Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

“It’s a Fantastic Place to be,” The Almost Football Utopia

Posted on 16 December 2019 by Alexandra Ibaceta

Women’s football is in a healthy state in contrast to the men’s football industry; it is not driven by a ‘the bigger the better’ money hungry mentality.

FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship players still have a raw connection to the game and the interaction between clubs and fans is still a relationship of close collaboration and commitment.

Fans are still able to interact with players with just a thin advertisement board between them and spectators are still able to see the scar on Danielle Van de Donk’s knee from their Borehamwood seats.

The steady development of women’s football has notably been an overall success.

The women’s game should not strive to be everything the men’s game is. Being like the men is not the only way to be successful.

Men’s football is not the standard of the sport nor is it an exception. Do not compare men’s elite football to women’s elite football.

Women’s football and men’s football are simply football.

The problems related with the women’s game are about the simple standards of being professional athletes.

These women don’t want a staggering number of zeros on their paychecks. They want to be respected as good footballers, not good for the commercial market. They want fans based on their performances on the pitch rather than their social media trends.

The WSL and Championship have previously been playing catch up with the top leagues, but English football is now levelled with the best and if anything, has now become the best, but there is still a lot to be done.

The growth of these leagues has been a slow and steady process, but if it’s rushed, then its success may decline as fast as that of VAR.

The topic of playing at Premier League stadiums week in week out emerges every occasion possible. This will not help development, nor will increasing the high-end players’ salary while the lower-end players still have to hold a second job to support themselves.

Jordan Nobbs, Arsenal and England co-captain, emphasized just this.

“I think that we need to stay in the place that the women’s game is at right now which is a fantastic place to be and hopefully it keeps growing.

“We just need to keep pushing in all areas we can, but I think we need to do it in the right way. Make sure that we keep progressing at the right pace.”

Yes, teams will need better stadiums soon, yes players will hopefully get a higher average of income soon, and yes hopefully these leagues will be rightfully respected as the highest level of women’s football.

But until then, everything seems to be where it needs to be, and there is consistent development towards better standards for clubs, players and fans and that should be acknowledged.