September 10, 2014 by bluenosebible
By Nat Peters
Despite watching a fair few games this season, I didn’t think I’d ever get too attached to the Blues ladies. At first they were a novelty; a cheap way of having another Sunday beer or ten whilst watching football with people I see at the Blues on a Saturday. But last night I made an effort to watch Everton vs. Blues’ Ladies on BT Sport, and am genuinely disappointed that we couldn’t capitalise on the vast amounts of pressure we created to get us the win that would have taken us to the top of the Women’s Super League table.
See, I’m using the word ‘we’ when talking about them. I think I saw the light (or floodlights) one pretty grim November evening in 2013. Blues were playing Russian side Zorkiy in the Champions League; OK, it was the female version of the Champions League, but it was still the Champions League and it’s fair to say that Blues don’t get involved that too often. Better still, Blues played them off the park, and it felt like a proper European night – OK there was only the Main Stand occupied rather than the full houses at Stan’s we had against Nacional and Brugge a few years back, but it felt good all the same.
There will be people who say “well it’s nothing on the men’s game”. OK, it may be not be comparable to the men’s game, but then no-one has pretended otherwise; the ladies who play the game don’t compare themselves to the men, so why should anyone else? Ultimately, the ladies game is a thriving and enjoyable sport in its own right, and it has never pretended to be anything else. And for people who doubt the general standard of the game; all I can say is come and watch it, you will be pleasantly surprised.
But one way in which it is comparable to the men’s game (and where it comes on top by a mile) is how the players interact with the fans, how human it actually feels. Through watching Blues Ladies, I’ve been able to chat and get to know players like Karen Carney and Katie “Wilky Way” Wilkinson, and they are so down to earth it’s unreal. I think Blues men’s players would probably be just as down to earth if they were to come into contact with fans like the ladies do, but the fact is the modern professional men’s game rarely allows such access. I enjoy the fact that after a Blues’ Ladies game I can sit and have a pint and talk the game over with someone like Karen Carney, I just do.
I’m not gonna lie, I think the support the Ladies get from Blues fans and in general is poor; the Blues Ladies have gone under once before because of a lack of support, and it should be desperately hoped they don’t go the same way again. Whilst the men’s team are bankrolled by shady and obscure characters, the Ladies are run by volunteers and the players who play for the love of the game, yet the turnout and general coverage from the local media (not Blues’ own media team who do a good job of covering the team in my opinion) seems to be non-existent a lot of the time, and I don’t know why.
But all I would say is that Blues’ Ladies have three league games to go of their season, and two are at home (Damson Park/Solihull Moors FC) on the 21st September at home to Liverpool and at home to Notts County on the 12th October. Last night’s draw at Everton means that winning the Women’s Super League title is out of our hands, but we can still do it, and our chances of doing it will improve greatly if there are big crowds for both games. With entry at just £6 for Adults and £3 for Concessions, what more can entice you to witness a title run-in?
You can read more of Nat’s thoughts on his blog: http://nattubes.wordpress.com/