This kid right here (yes, me) could only dream of what’s happening to my beautiful game right now.
I’ll take you back… as a kid, I actually think I kicked and dribbled with a football before I could run properly. I wore football kits as my everyday clothes, even including the socks, and the astros sometimes. The back garden was my pitch, and David Beckham was my idol. But there lies the issue.
My role model was a bloke for years. The only time there was ever women’s football on TV was the FA cup final that they showed on the BBC, I think for a while I thought only Arsenal had a women’s team. In spite of this, I was still football obsessed. The girl that always tried to join in the boys games at lunch, and bless my mum, she had to run round the local boys clubs asking if her daughter could play. Guess what, there were a lot of no’s. Credit to my mum, she eventually managed to find a girls team that had just been set up, and that was me for about 10 years. But at no point over that time did I think it was a realistic career for us. You can’t be what you can’t see, right?
The passion for football never went anywhere, and although not a footballer, I have been working in the industry since the day I left University. Over that time I have been banging on about how this game is growing. “It’s not going to sell out stadiums though is it” actual comments I’ve heard and had, from men. Well, look at it now, 75,000 watching a semi-final in the stadium and millions watching on TV around the world.
It’s hard to put into words what it’s like seeing the game be like this now, from what we’ve seen it be before. This feeling is so special. Records breaking left, right and centre, changing government policies, winning the Euros at a sold out Wembley, and now our first World Cup Final since 1966.
Considering women’s football was banned for 50 years, and women couldn’t even play football the last time we won a World Cup, I’d say that makes the achievements of our Lionesses pretty f***ing impressive.
So, to the Lionesses, win or lose on Sunday, thank you for everything you’ve done for this game. You’re inspiring the nation, and generations for years to come. A lasting legacy. But on that note…
It’s coming home.
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