Tuesday 5 July 2022

I'm Back! And There's A Major Tournament To Attend...

Hello! Long time no see! I never envisaged I would have been so busy since last August that
groundhopping had to take a backseat. Everything is (hopefully) in order now, so I’ll be back travelling around football grounds for the 2022/23 season. 

And it starts with a major tournament that’s kicking off tomorrow.

The Women’s European Championships is taking place in England and promises to be a great celebration (and examination of) the women’s game. Over 500,000 tickets have been sold and I’ve been fortunate enough to grab a ticket for five of the fixtures, including tomorrow’s opening game as England take on Austria at Old Trafford, as well as for the Final at Wembley at the end of the month.

I’ve been to a few women’s games for the purposes of this blog and each time it’s been an enjoyable watch – it offers a vastly different atmosphere to the men’s game (and that’s putting it lightly!), which I think is to its credit. I’ll probably expand on this more during the tournament, but I feel that the women’s game needs to offer something different to stand on its own – and there’s no doubt that this tournament offers a more ‘family friendly’ appeal which needs to be promoted throughout to try and get more people into enjoying the experience of supporting a football club.

Living in the North West has afforded me some decent games to attend in the next month – aside from the opening game at the home of Manchester United, I’m going to see a match this Saturday at Leigh Sports Village (a 40 minute bus ride from my home in Wigan!), another at Manchester City’s Academy Stadium and a semi-final at somewhere a bit ‘further afield’ – Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane! This is the biggest football tournament England has hosted since (the men’s) Euro 96 (the 2005 version of the Women’s Euros, ironically hosted in the North West of England, came and went without anywhere near the fanfare this edition has already had), so it represents a significant milestone in the women’s game in this country and I feel it’s important to document it.

Aside from the blogs about Euro 2022, I’ll be finishing a blog I started last year (yes, LAST YEAR!) as I attended ‘El Glassico’ – the derby between St. Helens Town and Pilkington. And of course, there’s the final part of my book series, Playing Offside, that needs to be finished. I started writing Volume Five nearly 3 years ago now and just haven’t had the time and the strength to complete it. I’m hoping it’ll be finished by late summer but cannot promise anything. I CAN promise that it’ll be the most expansive volume of the series as it takes in the 2018/19 season and part of the 2019/20 season (pre-COVID!)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading my upcoming blogs, the Euros and/or even any pre-season games you might be attending. I’m looking forward to getting back to blogging; hoping these Euros can act as a catalyst for me to get back to it full-time!