I’m quite excited about today. It’s the first day of the World Cup, one of the biggest football tournaments, which means a month of almost continual football. I’ll be watching as many as I can, and nothing, absolutely nothing, will make me miss an England game (Wales didn’t qualify, so I don’t feel guilty about supporting England!). I’ll be there, shouting at the TV, holding my head in my hands when it gets stressful and whooping with joy when (if!) we score.
You see, I’m a huge football fan. Sometimes, I’ve sat up and watched matches on TV and Graham has sodded off to bed. I’ve never been to a football match because, well, money and kids, and the fact that I live 140 miles away from my hometown kind of stops that, but I love football as much as many blokes. I’m an Aston Villa fan (because someone has to support them!) and watch every match I can. I chat about football with a couple of the dads at the school gates. We pay an extortionate amount of money for the sports channels on TV purely for footie and dabble a bit on football betting sites. My Facebook profile photo has the Villa badge on, and it’s in my Twitter bio.
I’m not massively knowledgeable about the game, I admit. I can tell if a team is playing well, and I have a basic grasp of the offside rule, but some of it does go over my head. It doesn’t stop me enjoying it though. I’ve always liked football to some degree, watching all the Euro and World Cup games with my dad, but league football was something I only started enjoying about eight years ago. My dad and brothers are huge Villa fans, so it was only natural that I would be too. Thankfully, so is Graham! I admit that my interest in football probably started when I was a teenager and I discovered David Beckham (Dave, it’s been 20 years now. Give me a call, hey?) but now it’s not just about watching 22 men running about on a field in shorts. Honestly!
A couple of weeks ago, Villa had a big match, against Fulham – the Championship Play-Offs. Basically, if we had won that, we would have been back up in the Premier League. We were back in Birmingham for that weekend and watched it with my dad. My heart was racing through most of it, and when we lost, there was a genuine feeling of disappointment and sadness. I had obviously been tweeting about it, and for the week following the game, I was inundated with tweets and DM’s from men, some Fulham fans, some Birmingham City (our biggest rival) and some from some men who clearly just wanted to be dicks. It ranged from friendly banter and joking to some quite nasty messages from blokes who were clearly threatened or upset by a female who enjoys football. I was told I couldn’t possibly know what I was talking about because I was a woman to being told I must be a closet lesbian. I didn’t really understand how enjoying watching men play football makes me gay, but hey, that’s the mentality of some of these pillocks. I’ve also been told by these trolls – because that is what they are – that I like football purely to get male attention. Go figure…
I’m not sure why it seems so confusing to some men (and note I say SOME, because I know it’s not all men), that women like football as well. In fact, the most passionate and footie obsessed person I know is a woman. But, we still live in a world where the fact that I don’t have a penis means I can’t follow a particular sport. It’s quite funny, but it’s also highly irritating when it is assumed you know nothing about something you like because of your sex.
So, when it comes to the World Cup games, I’ll be there, cheering along, probably with a can of beer in my hand like the best of them. Because women can, and do love football.