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A guide to the best “WoSo” media for new Sunderland Women supporters!

If you’re new to women’s football you can get fully immersed in the game this season with these great blogs, podcasts and social media accounts from Sunderland and beyond.

Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

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Welcome to the siblinghood of women’s football. Loads of people like you have been inspired to start following the other half of the beautiful game this summer - our triumphant Lionesses have inspired so many, young and old, to join us and it’s wonderful to see.

It was wonderful to see people packed into Eppleton last Sunday, similar numbers will be at Maiden Castle for the River Wear derby new Sunday, and then who knows what the attendance figures will be at the Stadium of Light on 27th August.

The world of “WoSo” (women’s soccer - an Americanism that makes many English supporters wince when used over here) is, as you will discover, full of interesting and passionate voices, some great writers, fun social media channels, and plenty of alternative ways of being a football fan on show.

Coverage of the women’s game outside the WSL can sometimes be a little bit patchy, and to get the full experience of following the Lasses this season you’ll have to dig a little deeper around the internet.

So, beyond Roker Report, what should you be reading and listening to?

Sunderland Ladies v Durham Women - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Stu Forster - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Live Coverage & Highlights

Sunderland AFC streamed the final home game of last season against Bristol City on the club’s YouTube channel, and General Manager Alex Clark told us back in May that they plan to do this as standard in the coming season, so wherever you are you’ll be able to watch the Lasses games from Eppleton and the Stadium of Light games for free.

BBC Radio Newcastle is also planning to provide radio coverage of Sunderland Women this season, with a dedicated expert commentary team being lined up as we speak. We’ll bring you more news of this when it’s made public.

A select number Barclay’s Women’s Championship, FA Cup and Conti Cup games are streamed on the FA Player app and website, and highlights and full match replays are generally posted at around lunchtime the day following the games.

There's also a Championship highlights programme put out on a weekly basis, as well as special videos. Create an account, select Sunderland as your team, and you will get a personalised experience including highlights of every game last season.

All of the first round of games will be carried live with audio and video on the FA Player, including our away game at Durham and, on special occasions like Women’s Football Weekend, the whole schedule is broadcast.

If the FA Player isn’t covering our match when we play away from home you, can sometimes get a live video stream or radio commentary from the opposition.

Bristol City and Sheffield United have streamed their games in the past, and Lewes FC offer a “monthly” club ownership membership that for £5 that will give you access to a live stream when we play down at the Dripping Pan next March.

Our friend Paul Waugh from Radio Plus Coventry provides live commentary of every Coventry United home game, and if you can’t watch the opening game at the weekend on the FA Player, Durham hospital radio will have their regular commentary streaming for free online.


Sunderland folk

The club’s official Twitter account is obviously the first place to start @SAFCWomen. Get your alerts set up for the latest official announcements from the Lasses, including transfers and ticketing information.

Sunderland AFC Women’s official photographer and match reporter for the Sunderland Echo, Chris Fryatt, is the first person you should follow on Twitter @ChrisFryatt. His website chrisfryatt.com is packed full of galleries of the Lasses games over the last few years, and he tweets about the Lasses regularly.

Then, of course, there are the players and coaches themselves, as well as former players too. Unlike the stars of the men’s game, the Lasses are pretty nifty when it comes to their use of social media - with Instagram and TikTok being their natural domains.

Head Coach Mel Reay’s Twitter account @mel_anie_7 is a good insight into life as one of the top-rated coaches in the country and now she’s full-time with the club, as is her assistant Steph Libbey @StephLibbey and captain Keira Ramshaw @Keys_Safc94.

The youth set-up at the club has always been our bread and butter - we recruit the majority of our senior squad from their ranks rather than from outside the region - and our Regional Talent Club @SunderlandRTC and the Foundation of Light Women’s Scholars Programme @FoLScholars post regular updates about their activities and games.

Sunderland Ladies v Durham Women - FA Women’s Championship Photo by Will Matthews/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Championship fan media

There’s a burgeoning group of fan media outlets in the Barclay’s Women’s Championship, and they’re really rather good.

Crystal Palace blog and podcast The Eagle Eye View @EagleEyeView29 is the best place for all the latest from the south Londoners. They run regular Twitter spaces, including guests from their club and across the league.

One of the longest-running fan media groups at our level is the Bristol City Vixencast @BCVixenCast. DM, Nat, and Shahan are knowledgable and dedicated fans who follow their team home and away.

Our closest rivals Durham WFC have a podcast too - Durham Roarcast - hosted by their club commentator John Middleton.

Sheffield United Women v Liverpool Women - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by George Wood - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

General women’s football media

Magazines

She Kicks Magazine is the bible of women’s football in England. It’s been edited by former Sunderland AFC player Jen O’Neill @SheKicksMag, who is also a regular contributor to the Roker Report Lasses podcast.

The best thing about their content is that it treats grassroots football as seriously as the Champions League, and gives voice to the women who make this game what it is at all levels.

If you want to know all about the Barclay’s Women’s Championship, this is essential reading. Subscribe to the print edition on their website for £25 a year at https://shekicks.net.

Blogs

Since 71 is an English fan-led blog that covers the whole of women’s football and features writing in the long tradition of fanzines and fan culture. This is the authentic voice of the grassroots women’s football fan. The people behind it are totally committed to ensuring that it’s not just the big brands at the top of the WSL who get coverage, and their writers are drawn from a range of different backgrounds.

For last last decade, Girls On The Ball has acted as a hub for the women’s game in Britain, featuring some of the best writers and showcasing the best of rest from women’s football fan media. One of the most useful features is the Transfer Tracker where you can see at a glance all the incomings and outgoings at every club in the top two tiers of English football.

England v Germany: Final - UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Photo by Sarah Stier - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Podcasts

Upfront from Stak is from the same stable as The Football Ramble and The Offensive, an irreverent and opinionated pod that won’t pull punches when it comes to criticising the authorities, managers and players when they deserve it. WSL focused, but now and again Tier 2 and below gets a mention.

Another great independent weekly pod is Two Girls Talk Balls, Charlotte and Tamsin talk candidly and with great authority about the English game at all levels. It has an authentic, familiar feel to it, the presenters’ passion and purity of their fandom comes through loud and clear.

The Woso Show is a slick, well-produced and very well-established transatlantic pod where you’re as likely to hear about Atlas v Monterrey in the Liga MX Femenil in Mexico as you are the Women’s FA Cup in England. I really like the breadth and depth of their coverage, and the way they deal with the big issues - sexism, racism, commercialisation - that women’s football faces across the global game.

The Guardian Women’s Football Weekly is the new kid on the block and follows the same basic format as the long-established juggernaught Guardian Football Weekly podcast. With Faye Carruthers and Suzy Wrack joined by the biggest and best names in football, including Guardian colleagues like Jonny Liew, so far it’s been Lionesses-focused and we should expect it to concentrate on the WSL.

Carruthers also hosts TalkSport 2’s weekly Monday night Women’s Football Weekly show, which is released as podcast as well. It’s a good listen and regularly features the Women’s Championship as well as the WSL and the international game.

And, last but certainly not least, if you’ve not already heard Mackem legend Jill Scott’s Coffee Club podcast on BBC Sounds from earlier in the year it’s well worth a listen as it gives a platform for all your favourite Lionesses to tell their career stories.


This is just a snapshot of what’s out there based on my own reading and listening habits. There are loads many more newspapers, podcasts, websites, social media accounts and radio stations doing a great job of increasing the coverage of our game to the growing audience.

There’s also a whole world of women’s football video content to be found on YouTube and TikTok that I’ve not even touched upon here.

Comment below if there’s an outlet you like that you think others will enjoy too, and if you fancy getting involved in writing or podcasting from a Sunderland fan’s perspective, send us a messages on Twitter or email us at rokerreportlasses@yahoo.com.

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