Natasha Chahal

From The Blog
21 August 2023

To paraphrase Ed Miliband in 2015, this is not the piece I wanted to write; this team has come back before and will come back again. Maybe it’s glib to compare football to politics but try telling that to the politicians. Keir Starmer has been lending his support to the women’s national team on social media. His style of play, he says, is ‘midfield, controlling operations, strong left foot’, though he admits his teammates might not describe him that way. Rishi Sunak, meanwhile, managed to mangle the cliché about a team leaving ‘everything on the pitch’ or ‘nothing in the dressing room’ and told the England women that they ‘left absolutely nothing out there’, though he went on to say: ‘We are all incredibly proud of you.’ I can only assume he didn’t really mean it but which part is unclear.

From The Blog
10 August 2023

The BBC coverage began with a children’s choir singing a song from Roald Dahl’s Matilda: The Musical over a montage of the players then and now. Now I know that these women playing for the national team used to be teeny tiny girls with big big dreams and I am delighted they keep inspiring a generation but there’s no need to keep infantilising them. When Chloe Kelly sat down for an interview on Good Morning Britain after winning the Euros in 2022, Richard Madeley insisted on calling her ‘Coco’ because ‘that’s what I call my daughter Chloe’. He asked Alessia Russo: ‘How are you feeling? It’s three days on now. If I was your dad and asked you that – “how are you feeling love” – what would you say?’ As far as I know, though, he isn’t her dad.

From The Blog
21 July 2023

Football fans often like to say ‘it’s not about the football.’ Sometimes that’s true: when the England women’s national team won the European Championship last summer, the collective joy felt by women around the country, irrespective of fandom levels, really wasn’t about the football. Although there was some excellent football on display throughout: if you aren’t already familiar with Alessia Russo’s back heel goal against Sweden from every possible angle, I don’t know what to tell you.

From The Blog
28 July 2022

In January, after Chelsea beat West Ham 4-2, the Sun ran the headline: ‘Cuthbert Harder! Chelsea scorers sound like posh people having sex.’ Erin Cuthbert tweeted that she wished ‘people reported on the actual match reports and women’s football with the same level of enthusiasm’. The article was eventually removed from the Sun’s website even though Piers Morgan defended it: ‘Calm down ladies, it’s called HUMOUR. This kind of stuff happens to male players all the time. Get over yourselves.’ My eyes cannot roll back far enough. 

From The Blog
26 May 2022

Turin for English football fans is synonymous with Italia 90 and Paul Gascoigne’s tears but for the 32,257 people at the Allianz stadium on Saturday it meant something else entirely. Ordinarily the Allianz is home to the Juventus men’s team but last weekend’s fixture was Olympique Lyonnais Féminin v. FC Barcelona Femení in the UEFA Women’s Champions League final. Women’s football tends to be marketed to children and the women’s liberation movement, which is nice and infuriating in equal measure.

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