Ant Waterson says...
Let’s face it, England’s men are going to win the two games that bookend this weekend. Albania and San Marino - it's not going to be very entertaining at all.
Why don’t you take in a weekend of women’s football action? The FA player is showing every WSL and WSL 2 game this weekend so you can pick your team and watch it, and for free I might add.
If you are local like me, you can go watch top-of-the-table Durham play former WSL champions, Liverpool, in what promises to be a massive clash. Both teams boast sides full of internationals, and Durham and coming local players such as Molly Lambert and Beth Hepple for example.
As for Sunderland, they are away to Watford in a battle of the promoted sides. A win will surely see another season in WSL 1 for the Lasses. I love the team, the spirit they play in, and most importantly they are a lovely group of girls who are fighting for every point.
You won’t see them diving for a penalty or rolling around injured because someone has sneezed on them. You will see eleven lasses fighting for each other, their manager, their shirt, and the badge. Get yourself along if you live in the London area. You won’t be disappointed.
Also, the players often stop out to sign every autograph and pose for every selfie. A great group and they deserve the best.
Rich Speight says...
Women’s Football Weekend - it’s really all about getting new people involved in the women’s game and everyone is welcome - old and young, male and female, gay, straight, black and white.
There’s wall-to-wall coverage on the telly and on the FA Player, and loads of games to go to, and this is a boon for the enthusiasts like us but also an invitation for everyone else to give it a go. Like Ant says, many people in the North East will be taking the chance to nip along to Durham to watch them play Liverpool at noon on Sunday before settling in at home to watch Sunderland away at Watford later in the afternoon (have we mentioned that we’re providing an alternative match commentary during a watch party on Twitter Spaces?).
Women’s football is celebrating (or should it be commemorating) 100 years since it was outlawed by the FA, essentially to protect the men’s game and ensure it had a monopoly on audiences, after the First World War. It didn’t return until the 1970s, by which time attitudes and habits had hardened against it, to the point that still today some are derogatory about the sport.
This weekend, with no Premier League and Championship on the TV and Sunderland’s men’s game postponed due to international call-ups - if people are looking for a football fix beyond some third-rate qualifiers - there’s no better time to sample the delights of women’s football.
I’ve spoken to a couple of blokes recently who almost stumbled upon the game and were quickly sucked in by the passion of the players, the friendliness of the crowds, the competitiveness of the games and the skill levels on show.
Especially when its played by a mix of amateur, part-time and lower-paid pros, women’s football at this level represents almost as close as we can get to the working-class roots of the sport. There really is no reason not to give it a go.
Graeme Field says...
I started watching women’s football a couple of seasons ago now and really look forward to getting along to watch as many games as I can. The game is growing and improving all of the time and there’s a family atmosphere at the matches. Players will take the time to speak to supporters, get photos taken and sign autographs after the game and there is a real connection between the players and supporters.
Now Women’s Football Weekend is in its third year, and what a brilliant initiative it is to help raise awareness of the women’s game. The team here at Roker Report are delighted to play a small part in raising this awareness on almost a daily basis. This weekend though there is an increased focus from clubs and media that is fantastic to see.
The coverage of the women’s game has been improving season on season. This season has seen an exciting development with live games shown on Sky Sports and the BBC.
It would be excellent to see more Sunderland fans supporting their women’s team. All of the FA Women’s Championship games, including ours, are being shown live on the FA Player I’d highly recommend doing this as it’s free of charge and you’ll be able to watch the full match, Watford Women against Sunderland Ladies, with a 15:30 kick-off.
The Sunderland Ladies team would love your support and you’ll see a Sunderland side that is full of quality and plays the game in the right way, with plenty of energy and spirit too, a watch on the FA player, and then get yourself along to their next home game, you’ll enjoy it.