Lionesses love-in continues – what are the rules for picking a women’s team to follow?

·13-min read
England lift the European Championship trophy. Credit: PA Images
England lift the European Championship trophy. Credit: PA Images

The Mailbox – most of it – continues to bask in England’s European Championship glory. So what next? And how do we pick a women’s team? Is it ok to choose a different club for a different gender?

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Who to support now?
Watching the final on Sunday, with my whole family, the inevitable question was asked. “Daddy, can we go and watch some women’s matches this season please?”

So here’s the conundrum – I’m a Colchester United fan. We disbanded our women’s team in 2013, so Colchester is not an option. The kids do come and watch Colchester with me, and are Colchester United fans…so…is it okay to support a different team if they’re a different gender?

And if yes, which team do I pick? I’m incredibly ignorant of the structure for the women’s game – is there a pyramid below the 2 pro leagues? Jumping straight to Arsenal or Spurs seems wrong somehow, are there other options for someone Essex based to go and support? Recommendations very welcome please.
Jeremy (we won, we actually won) Aves


What next?
Lionesses were awesome. And the tournament was epic

If you enjoyed the commitment and enthusiasm of the players then it’s time to match this with fan commitment

While a robust economic framework is far away, with most clubs earning less than $1m per year and women’s football as a whole generating most it’s money from sponsorship, the fans must do more.

Take a season ticket, watch the highlights, buy the kit and merchandise. Turn up when the weather is crap and your team are losing, teach your kids it’s not just about major tournaments and start spending money outside the peak events.

There is a very pervasive comment to be found everywhere ‘I don’t usually like football but the Lionesses were great and I’m inspired’ which is understandable given the professional nascency of the sport but please don’t vanish until the next big event.

Also now get involved at grassroots. Get your child in a team, pay subs, attend fund raising socials, donate time to be local club treasurer or whatever you can do.

With this springboard there is a huge opportunity to build the game into a sport of value and a high paying professional salary to meet that of women’s tennis. But not if fans become fair weather, social media fans.

If you’re inspired then show it


…If you really think about the women are now significantly more successful than the men’s team.

They managed to win a major tournament in about 10% of the time the men have been flattering to deceive.

It does raise an interesting question – will it prompt more investment in the women’s game ? And how will that investment be spent?

The immediate thought that I’m sure the women would want is that they get paid more but actually what they should be hoping for is investment in infrastructure.

Better facilities mean better stadiums which mean greater chance of bigger crowds, which means more corporate interest and if we are honest corporate interest is where all the money is.


Women’s football in England will never be the same again after this glorious Euro 2022 victory


Watching a different sport
More than a hundred years ago, thousands of people used to watch the Women’s game up and down the country.

But then came the ban and the People’s Game didn’t belong to the people anymore.

By the time I watched my first England match on the telly – football was in the doldrums. It was the 1986 World Cup and although I fell in love with the game and would attend my first match at the Arsenal a year later, actually watching England in the stadium never seemed like it was ever going to be a reality.

England you see, was the preserve of the boorish, baldy, beer-bellied brigade and it would take decades for me to actually watch England in the flesh.

It has been slow progress but Euro 22 seems to have changed everything for everyone.

Leah’s Lionesses have returned the People’s game to the people. It is for everyone – no matter your gender, race, religion or who you choose to love. It belongs to Sarah Winterburn, to Jacqui Oatley, to mailbox contributor, Carolyn of South London, to Alex Scott, to Hope Powell, to Matt Lucas, to EVERYONE. It’s no longer a marketing gimmick.

That’s the real legacy of Euro 22 – the tournament in which football came home and the beautiful game never looked more beautiful.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
P.S. Congratulations to Arsenal and Brazil’s Rafaelle Souza. TWO continental champion captains from the same defence on the same day – wow!


…Just thought i would write in after the English ladies had won. Congratulations and well played!

I also enjoyed the sh*thousing article on Chloe Kelly. Something exactly James Milner, one of my favorite players, would do.

I enjoyed the lack of toxic masculinity elements in the game. The lack of crudity. The family atmosphere that’s safe for kids. A game where ladies and kids feel safe to play in and be part of. So many positives! (As pointed out by John Nicholson)

Someone compared the best of women’s football to under 16s… a similar thought did cross my mind, if we compared the current state of women’s soccer’s speed, power, tactical sophistication …

Then again, if Fifa hadnt banned women’s football for 50 years, women’s football would likely be way more advanced than it is today.

To see this, i would cite how african football was in the doldrums in the 60s and 70s, suffering from lack of resources in development. As the resources poured in and coaching talent and know-how poured in via ex african players who had done well in europe, scouting networks got better, and the african football game improved to where it’s not surprising to have african quarter/ semifinalists in major football competitions.

So yes, women’s football is probably behind where it could have been, in no large part thanks to men being so insecure that they had to ban it for 50 years. But i’m equally confident that women will further their potential way behind now, as the resources are poured in.

And it’s kind of pointless to compare women’s football to men’s football in the first place. Just as it’s pointless to compare women swimmers, gymnasts, track and field, tennis, badminton, table tennis, volleyball, golf, basketball, figure skating, etc, to their corresponding male sports counterparts.

By some metrics, size speed power, men are definitely ahead. Skill? Maybe push.

But women’s sport has a grace and beauty all of its own. Just like we dont expect male gymnasts and figure skaters to look as graceful as their female counterparts, why do we apply the same metric to lady sportsfolk, expecting them to outsize, outspeed, outstrong the men?

Women deserve sports of their own accord. Now i think they will do just fine if they are granted equal opportunities and resources, without men getting in the way via ugly bans or unfair exploitation. (With the national associations sometimes complicit.)
Gab Ynwa

Nothing to see
…so are we not going to talk about the hand ball?
Oliver (1966 all over again indeed!) Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland


…Unfortunate that England’s second only international football tournament win has to be once again tainted. Photos emerging showing the clear handball at the 26th min mark by England’s Williamson “tennis stroking” the ball less than a meter away from England’s goal line with her outstretched arm, the ball clearly contacting the mid arm and denying Germany a goal. The VAR referees reviewed it and stunningly didn’t even get the on field ref to look at it. If she did, clear hand ball, red for Williamson and either a goal given since it was about a meter from the goal line and heading towards goal or a penalty. There’s no way England win this game with a player down at the 26th min mark and a goal down. Unfortunate tainted win by England once again after the 1966 controversy where in the men’s final England were given a goal that decades later was conclusively proven by England’s own Oxford University was not a goal as the ball hits the goal line, chalk plumes upwards and the ball bounces out towards the pitch and away from the goal. The German women’s NT were clearly robbed by a gutless VAR crew.
Wolfgang Hamann


Teachable moment?
Obviously congrats to the ladies on a great tournament, it was amazing to see and brilliant to have the country behind them. It really was very moving to see an England side win a trophy.

I speak as someone who watches a reasonable amount of ladies football, mainly the WSL on TV admittedly, but I do also see a fair few local games as a mate plays for my town team.

But can we talk about the commentators and pundits yesterday, was it just me or did they suck a lot of the fun out of it? I felt like I was getting a bollocking from a teacher from start to finish. I understand the need to promote the game but constantly bitching at us for not going to games was really bugging. If I watch other sports which receive similar coverage such as cycling you don’t get preached at from start to finish. Can we just ease back on that a touch please?



Lose the hate
After an evening when England celebrated their first major football trophy in decades and the girls & boys across the country leap from their sofas in excitement at a thrilling Euro final, you chose to lead in this morning’s mailbox with some quasi-political hate speech about ‘gammons’. Not a comment on the perfect lob over the advancing German goalkeeper, not the solid defensive performance or even the moments when England rode their luck a bit…no, some folk are determined to turn everything into a ‘them and us’ commentary in a desperate attempt to feel ‘validated’ and worthy.

I won’t labour it here, but the term is hate speech. It refers specifically to white Christian men. There are plenty of other non-racial hate slurs which I am sure F365 would not allow. Whichever way you see it, the intention is to dehumanise and is the same slurs employed by far right organisations or in anti-Semitic tropes. But why is it even relevant? Shouldn’t we all applaud the fantastic success and the undoubted positive impact it will have on the women’s game? Firstly, to see anyone achieve their ultimate goal in a sport they have dedicated much of their lives to is worth applauding. But on top of that, some of the skill and touches on show were fit to grace any final.

Instead, you allowed your own prejudices to allow Dominic Littleford to make what should have been a celebration of the England team, all about him.


Sweet Jesus
“Generic celebration song, ba ba ba!
Sung by lots of different teams…”

Come on england fans, now that it’s Come Home(tm) surely it’s time to retire the ancient American crooner’s love song to his wife and come up with something more original – maybe a different take on Seven Nation Army or something??
Martin (just grumpy there was no Boogy at the Euros), Peckham

England players on stage at Trafalgar Square Credit: PA Images
England players on stage at Trafalgar Square Credit: PA Images

Prem predictions
It’s that time of the year again, so let’s go for it. Here are what I think will happen in EPL this season.

Pep Guardiola is a genius. Just let Liverpool play well and win the Community Shield and give them and all English pundits the belief that they would do well this season. You heard it here first, Liverpool will struggle massively because of the loss of Sadio Mane and the acquisition of Andy Carroll 2.2. Salah’s goals can’t be enough. Darwin can’t get up to 12 goals, and Firmino is a defensive striker.

Because Liverpool played very well in the Shield, watch those guys at Sky Sports (and some at F365) tip Liverpool to come out champions in May. How Klopp is the second coming of Sir Alex Ferguson, even though he has only one EPL in his seven years in English football. They never learn.

Top 4 prediction.

1. Man City will the league. It won’t be easy but the will win it in the end. Between Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling, City will miss losing Raheem more. They need to sign a winger in the calibre of Raheem. Jack can’t do anything good. He always tends to run into traffic. The consequence of losing Raheem Sterling could be felt in UCL.

2. Arsenal: Don’t laugh. I know at this point, you might think that I’m a comedian. No, I am not. I believe that Arsenal will do well this season because of Gabriel Jesus. I have never seen an Arsenal new signing as arrogant as he is. He doesn’t care about the opposition, he does his thing. And it has transmitted through the entire squad, his cockiness and confidence. Even Xhaka looks like Xavi. I hear you say it’s only preseason. You are right though.

3. Chelsea. Because of many 1-0 scoreline. They are going to win up to 19 matches with one-goal margin.

4. Liverpool. Salah is there. Van Dijk is there too. They will finish in the top four, but this position will be the end of Jurgen Klopp at the club who will leave at end the season to Real Madrid.

Jurgen Klopp will blame the bald heads of Pep and Eric Ten Hag as the reasons Liverpool had a poor season.

Conte will leave after the World Cup when Tottenham Hotspur goes eight games winless.

At some point in the campaign, Pep Guardiola will drop Haaland because of his obsession with playing false nine.

Gary Neville will go on his usual tirade against Ten Hag after United’s abysmal campaign, stating that the club would have gone for Mauricio Pochettino who has EPL pedigree. This would be after he’s had United to challenge for the title. Haha. Gary never learn.

Cristiano Ronaldo will CONTINUE to excuse himself from work because of family problem, especially when there is a Europa League game to play.

Top Scorers: Mohamed Salah 26 goals.
Haaland 23 goals.
Gabriel Jesus 21 goals
Harry Kane 18 goals

Two promoted clubs will avoid relegation.

Clubs to be relegated.
Nottingham Forest

First manager to be sacked? Frank Lampard.

As always, the Mailbox will be dominated by Liverpool and Man United fans throughout the season.
Sage Humphrey (The Invincible)


Conspiracy theory
Garey Vance sure has a lot of spare time doesn’t he.

I’m not convinced there is any advantage or disadvantage to having back to back home or away games – for every point you make there is an equally valid counter-argument. And surely it is just the way it has panned out as opposed to some sort of anti United agenda.

Just relax Garey.
Dave (Berkshire spur)

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