The Covid pandemic affected women more than men.
Women lost their jobs, wages dropped, and responsibilities juggled careers with children’s education, but we’ve achieved a small victory: The sport was promoted for women, which would otherwise have taken years.
While millions of sports fans were disappointed at being unable to watch their teams on the field, TV filled the gap with weeks of live screenings.
Prior to this, women’s football was sometimes taken out of its hiding hole, but attracted minimal male interest.
Now, both sexes were perhaps seduced by female competitors of astonishing qualities.
Although the overall standard is considered by some to be less compelling than men’s sports, we have the built-in skills and means to provide entertainment.
What’s more, we usually don’t spit, rarely deliberately stop opponents and keep our elbows to ourselves (except in sales queues).
So, interest in women’s sports exploded and suddenly we had a hit in the TV charts.
And with the relaxation of COVID restrictions, this has translated into greater viewership, greater participation from major clubs, bigger business, more sponsorships, more media coverage and business prospects.
The increase in salary and the standard of football has attracted many highly rated foreign players and in many ways the Women’s Super League has overshadowed the Premier League to become a world favourite.
Our sport was in a strategic location to take advantage of the wave of TV that turned out to be a mild antidote to the horrors of the pandemic.
As the FA turned its 50-year anti-women stance and took over the women’s game, progress has been rapid.
This has been a possibility for a long time. On Boxing Day 1920, 53,000 watched a women’s match at Goodison Park – with another 10,000 locked out.
And then, recognizing that the sport was “considerably unsuitable for women and should not be encouraged”, the FA banned women from playing in Football League grounds the following year.
Relief came in 1969 when the Women’s FA was formed on the basis of the participation of the entire population in England’s 1966 World Cup victory.
Then the seed of football sorcery flourished with the introduction of the WSL in 2011.
In 2018 the all-professional, 11-team WSL was capitalizing on strong ties with major clubs and our league was enriched by more performances as cricket did through The Hundred, in which the women’s competition double-header preceded the men’s. was extremely popular. .
Another Wonder Woman emerging at age 18 as Emma Radukanu’s extraordinary capture of the US Open title without dropping a set was a breath-taking positive for Britain.
Then there is the challenge for Lucy Bronze, Ellen White and other England stars who are yearning to win the World Cup as North America dominates.
The rewards are good and growing. The BBC and Sky have signed huge, live TV contracts.
UEFA’s prize money for the European Super League is now £24 million and the group-stage winners will receive £341,000 – five times the previous figure.
Today, football is really a career for female athletes.
tomorrow? I can see it challenging the men’s game.
not everyone will be jolie
Jubilant scenes around St James’s Park on Thursday night following the announcement that Mike Ashley had left the club as owner at 14.
I’m sure he was as happy as the pro out there to be.
Because they expected a love affair on the scale of Romeo and Juliet that ended in an irreconcilable split as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt both sides were happy to have each other’s backs.
Supporters interviewed about their view of the new owner being Saudi, with them – how do we say it please? – Suspicious ethical dilemmas said this was an issue for another day.
I suspect that seeing Ashley and welcoming an owner with a fortune of £320bn may mean that day never comes for her.
But what about the rest of the Premier League, a review by football officials and Crouch. . . Well, that day will come, I’m sure.