… this is a question which is frequently asked of me. First and foremost, I am a Chelsea fan (for my sins and to get that out of the way from the start!), I’ve been a season ticket holder for both the men’s team and women’s team. In the last couple of years my interest in the men’s team declined – this can be attributed to various factors; the fans, the disproportionate amounts of money associated with the men’s game, the cost of attending matches – these were all issues that ultimately made me fall out of love with football.
I had previously taken a fleeting interest in the women’s game and out of interest I had attended Chelsea matches, Lioness matches and FA Cup finals held at the new Wembley. It was here where my passion for the women’s game was properly ignited. The fact that the players were more accessible and genuinely appreciated the interaction and support from the fans was an eye opener. To be able to hold a conversation with players was a huge plus-point. To be able to discuss the match, their performance and the women’s game openly and frankly became the norm.
The lack of fan segregation at women’s matches is a huge positive. It would be unheard of for a Chelsea fan to be sat next to an Arsenal fan at a match; let alone share a genuine mutual love, not just for a team, but for a sport as a whole. I have had the pleasure of meeting fans from various different teams with many now friends of mine.
The cost of attending a women’s match compared to the men’s team is poles apart in comparison. With prices upwards of £70 to attend just one men’s game, and continually rising, the price of a women’s season ticket (West Ham 2018/19) was £30 to watch a high calibur of football, international players, skill and entertainment made economic sense.
Currently, the profile of the women’s game is arguably at its highest. The recent introduction of a full-time league, sponsorship opportunities, 40,000+ attendees at Wembley for both the 2017/18 and 2018/19 FA Cup finals and the up-coming 2019 World Cup makes for an exciting time. There is, however, a lot of work still to be done. I’d like to consider myself as a huge advocate and ambassador for the women’s game; a sport that has given me a lot of joy, friendships and entertainment over the past years. In that sense, by setting up this blog and hopefully further promoting the women’s game at all levels is my way of giving back to a sport that has been very kind to me. Along the way I have been privileged to have built personal relationships with players, fans and those who are associated within women’s football. Each of you has a story to tell to promote and highlight this sport. My idea is that this blog will be inclusive to all; a platform to bring the spotlight on all those who play women’s football, support women’s football and work within women’s football. If you would like to contribute with an article, please do drop me a line – you have an important story to tell! We have lots of exciting content already in the pipework with big plans to give women’s football a global audience. This is my #WhatIf pledge to the women’s game.