coach Sarina Wiegman says she is “really close” to knowing her starting XI for the tournament opener against Austria. “We’re close but it’s hard,” she said of her likely starting lineup. “And, even though we’re close, you still have the opportunities to change it a little bit, because the level is so high and it’s so close [between the players] that we have many options.” A bit like those dishes, that team won’t pick itself.
Football Weekly takes a look at the experiences of LBGTQ+ fans and journalists here. And you can get more details about the new Women’s Football Weekly pod here.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Fifa has had a responsibility from the beginning to ensure the proper human rights due diligence was done, and a positive legacy for all is left. Now we are less than 150 days out, still fighting for basic safety assurances” – Anne Lieberman, a founding member of the LGBTIQ Human Rights Sports Coalition, expresses her concerns after Qatari authorities again failed to offer guarantees that travelling LGBTQ+ supporters will be safe at the Human Rights World Cup.
“Re: Newcastle’s third strip (yesterday’s Fiver), excuse my ignorance but, given that black and white TVs no longer exist, what is the point of having a third strip? Maybe in case the others don’t dry in time?” – Dave McNulty.
“You’re right, you have seen Newcastle’s third kit somewhere before: it’s just an innocent homage to our ‘classic’ 99-00 away kit. Any other similarity is surely just a matter of coincidence, or better still, imagined. Nothing to see here” – JD Laux.
“As one of the few remaining Newcastle fans who still reads The Fiver, I’ll sure as hell be buying the new change shirt. If it annoys one lefty Big Paper journo enough for them to choke on their free champagne on the way to Human Rights World Cup it will have been worth it” – Jonathan Alderslade.
“Reading in about the plans to develop Villa Park into a ‘thriving Community destination’ (yesterday’s Bits and Bobs), it seems that the Villa are a bit late to the show. The other football team in the city, Birmingham (much beloved by Jasper Carrot) had this sorted 40 years ago. I know this because my elder brother had his wedding reception there. Doubly ironic as he was a Villa supporter” – Kevin Dwyer.
Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our letter o’ the day is … JD Laux, who wins a copy of A Woman’s Game, by Suzy Wrack.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
People convicted of football-related online hate crime can now receive banning orders stopping them from going to matches.
Manchester City have signed the Australia forward Mary Fowler from Montpellier, with boss Gareth Taylor giddily describing the 19-year-old as “one of the most exciting young talents in the game”.
Chelsea are this close to spending £55m of Todd Boehly’s dosh on Leeds’ Raphinha, although Barcelona and Arsenal are still in the running.
Nikita Parris reckons England fans will create a proper buzz around Euro 2022 because “English culture loves football”. “The crowd does make a difference,” she said. “When you’re down in games it gives you an extra energy.”
England fought back to beat Italy 2-1 and seal a place in the men’s European Under-19 Championship final against Israel – and look how happy manager Ian Foster was.
Sven Botman will get to see Newcastle’s 99-00 tribute kit for himself after Lille agreed to part with the Dutch centre-back for £32m.
Like a languid Love Island lothario, Frenkie de Jong has finally had his head turned by Manchester United’s interest.
And Gareth Bale’s week just gets better – the Wales captain has been credited with the goal that sealed their place at Human Rights World Cup. The winner against Ukraine in Cardiff initially went down as an Andriy Yarmolenko own goal, but has now been officially marked as Bale’s 40th goal for his country.
STILL WANT MORE?
You want a lavish interactive guide to all 368 players at Euro 2022? Well, here you go then. Meanwhile, today’s separate team guides have a Nordic vibe – read up on Denmark and Finland.
France ought to be among the favourites at Euro 2022, but familiar tales of training camp tension could derail their campaign. Júlia Belas Trindade has more.
There’s only six Ben Davies! There’s only six Ben Davies! But it’s not the most common name in football. Here’s the Knowledge with more.
Back in 2009, Bordeaux were beating Juve and Bayern in Big Cup. Now they’re struggling to stay afloat in France’s third tier, reports Raphaël Jucobin.
Are Spurs and Chelsea set for a tug of war over Milan Skriniar? It’s the latest Rumour Mill.
And if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!