Making friends and terrible predictions – what it is like to host a women’s football podcast

<span>Alessia Russo of England celebrates victory on the final whistle during the Euro 2022 final between England and Germany at Wembley.</span><span>Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian</span>
Alessia Russo of England celebrates victory on the final whistle during the Euro 2022 final between England and Germany at Wembley.Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

“Plus, we’ll take your questions” – the most important part of my Tuesday morning introduction to you on the Guardian Women’s Football Weekly. If you’re a regular part of our crew, new to us and our idiosyncrasies, or haven’t yet downloaded the greatest podcast ever produced (I’ll leave you to judge that) we welcome you in with open arms. Your opinion matters and your questions are a vital part of what we do. In essence, you are as much a panellist as our eclectic mix of women’s football experts, rotated and gathered together each week to have a conversation about the latest dramas on and off the pitch wherever women’s football is played around the world.

When Suzy Wrack and I were asked to start the Guardian Women’s Football Weekly podcast in the summer of 2022 before the Women’s Euros, we were full of excitement and anticipation. We knew this was the Lionesses’ time to shine and we wanted to make sure as many people as possible came for the ride with us. This remains the only correct prediction we have made since launching the pod. But it wasn’t just Sarina Wiegman’s side taking centre stage, it was women’s football and that summer gave birth to a whole new audience of fans. Twenty months later, with more fantastic players emerging and new stories to tell, our tribe keeps expanding as the sport continues its phenomenal growth. There is still much to do though, and every week we make sure all aspects of the game are covered, including the numerous challenges it faces.

Despite the tough subjects we sometimes have to discuss, every podcast we record is great fun. To date, my favourite episode was recorded in a Premier Inn, around the corner from Wembley Stadium, approximately three hours after England’s historic win over Germany in the European Championship final. I had been pitchside and witnessed the players making snow angels in ticker tape, Jill Scott handed me a beer in the tunnel and I recorded the players running from the dressing room on the way to gatecrash Wiegman’s post-match press conference.

After a rum and coke (one I promise – OK, another one en route as well) myself, Suzy and regular panellist Ceylon Andi Hickman begrudgingly left the BoxPark party to meet the Guardian writer Jonathan Liew at the hotel. Our producers Lucy and Chessie had set up the “cosy” room with microphones as myself and Ceylon shared the desk and Suzy and Jonny lay amusingly propped up by pillows on each side of the double bed. We had beer, sweets, crisps and, crucially, Mini Babybels. What came next was one hour of hilarity, pure joy and utter chaos. Four friends reminiscing over an epic final and tournament with other friends far and wide whom we’d never met but had felt the presence of every step of that crazy five weeks.

That’s what audio does: it creates an intimate bond and we feel that bond not just with each other, but with all of you who listen. You’re effectively inviting us into your home, your car or on your walk and I’d like to think we take our shoes off, are clean and tidy and keep you company as good guests should.

I hope you’re learning more about the game from the incredible panel of experts we put together every week who analyse and discuss the latest results, tactics, stories and news. But you don’t just get their insights, you get their personalities. Sophie Downey’s hats, Marva Kreel’s and Moyo Abiona’s love-hate relationship with Everton and Manchester United, Anita Asante’s tactical nous, Chris Paouros and her passion for equality (and ability to write songs). And who could forget about Suzy – Arsenal and lino drawing doesn’t even scratch the surface – is there anything this woman cannot do?

We’re hyper-aware there is a mix of people joining us, from those who’ve followed women’s football for ever, to those just joining the party and learning the history that makes it so special and inclusive. We also reach you around the world and that’s what we’re most proud of. We’re learning about football in your country and you’re following football in ours and elsewhere – sharing the love is very important. Which is why I want to share the pod love as well.

When we launched almost two years ago, we were one of a very small handful of women’s football podcasts – fast forward and we’re now competing in a pool alongside so many others, which is great to see. Counter Pressed, The Offside Rule, The Women’s Football Show and many more are all put together by people who love women’s football and bring their own unique take to it. This is a supportive environment and we can all help each other in growing the game.

I’m proud as punch to present this pod and, as we grow and reach new audiences, we do it all together, because the women’s football family is strong and used to fighting adversity. With terrible predictions a theme of Women’s Football Weekl, I look in my crystal ball and see a future where women’s football is shelved again for several decades and the podcast pool shrinks to zero. Who’s interested in a £1bn industry with dull participants? Thank goodness our predictions are always wrong!

Recommended listening

The latest Women’s Football Weekly is a focus on the NWSL with the 2024 season starting in March. Suzy, Megan Swanick and the former Portland Thorns manager Mark Parsons join me on the pod and you’ll be able to listen to it here or wherever you get your pods.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or comments about any of our newsletters please email And a reminder that Moving the Goalposts runs twice-weekly, each Tuesday and Thursday.