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4 THE GOONER | 304

in any way a lower standard. It’s tactically different, but that is true across different teams and countries. There are differences in the crowds though, until recently there weren’t away ends, the opposing fans mixed in with the home fans.

The crowds are younger, and because the tickets are considerably cheaper it is much easier to go regularly.

For example, most of us can’t go to the Emirates to see the men play, because we simply can’t afford it and if we can it’s only now and again. That’s not the case with the women. You can go to every game and still be able to pay your bills. There is an indescribable passion that comes with the game.

It’s no wonder World Cup stadiums at last summer’s Women’s World Cup sold out every game.

That didn’t happen in Qatar, the games were attended by corporate representatives who were there to observe their investments.

The whole feeling around the game is different, the crowds and the players are more diverse. LGBTQIA+ representation within the players alone is incredibly high and that is reflected in the fans.

Everyone is welcome, I’m disabled and part of the LGBTQIA+ community, I’ve never felt out of place or worried for my safety whilst at Meadow Park. There is a determination surrounding the women’s game which comes from a number of different places.

The fact that women’s football was banned in England from 1921 to 1970 plays a part, the ban is still in living memory and has given the game we see today a certain grit.

It was not that long ago players had to hold down a job to be able to play the game.


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