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  • Jacob Sweetman: Why bother?


Jacob Sweetman: Why bother?

Thursday night sees the Women’s Champions League final at Craven Cottage in London, but many football fans will content themselves being rude about it without bothering to watch it at all.

Friday night sees the Women’s Champions League final at Craven Cottage in London, but many football fans will content themselves being rude about it without bothering to watch it at all.

I may as well open with a pointless line; needless to say, the end of the world didn’t happen. Fans of Birmingham City may have had slightly different thoughts as their team slunk out of the Premier League at around the exact same time that a seven headed, 70-year-old Bob Dylan was supposed to parachute down to lead us all to abomination, or something, but Birmingham City fans presumably have got used to the end of the world by now anyway.

At the same time, in a parallel universe to the one being squeezed at the seams by the puffer fish that is the Premier League, Arsenal were winning something. Ho ho. Actually, it’s true. Saturday saw the Women’s FA Cup final in England where Arsenal beat Bristol Academy 2-0 in front of a decent 12,000 crowd in Coventry. I know it definitely happened because while I was watching Duisburg‘s zebras getting mauled by Schalke in the DFB cup final (it was getting a bit National Geographic, to be honest) I was flicking idly though a forum where several people, who had not watched the live broadcast of the game, were complaining about it being on TV. This was on a football forum, too.

Maybe I should know better. God is in the details and all that, but football forums (especially at the fag-end of the season) are not good for my health. They strip everything away until all that is left is a kind of flabby matter, and a questioning of the universe that would make the big man himself give up and go home with a Cantona-esque shrug of the shoulders.

Returning to the (pretty vague, admittedly) point, these people kept saying things like: “Do they take their shirts off when they score, then?” or “Are any of them fit?” Pretty high brow stuff, you can see. What irked me though is that none had watched it. I don’t understand the concept of slagging off women’s football without watching it. If you were forced to watch a game, and it turned out to be as turgid as Blackburn vs. Man City on a wet Wednesday, then I could understand the need for the wailing and gnashing of teeth. But not if you haven’t watched it.

A significantly larger amount of people will be watching Thursday’s Women’s Champions League final between Turbine Potsdam and Lyon – but still more will be rude about its very existence without bothering to check the score. It irks a little. I am not a great crusader for the women’s game, but I fail to see why it deserves ridicule in the measures that it does.

Wasn’t there really a time when people played and watched football for fun? When the important thing wasn’t an eternal fucking circle of confusion because your teams surprising Champion’s League run this year has screwed up the chances of the only important thing for next year – a surprising Champion’s League run (repeat on and on, ad infinitum)? Didn’t we once support football teams because they represented us or our community – and not solely for a rare bit of reflected glory – because (statistically speaking) most of the teams we chose to support never won anything at all, anyway?

This attitude seemingly goes to the very top. As an example, FIFA don’t have a combined press pack of photographs for the Women’s World Cup. They say you have to contact the individual football associations, all 16 of them, but when you hear Sepp Blatter patting himself firmly on the bottom for a job well done in bringing the women’s game forward one wonders if they really care at all. It can’t be that difficult, surely? Maybe it’s not that big a deal, but surely FIFA would want as much coverage for the event as possible instead of leaving hapless (so called) journalists to have to phone Pyongyang to try and track down a simple snap of the North Korean team. The FA was just as hard to nail down, but to accuse them of gross intransigence would be akin to saying that Michelangelo was a decent decorator. They are the masters of their field.

So, rant over. Maybe try to watch Friday’s game and send out some support for Turbine (or, indeed for Lyon). If not, don’t bother, but don’t just whinge about how crappy the game is without either watching or caring.