Never really thought about this before;
I’ve been in football, an Arsenal fan, for over 40 years never really thought about
being a woman in football, I’ve always just seen myself as an Arsenal fan.
It dawned on
me that perhaps I should write about this as I’ve read two passionate blogs
recently by which have inspired me. The first one was about a young lady in Croatia, who
wrote about her experiences supporting our wonderful club on 1
Nil Down 2 One Up. Her name is Anita and her Twitter handle is @arsenaloFka
and after reading her blog it made me realise how hard it must be for women to
be accepted here, let alone abroad. The second
one was from a young lady called Amreen and she is from India. She really
moved me with her blog and how she grew up and gained her passion and knowledge
of football in a country where cricket is the number one sport and she can be
followed @goonergurl20. To read about their feelings and passion for our club
has inspired me to tell my story.
well if you follow me on Twitter most of you will know, is all down to my Dad,
who passed me over the turnstile, at Highbury, at the age of four around 1973,
and to this day I don’t remember my first game and nor does he.
growing-up years, it was a given that I went to football. When friends went out
shopping, I went to Highbury I didn’t know any other way and I didn’t want it
to be any other way to be honest. I LOVED going to Highbury! The discussions with
family and friends on the way to the game, the banter in the cafe, walking to
the fabulous stadium and then watching the game, who wanted to go clothes
shopping? Not me!
because I’ve always had a season ticket and been respected for my views being a
woman never came into it.
I have never felt
the need to justify my knowledge and passion for our club and, after joining
twitter last year, that thought has been reinforced with the amount of women
who know as much or even more about football than I do.
In all areas
of my life, wherever I am, football chat normally comes into it. I’ve lived in
the same area all my life and the guys, who are into football, know me very
well. We use to discuss football and who ever they supported, but mainly they
were Tottenham Hotspur fans, and so through the 80’s I took some stick, but
always stood by my ‘AFC Family’. Then
things started to change, George Graham arrived and the rest is history.
Over the past
30 years I have come across some Arsenal fans thinking that I may just be a fan
girl, but when I ask if they were at Anfield in ’89 and then I explain I was,
the conversation changes dramatically and they realise I know my stuff and the passion
I have for the club.
It’s a funny
concept being a female football fan, I’ve always taken it for granted over the
years about just being a football fan I never saw myself as any different to
the millions of others that always watched football, I’ve been to finals here
and abroad, semis, quarters and Champions League. Actually, I’ve been to loads
of matches over the years and my passion runs high for this club, they are my second
family and Lord help anyone, other than a Gooner, who criticises ‘my’ club.
I have met
many amazing Gooners on Twitter and have only been challenged by one who feels
I don’t have the right to an opinion because I am not knowledgeable enough, I was
brought up to believe that football is all about opinions, sorry if anyone
thinks I’m wrong. I predicted Manchester United would do the treble around February
time, when everyone else laughed at me! I predicted Robin van Persie would have
a magnificent season if he could just stay injury free. As I said to that one
person, I don’t need to justify my football knowledge to you or anyone.
A few months
ago I was invited to an event where Arsene Wenger, was doing a Q&A session.
I had the most amazing time. I asked some questions and we had quite a bit of
chat regarding players, games and football tactics. Once the evening was over
and I was waiting for my lift home, a couple of guys said ‘goodnight’ and one said
‘I enjoyed listening to you and you certainly know your stuff’. I took it as a compliment, the guy I was with said ‘That was patronising’. I suppose he was right, considering that would never have said that to a male football fan. I still enjoyed the compliment and took it as one.
One of my proudest achievements is being part of a weekly podcast called the GoonerGirlsCo. We were approached on Twitter by a guy called Steve, who already had a boys podcast, but wanted to see if any girls would be interested and this started at the end of December 2012. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength and what has been achieved is beyond anything any of us could have dreamed of. The team now consists of Kay, Kate and Gareth. We debate, we discuss, we laugh, we argue but most of all, and this is the most important, we each respect each other’s football opinions.
I wouldn’t be who I was in the podcast world without them, they are the most fabulous people you will ever want to meet. Our Twitter followers seem to love our podcast, and I would say that anyone with any interest should take a listen and tweet us your opinions.
We enjoy feedback, good or bad. Our ratings are going through the roof, and my point is this; who would have thought, ever, that a group of girls and a boy could achieve an audience like we have? Girls talking about football! If you’re interested in listening please go to www.goonergirlspodcast.co.uk or find us on iTunes.
So I end this
piece thinking wouldn’t it be great for all the young female football fans,
here and abroad, just to be accepted for being football fans?
I would love
to hear your comments and you can follow me on twitter at @Goonergirl1969.
Born and brought up in Mumbai, India. An eternally optimistic and fiercely loyal Gooner Girl for life. Bachelors and Masters degrees in Creative Writing (with Media Studies) from Edge Hill University, England. Passionate about words, sports, music, tv, movies, travel and art. Columnist, editor, writer and guest writer for many online publications on different topics.
Anushree has three published short stories, including one on Amazon: “L’Effet De Papillon“. She is working on her first novel.