How do you begin to build on the Lionesses’ success?

Ian Watson

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What next?
So a little disappointing that England didn’t get the bronze but then those 3rd place playoff games always seem like so much filler. Should do what they do in boxing and both get bronzes. Shame as England gave the USA the hardest game, I think, then France. The Netherlands did well to get to the final and hold the USA off until late in the game, but it seemed inevitable they would eventually fold under the pressure. The USA class shone through in the playoffs.

Was listening to a BBC podcast regarding the future of the women’s game. Ultimately one of the goals was to get more money into the game – get the women paid much more. But also to continue to improve the game – which in my mind goes hand in hand.

While the tone seemed to be that the game in Europe was catching up to the USA and that the England league was actually more professional than the women’s league in the USA, I think it did miss a couple of key points.

In the USA and Canada, women (girls) have always been encouraged to participate in sports. With schools, yes, but mainly outside of school, local teams, leagues and many weekend tournaments for everything – softball, volleyball, track and field, now ice-hockey, and soccer – especially soccer. It is outstripping all else. Girls and boys play on the same teams when they are small. It only separates out into boys and girls teams after about 8 or 9. Generally the girls are better, certainly equal, at the very young age groups as there are no physical advantages or disadvantages. These are usually run by parent coaches but also soccer clubs, that provide coaching skills.

The point is that there is a huge base of talent from which to draw and as the national teams do better, it further encourages more girls to play. That is one area that Europe, in general needs some work. Yes, more girls play football in Europe, but it isn’t at the same scale. I know my sisters were rarely encouraged to play sport and there wasn’t a lot of choice if they did. Hopefully with the more recent attention on both the England Women’s team and the improving league, it will encourage more girls to demand access to football at a younger age.

The other point is around pay. Sport is unfortunately entertainment when it becomes professional. It needs bums in seats or at least eyeballs, to generate interest from advertisers and sponsors, which drives more TV, which ultimately puts the money into the game. The big money. While the USA women’s team have a case for equal pay at the national level, that doesn’t work at the league level. I was stunned to hear how poor the league pays women footballers in the USA. In the end, it really needs more women to get out and watch the game. The World Cups are one-offs. Yes, TV ratings go up – just as they do in the Men’s World Cup but they are anomalies. If people didn’t watch the PL, no amount of watching the WC would drive the TV rights and sponsor deals. What is ironic in this is that advertisers know that women influence a higher proportion of the household budget than men. You would think they are just itching to find another place to advertise to women or sponsor. The WC gets higher ratings but a lot of men tuned in to watch it, who don’t watch the league games. Men will watch almost any sport. My wife regularly rolls her eyes as I tune in to watch F1, Cricket WC, Rugby, Football, etc. She will watch the odd football game with me, but more to support me supporting my team.

The irony is that, now retired, my wife is out all week playing sports. 4 different sports, generally at least 2 each day. Women love participating more than watching. So how do you change that? How do you make football in particular an event that girls will go out to watch and grow to be sports watchers as well as participants as they grow older – which will drive more revenue into the game? I never hear that really discussed, yet I think it is the big question that needs to be answered to truly push the game forward. Again, ironic, in that you would think getting participation is better than watching. From a health perspective it is. From the professionalism of a game…
Paul McDevitt


WWC scheduling
The scheduling of the World Cup final versus other events is clearly more of an issue to some, however it definitely affected me. I couldn’t watch the final live as my child was playing in a football tournament. Some of the kids asked if there would be a big screen to watch the game. There wasn’t, so hundreds of boys, girls and adults were unable to watch the game as patchy network coverage made it difficult to stream coverage. I had that slightly odd experience of watching the game in full later already knowing the score.

Yesterday’s tournament is an annual 170+ team competition that takes months of planning and organisation, including selecting a date. Perhaps the organisers weren’t aware of how popular this World Cup would be, perhaps they didn’t really think the clash was a big deal, perhaps they didn’t even notice. However, last year’s tournament was held the weekend before the men’s World Cup final.

In this country alone 11.7 million watched England’s semi-final, up from 7.6 million in their quarter final which is a sizeable chunk of the population watching the national game. Had the Lionesses made the final you’d expect another increase. There would have been lots more people yesterday disappointed about not being able to watch the final or having to make an unfair choice as whether to play or not. What point to they need to get to before it becomes a cancel everything day, or at least a plan things better because lots of people are actually interested day?
CP, Cambridge


With all the recent hullabaloo about ridiculous transfer fees – apparently Sheffield Utd offering £20m+ for a Brentford player FFS – I’ve seen reports of some of the recent England World Cup “stars” moving clubs, but none of the articles report a transfer fee.
Are there transfer fees in women’s football?? If so, who is the most expensive player?

I do recall Wenger saying he can see transfer fees disappearing in the near future with top players only signing 2 year contracts with the principle of collecting massive renewal fees or simply moving on to another club willing to pay them the transfer fee (like Herrera I guess) when their current contract expires.

It would take a bold agent to begin this process, but watch this space.
Benaldo, the fat one, of course (WTF? Women’s Transfer Fees you numbnuts)



Style and substance
An interesting argument made by Johnny about winners not necessarily having to actually win. I wholeheartedly agree with this statement and would add to this by giving an example of my own football watching journey and how age and appreciation of the finer teams back this prognosis up.

I started being consciously aware of football at the 78 World Cup final but was too young too stay up and watch it. My first ever live attended game was Crystal Palace vs LFC in 1980 hence my allegiance. Yet it wasn’t an LFC side who first made the hairs on my back of my neck stand up.

That dubious honor belongs to the Brazil 1982 World Cup squad who I still rate as the finest team that I have seen play. That side however got knocked out in the 2nd round by a Paolo Rossi hat trick despite containing such talents as Socrates , Falcao , Junior , Zico and my own personal favorite Eder ( he was like Ryan Giggs on speed with John Arne Risse’s hammer of a left foot)

For those younger readers LFC in the early 80’s were not the most attractive of sides and certainly not adverse to passing the ball around at the back before the advent of the back pass rule.

So those sides despite Rush and Dalglish in their pomp do not appear on my favorite teams list despite being serial winners.

My favorite LFC teams over the last 25 years are the Barnes , Beardsley , Aldridge inspired late 80s team , and the spice boys team with Fowler , McManaman , Collymore , Redknapp etc … ( who can forget those 4-3 Newcastle games) Yet what did they win… very little an FA and Cup Winners Cup but ultimately fell short of the big prizes.

Newcastle under Keegan were exceptionally entertaining , Asprilla , Ginola , Ferdinand and Shearer yet what did they win…. nothing.

Liverpool’s ultimately flawed title challenge in 13-14 would also classify under the above .. a lovely flowing team that won nothing.

To sum up football is about the journey , I’m not saying the winning of actual trophies isn’t important it certainly is , but generally teams are not always remembered because of what they actually won or in the case of all the above what they didn’t win
DL,LFC, Geneva


…I suspect Johnny Nic is baiting us but I’m happy to bite. Consider it less cerebral or not but a winner is someone who wins things, words have meaning and that’s what that word means. Trying your best or taking defeat on the chin with grace and dignity do not make you a winner, they make you a sportsman and it should be the norm in professional sport, not lauded as exceptional.

Ask any of the English squads if they consider themselves winners after getting knocked out in the semis, I would suspect that not one of them would proudly say they were. Those with a winning mentality will be incredibly annoyed and use it as fuel to improve and make the ultimate step of actually winning things. Avoid the player who falls short and considers it winning. The bottom line is that the footballers themselves disagree with you John, I’ve never seen the losing team celebrate at the FA Cup final, I didn’t see the Lionesses cheer at the final whistle of their semi. While your primary school was giving you a participation medal they were giving actual trophies to those that won, don’t disrespect them by calling yourself a winner just because you were present at the time.

Thankfully football clubs also don’t share your definition of a winner or else they’d all be managed by Roy Hodgson and the first team would all just be people who run around for 90 minutes. Ibra, Ronaldo and Messi, they’re winners. Don’t disrespect them by adding in Yaya Sanogo because he tries his best.

Performance is an indicator of your chance of winning something. If you’re not winning but you’re performing then you’re on the right track but if you’re not performing then you’ve literally no chance of winning. The goal of any football team is success and that success is relative but winners are those that win. Success for Fulham would have been to avoid relegation, success for Man City was to win multiple trophies. If Fulham had avoided relegation it would not have made them winners, it would have made them successful.

Neither of the English teams are losers but they’re also certainly not winners. There’s a lot of snide digs at anyone who doesn’t agree with this website’s liberal opinions grouping them into “the type of men”, weekend dads (whatever the fuck that means, seriously, have a word with yourself) or lacking the ability to think like you’re woke. This time you’re just plain wrong, football the sport does not run on a liberal ideal, quite the opposite. The entire structure of football is there to create a winner – we have knockout competitions and we actually rank teams on how good they are at winning.
SC, Belfast


Fuss over fees
As a Palace fan who completely agrees with F365’s view on the Zaha transfer situation, can I just point out that Leicester spent £30m on Ayoze Perez and Villa are about to spend £20m (£26m with add-ons) on Tyrone Mings. Premier league appearances and statistical importance to the selling team alone would tell you Zaha is worth way more than double Mings! The market is simple, a player is worth what the selling club wants to sell him for. This is based on the need and desire of the club to sell. If the selling club does not need or want to sell then this figure is high. If the club does need or want to sell then the figure is low(er). It is that simple, can people stop whinging now.
Joe, Midlands


Lamps catching Poch
Poch has done and is doing an amazing job at Spurs. They’re a fantastic team.

Let’s see Frank consistently get this Chelsea team into the CL and the latter stages while beating the best Europe has to offer.

Winning an FA or League Cup and finishing in the top 4 for one season won’t elevate Lampard above Poch. Consistency is king.

Look at Arsenal right now. Being outside of the CL looks like it is starting to hurt. Poch has made sure Levy can go to players and sponsors with CL football as a carrot.

It might take time but consistent CL football brings money which brings players which brings trophies. To finish outside of the top 4 and win an FA or League Cup could actually be a disaster for Spurs from which it could take years to come back from. No money = no players = no more trophies but hey you could no longer say “but what have they won”.

Of course winning trophies is important I just think Spurs are going the right way about making sure they can win trophies for a long time.
Gough, LFC, Dublin


2020 vision
With a fantastic World Cup over, I’m already looking forward to the women’s football competition at the Tokyo Olympics next year, especially as we’ll be competing in it. And by we I mean Great Britain.

I sincerely hope our domestic football associations finally grow up and decide to enter the men’s Olympic football competition, too. It’s too late now for 2020, but definitely after that.

It was great to see it happening in 2012, and there’s no reason not to do it again. The idea that FIFA will suddenly force England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to compete as one nation if we enter the Olympics is a ludicrous conspiracy theory.

And there are multiple reasons to do it. Footballing reasons are that it gives younger players the chance to compete in an elite competition that the rest of the world values very highly, and it will give the best players from everywhere on this island – not just England – the chance to compete regularly on the world stage.

Political reasons is that we desperately need some sense of unity in this country right now. Whatever you think of Brexit, leaving the EU was never intended to tear our country apart, but there’s a very real risk of that happening. Football can’t solve that problem, but it would be nice to see the sport doing its bit to bring people together.
Richard MCFC


Postcard from AFCON
On Saturday night, at approximately 10:54 PM, as the referee blew the final whistle, I experienced the greatest feeling I’ve ever felt while watching international football.

Please understand that I have been watching Bafana Bafana fail to qualify for international tournaments year after year, so much so that I actually forgot we’re competing in the AFCON this year until a few days before it started. In South Africa, we have had to watch managers come in and out, with a little bit of hope being raised each time only for it to fall flat on its face when it’s time to step up.
I have seen decent football at times, usually only to be dampened on by a weak defence and the finishing ability of a Game of Thrones Season 8 finale.

At times, our football has seemed so directionless and lackadaisical that one could be forgiven for giving up entirely on South African International Football.

AFCON started and Bafana Bafana flattered to deceive once again, with only a marginal victory against Namibia somehow keeping us in the tournament as one of the best third placed teams. Unfortunately that meant we would be facing off against Egypt in the round of 16, the tournament hosts, the favourites, unbeaten at home in three and a half years, and the home of Champions League winner and Premier League star Mo Salah.

Yet, in the 85th minute, our (Thembinkosi) Lorch and Saviour stepped up to finish off some exquisite counterattacking football that I have longed to see for years. The elation I got from seeing that goal can only be compared to the day Tshabalala scored against Mexico in the 2010 World Cup, and even then, we did not manage to progress from the group stages. This was different, people had already claimed South Africa had overachieved by qualifying for AFCON, and our group stage games did nothing to sway that opinion.

Yet, somehow, someway, we managed to beat Egypt, and not only that, but we deserved the victory. It was, undoubtedly, the best moment I have ever had watching my country play football. We now face Nigeria, which will very likely not go our way, but the hope is back, and nothing can take away the euphoria of the final whistle on Saturday night.


Postcard from hospital
Morning Peeps; Thought I would write in to thank you for getting me through the last couple of weeks, being a bloke and not really one to bother doctors (I thought I had wind) my wife made me call 111 luckily as I was rushed in to Hospital with an infected gallbladder slowly going septic. So while abed and full of tubes my mobile and F365 kept me sane so thank you.

Okay seeing as I have been out of the loop here is my take on United, Pogba needs to be sold asap both he and Riola care nothing for football they care only for cold hard cash, Lukaku again can bugger off perhaps he can find a first touch in Italy.
On the buying front we need a centre half (De Ligt please) and a creative midfielder which Fernandez looks like he could be ideal to fill that role. All the doom and gloom from both United fans and the gleeful crowing of opposition fans will make it all the sweeter when we actually have a good season with players who want to play for the club rather than stars who think we should thank them for just turning up.
Messi seems a bitter little man at the moment, wonderful footballer but trying to blame Argentina’s failings on corruption is a bit rich especially from a player who at Barcelona has been gifted countless questionable decisions (Chelsea, PSG etc) so Lionel I think you should throw a strop retire again then like Lazarus come back from the International dead to fail miserably again.
Paul Murphy, Manchester


Hammers maths
Daveo, Surrey: The fee would be 20 % of any price above 20m not including the 20m as a base level.

I.e a fee of 22.75 m means that 2.75m is subject to the 20 % sell on clause
So in this instance Stoke would receive 2.75m x 20 % = 550k
West Ham therefore receive 22.2m

Hope that clears the math up
DL , LFC , Geneva


…In response to Daveo, Surrey – West Ham are only liable to pay a sell on fee to Stoke based on the profit they make. So if they sell for £23.3m which I understand was the final deal, and they bought for £20m, first FIFA will get 5% solidarity payment for transferring out of the jurisdiction, West Ham will get the fee up to the £20m and 90% of the profit minus FIFA’s fee and Stoke will receive 10% of the rest (approx €313,500)
Rough Justice, Dublin


SEO has ruined everything

Can’t believe nobody went for this headline for the Copa final.
Tom Wah, Shropshire


Near and far
In reply to Lucy, it will shock none of you to know that my closest three are, in order, The Den, Selhurst Park and Stamford Bridge. Selhurst Park is a good day out, but overall I’ll stick with Liverpool thanks.
Dan, Plastic LFC


…Nearest league ground is Home Park Plymouth which is 56.6 miles away (the other side of Plymouth to most people)
Interestingly nearest non league is Porthleven’s Gala Park which is 2 miles away. Both a long way from my beloved Arsenal
Julian Burns