Daily Mail reporter Laura Williamson has held nothing back in her latest article ahead of England’s second Euro 2013 Group C fixture against Russia, “Lets stop being nice about women’s football”

The article is a very interesting read, and Laura makes some very good points, I have pasted the article below, but you can view the full column at its original source here.


I think it is a really important debate we should have, and I am interested to hear from the WSU members around the world about the way women’s football is handled by the media in your country. 


I think Laura has highlighted many facts that a lot of people have not felt they could openly discuss for whatever reasons. 


Bring ’em home. Drop the goalkeeper. Sack the manager. Endlessly debate why England are no longer capable of producing talented players who thrive in a tournament environment. Argue over whether the captain should be starting matches weeks after tearing a hamstring. 


Oh, sorry. This is women’s football I’m talking about, so we’ll just say ‘the girls’ were a ‘bit nervous’ and England’s 3-2 defeat by Spain, a country competing in their first European Championship since 1997, was a ‘disappointing night’. What utter claptrap.


Watching England’s stoppage-time loss on Friday was a particularly frustrating experience. England twice came from behind but blew it with seconds remaining. Karen Bardsley’s own goal managed to  fulfil every stereotype about female keepers being the weak link as she flapped about in the six-yard box. 


Former England captain Faye White, in the BBC studio, was constructively critical, but has there been any real debate about whether Bardsley should be dropped, or why captain Casey Stoney was so hopelessly out of position to allow Veronica Boquete to score Spain’s opening goal? 


Of course not. 


Most women are so sickeningly grateful and pleased to see female footballers on television that the small matter of  winning and losing takes a backseat while, for male commentators, it seems prudent to say nothing rather than put their foot in it. 


The stars of the women’s game do not want or deserve the hype and vitriol too often directed at male players, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t argue Rachel Yankey has broken Peter Shilton’s England caps record and then dress up a European Championship like a glorified school sports day.


The vibe is so patronising, you feel Hope Powell’s squad will come home with a medal and a goody bag even if they lose all three of their Group C games in Sweden. 


Only in the strange world of women’s football could Powell still be in the position she has held since 1998. During that time England have won the grand total of two Cyprus Cups, an annual invitational international tournament on a Mediterranean island. They now need to beat Russia to have any hope of qualifying for the knockout rounds of Euro 2013.


Powell clearly loathes the media, but it is part of her job to answer questions, however stupid they might be. She was handed a gem by the BBC’s Newsround programme this week, who asked whether the England women’s team could beat the men’s outfit. ‘Absolutely, why not?’ she said. ‘Physically, the guys are obviously a lot stronger, but if we took it on technical ability, we’re as good.’ 


Leaving aside the ridiculous question from a kids’ TV show, this was a frankly ridiculous answer. Of course the women would not win – they would get annihilated. You would think a footballer and manager of Powell’s experience would be adept enough to gently brush this aside, respectfully pointing out they are two completely different games, but instead she made herself look foolish. This being women’s football, that is where it ended. If only Roy Hodgson were treated with the same kid gloves.


The constant message is it is not the done thing to criticise senior female figures in football as, bless their hearts, they are trying their best and are still in the minority. This, after all, is not ‘England’ we’re talking about, it is ‘England Women’ – or the equally abhorrent ‘Lionesses’. They are by implication different, other and lesser. Equality? Do me a favour


Stoney, Bardsley and the rest are just England players, though. They messed up like every other home-grown football team this summer and have two matches to put that right. Let’s hope their performances this coming week merit more than a patronising pat on the head.



Who do you think? Leave your comments below



  1. Izzy 9 years ago

    Hello @Patrick, I don’t know yet, but I will let u know when I discover.
    @Gromit, Marta will stay at least one month out…I don’t know if she will need surgery. I don’t remember seeing Calan playing, but I think she is good…people are figuring that she will be in start line. 🙂 Debinha and Rosana are doing very well in Norway Cup… I think some matches are being broadcasted online.

  2. Anonymous 9 years ago

    I’ve heard from coaches taking the FA badges that they prefer one style of play and don’t allow for innovation or thinking outside the lines of their style.
    An overhaul of the FA coaching structure would be so much better than just calling for Powell to stand down.
    We’ll see what she has to say during her interview with Sally Nugent tomorrow evening.

  3. gromit 9 years ago

    The Guardian’s article :

    England women’s woeful Euro 2013 leaves Hope Powell’s future uncertain

    Questions are raised about the national game’s direction and whether an overhaul of the FA coaching structure is needed

    Hope Powell’s position as England women’s head coach is in the balance after a winless European Championship. Photograph: Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

    An opportunity to showcase the women’s game on the national stage was missed but the fallout from England’s failure at Women’s Euro 2013 underlined the momentum behind it. Calls for the head coach to go, demands on the Football Association for change and fears over the direction of the English game having been outclassed tactically and technically by a leading rival; every box applied to the men’s game for decades was ticked in Sweden.

    Hope Powell‘s position as head coach is under greater scrutiny than ever before after England finished bottom of their group following three poor displays, one point and a worst tournament return since 2001. The future of Powell, who has transformed the game in her 15 years in charge, was an issue regardless of the outcome of Euro 2013 with the FA soon to appoint the first director of elite women’s football.

    Powell was evasive on whether she would take the director’s job, one she has long argued for, coveted but is not guaranteed to be offered, or remain head coach in the aftermath of Thursday’s 3-0 lesson by a fine France team. Dan Ashworth, the director of elite development at the FA, who is charged with implementing the overdue changes, is yet to hold talks with Powell on the position. He was present as France intricately dissected England, while Powell’s team sent hopeful long balls up for Toni Duggan and Ellen White to chase, particularly in the first half.

    It was not an encouraging audition for a coach but that is not to say Powell’s vast experience in overseeing the structure of the women’s game should be discarded. Unlike Stuart Pearce, whose contract with the FA was not renewed after England’s winless European Under-21 Championship in Israel, Powell is a permanent member of staff at the FA.

    Within moments of the final whistle sounding on England’s stay in Sweden, Kelly Simmons, the FA’s director of the national game and women’s football, announced the organisation wanted Powell to continue as head coach.

    World Cup qualification begins on 21 September but after 15 years with the same coach, and tournament returns not reflecting the investment in the women’s game, the clamour for a fresh face is growing. John Herdman, Canada’s English-born coach, and the former Everton turned England Under-19 manager Mo Marley are potential alternatives.

    “I don’t think it’s necessarilya prerequisite [for the England women’scoach to be a woman],” said Ashworth this week. “But I certainly think it’s important we make sure that women have the same opportunities on coach education courses and with these new jobs that are coming up. It’s healthy and important that there are women’s role models working within the women’s game.”

    It is the dearth of coaches in England that Ashworth is seeking to change, having described the number of people available to coach the coaches as “the biggest thing that has hit me in the first four months in the job”. Time spent coaching women’s teams is an issue too. Eleven members of France’s squad train six days a week with their club, Lyon. Kelly Smith, England’s all-time leading goalscorer, trains twice a week with Arsenal and had to spend five weeks recovering from injury at St George’s Park before Euro 2013 due to the lack of physiotherapy available at her club.

    With England seeking a replacement for Pearce, and possibly Powell in the next few weeks, the opportunity for Ashworth to hasten his overhaul of the FA’s coaching structure is available.

    “A lot of people are involved in that process,” he said. “There are a lot of things going on and we have a chance to enhance that with a couple of key appointments.”

  4. Author
    Women's Soccer United 9 years ago

    Some candidate ideas here – http://www.womenssoccerunited.com/forum/topics/hope-powells-future-england


    I think Faye White would be good, but I have no idea if she has been gaining coaching qualifications? Does anyone else know?

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