what it is like to be a female football fan

i know a lot of people don’t like football. this goes for both women and men. i have lost almost all of my female followers on twitter, because of my football tweets. being into sports, and especially football makes people react in different ways. in this post, i will tell you about my experience.

the people who know me, know what i really love football. i can rarely have a conversation without mentioning my favourite football club, the magnificent stoke city. when i meet new people, both female and male, they tend to question my interest with a few different questions and sayings.

“so is stoke city your dads favourite team as well?”
no, stoke city isn’t my dads favourite team. he stopped watching football a long time ago. now he only follows stoke city’s results, so he can bully me if we loose.

“your boyfriend must be really into football then?”
i don’t even think my boyfriend knows the rules of football. he is certainly not a supporter of any kind of team.

“where is your boyfriend, love?”
i attend a lot of games alone, both home and away. i don’t mind going by myself, as i always have fun. except for when people sitting next to me etc. ask me where my boyfriend is. i came here by myself, and i am here to watch the game. don’t bother me!

“you know a lot about football. for a girl”
this is the most used phrase, and it annoys me. i don’t know everything about football, but i would say i know a fair amount. why can’t people just say: “you know a lot about football”? i also experience being underestimated and left out of the conversation, because “girls don’t understand the passion and the game”.

there are a lot of guides for men on the internet, on “how to get your girl interested in sports?” these are often written by women, and they explain that you’ll have to bribe a woman for her to watch sports and that a lot of women don’t even know the rules to sports. seeing articles like that makes me really angry, cause it supports the thought of women not being able to be interested in sports unless a man she is close to is.

my question is, why can’t female football fans, be just football fans?

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travelogue: millwall vs watford

after getting of the london public transport, i was ready for seeing a team and at a stadium i’ve heard much about. the den was the arena for:

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i came and saw a millwall bus, a millwall café and tons of old men wearing millwall gear from head to toe. you could see that these people really love millwall. when i came the stadium it felt really small and intimate, but also very big and grand. i found this really interesting and therefore this fast became one of my favourite stadiums i’ve visited (until now). i sat on the 5th row on the lower ground, and it almost felt like i was on the pitch when i was watching the players play football. i must say i find it a bit weird that their main sponsor is prostate cancer uk, if you just look at their t-shirts.

this was my view:
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what also made it quite interesting was that it was kind of a local match. the watford fans were ecstatic, and the millwall fans didn’t hesitate to answer back. the atmosphere was electric.

1. food wasn’t anything special. i’ve had to start bringing my own packed lunch, cause i really can not eat hot dogs at football games every day. but the menu here, mostly consisted of pies, so it didn’t bother me that much.
2. toilets were quite cold and a bit rough, but i’ve started to become happy if the toilets at football stadiums have either a toilet seat or toilet paper, so the standard is not that high in general.
3. admission was quite okay. i payed student admission, so i can not complain at all. i’ve done 1/3 of this project now and i love every stadium who has a student option.
4. alcohol was not expensive, but nobody seemed to care.
5. programme was quite fun, and i liked the interview with one of my new favourite players, nicky bailey, and i really liked the fact that is was so informative for children.

i was not ready to leave the den when the game was over:
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the game ended 2-2. a match report is available from here. it is definitely informative. when the day of amazing english football was over, i travelled to my friend, robert, in didcot, to enjoy an exotic night of meeting local people.

until the next game you can watch a former millwall supporter portrayed by lillyhammer:


travelogue: qpr vs nottingham forest

after a four day just-being-at-work break, i had to wake up early this saturday for my train to london. this first game started at 12.22 and my train left from stoke-on-trent at about 9 in the morning. when i arrived at stoke train station i’ve never seen so many people wanting to board a train, in my entire life (or in stoke at least), so i became quite pessimistic about getting a seat on this train, but i managed and my good mood for the day was saved! i was actually going to see:

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getting to loftus road was harder then i expected though, these three weeks i’ve been groundhopping i’ve experienced that london as a city are very bad on doing road signs to where stadiums are placed. or maybe i should just start planning how to get places from the train station? i travelled from shepards market, which i read online was supposed to be the easiest way of getting there, i think not!

i was excited for this game because:
1. i’ve heard that nottingham forest is the only team that have one the champions cup twice, and are not playing in their top division, so they should be good!
2. i find qpr to be a bit weird, since they’ve had four different home shirt colours, before they decided to stick to the blue.
3. also, i’ve heard very different things about loftus road, people either hate it or love it. so i was excited to see it with my own eyes.

when i finally arrived at the stadium i felt that it was a bit small and tight, but the atmosphere was okay and i definitely had a good time. i would think that anywhere you sit in this stadium you would feel close to the pitch, which is always a good thing!

a photo that shows my view at loftus road:

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at half time it was time for reviewing some of the facilities:
1. food was mostly pies, but the hot dogs looked really, really nice.
2. toilets were okay, but i thought they were a bit tiny.
3. admission prices were actually quite expensive, this ticket was 30 pounds, which i think is a lot!
4. alcohol was quite expensive, but easy to get.
5. i sadly didn’t get a programme. i don’t know what happened here, but i think i just forgot, cause i knew i had one more game to go to this day.

yossi benayoun was the man of the match against nottingham forest, and here you see why:

the game was exciting, there were three goals in the last six minutes (!) and you can read the match report here. it ended 5-2, but i had to move on, cause i was going to see another game and had to run to another stadium.


travelogue: sheffield united vs rotherham

after 4 whole days of working and traveling to football every day i could feel that it if i was going to do this every day, i would burn out pretty fast. working 8 hours a day, then traveling 2-4 hours a day for watching football, will drain a lot of energy of you and fast. but i was ready for this meet-up:

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i was excited for going to see sheffield united, cause i’ve heard that they have great supporters, and also that the stadium is pretty old school english. when i arrived in sheffield i was a bit early, so i managed to walk to the stadium, and that was about a 20 minute walk. i always prefer walking, because this gives me some view of the local area and the attractions around. sheffield was perfect for walking, but the city was full of police men on horses. i am used to police men at football games, but i’ve never seen so many for such a small game. this might have had to do with the fact that this was a local rivalry game. already when i was five minutes away from the stadium i could hear people yelling and cheering for their team (and shouting really rude banter). sheffield were excited for wembley and rotherham tried their best to scream back at them.

i was on the right track, i could feel it and even see it:

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when i came to the stadium i got a seat behind a teenager full of rage. he was angry that i sat behind him i think, cause that meant he couldn’t stand up during the game and scream and curse. but it was a fun experience just to watch him, as well as the game.

this was my view at bramall lane:

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when half time came i reviewed the facilities:
1. food selection was not that amazing. mostly pies, which i almost find in every stadium, but i never try them. i haven’t got the taste for them just yet, i guess.
2. bathrooms were really cold, i think i’ve never been to such a cold bathroom!
3. admission was expensive, i think for a game of it’s size.
4. alcohol was easy to get, but not really cheap.
5. the programme was fun and entertaining, i would love to read more!

the game ended 1-0. i will not write a match report, you can read it here. but i’ve noticed that i have quite a good statistic for the home team to win, so if you want your team to win, you should invite me to a football game.

they also sing this fantastic greasy chip butty song, at every game:

it didn’t seem like sheffield united focused that much on this game, they had their eyes on the fa-cup semi-final. which i was gonna visit later that week.


travelogue: tottenham vs sunderland

the weekend was over, and monday cause, everyone loves mondays, and especially when you’re gonna watch:

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after the match the day before, it felt a bit weird to go to white heart lane. but after a day at work, i got a taxi down to the train station for the 1 1/2 hour train ride to london. someone at the train had taken my reserved seat, but i kindly asked them to move and she and her friend spent the whole train ride looking at me and laughing, which was not polite. but i tried to get pumped and ready for the match i was going to by thinking of something nice, so…

i thought about tottenham and what i do know about them:
– one of the hottest players in football history, garth bale, used to play for them.
and that is about all i could think off…

i got down to london euston and pulled out my oyster card. it is a card that always comes in handy when in london. so tip: GET ONE! you might never have to queue again. i went on the victoria line to seven sisters and started looking for a way to go. there was so no signs. so london, get your signing together! i asked some locals and they told me to get on the bus, and that might be the best thing i did that night, cause white heart lane was pretty far away from the seven sisters, and i was pretty late.

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i got to white heart lane, picked up my ticket, asked the hosts where i was supposed to go, but no one knew. apparently they never heard of block 38. this made me 10 minutes late to the actual game, which made me quite upset. since i was already late, i just sat in a random seat, which the hosts inside of the arena didn’t like. they yelled at me and asked me to see my ticket. i moved to my actual seat, which turned out to be in front of a spanish dad and his 2 year old son. the father wanted to speak to his son in spanish and the son wanted to kick the back of my seat through the entire game. so, you can say that it was a bit annoying.

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i was really happy when half time came, cause then i could get some food and also check out the facilites:
1. food was really good, hot dogs i give two thumbs up.
2. bathrooms were okay, might ask for some more womens bathrooms. 
3. admission prices were very expensive. this is one of the most expensive game i’ve been to so far, with 37 pounds for one of the cheapest tickets.
4. alcohol is almost impossible to get at half time almost anywhere, but the prices here were reasonable, it depends what you’re getting.
5. i sadly didn’t get a programme, cause i couldn’t find a seller cause it was pouring outside when i came to the stadium.

the match was full of goals. it ended 5-1. a full match report, you can read here. and after leaving i spoke to some sunderland fans on the train. they were quite upset, some of them even ready for relegation. me, i wasn’t ready for the 2 and a half hour slow train ride back to stoke-on-trent.


travelogue: everton vs arsenal

i had to wake up early on sunday. maybe too early after all the traveling from the day before. i had to book a taxi to the train station, cause i slept a bit too long (ops!), but i luckily i got to stoke train station in time to make my way to goodison park. this is a stadium with a lot of history. the game i was about to see was a crucial game, cause everton getting points would lead them closer to a forth place.

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when i came to the ground, it was filled with people dressed in blue, i was definitely in the right place. but i needed to find my friend, who had got my ticket. so i needed to get to the away end. after about a twenty minute wait, he showed up and i was relieved. there is no such thing as mobile coverage on a match day! so the best thing is to be prepared some days before.

i walked around the stadium once more, before heading in for the game, so i could really get the feel of goodison park. it is a really great ground! i also do fancy a good scouse accent, so just walking around, listening to all the people talking about football on a match day, is not exactly the worst thing you can do on a sunday.

three facts about goodison park, which i find interesting are:
– it was the first major football stadium to be built in england.
– this is the place where wayne rooney grew to be the player he is now.
– they have a church (!) at the stadium, called st. lukes.

suddenly on my walk around the stadium, i discovered, amongst the brilliant the picture history wall, my friend, wayne rooney. of course, i had to stop and take a photo, and there is also an interesting fact at the bottom:


i got in the stadium. found my place and stood amongst the arsenal fans, which was an experience of it’s own. they’re really dedicated after what has happened this past season.

at halftime i checked out the facilities:
1. food looked really good, they had some pies which i always find to look good, but the queue was too long.
2. bathrooms were okay, but it could have been a bit warmer.
3. admission prices were a bit expensive, but i would have excepted them to be at this game.
4. alcohol is almost impossible to get at half time almost anywhere, but the prices here were a bit stiff at about 4 pounds for 600 ml.
5. programmes are a bit too full of advertisement, but they have good information about players.

i probably do not need to tell you what happened it this game, but the match ended 3-0. if you want to read a proper match report, you’re welcome to, right here. after talking to some of the people in the seats next to me, it turned out we had friends in common and i joined them to the only place they felt right about going after the game, the pub (and hostel) king harry. it became a late afternoon of frustration and discussions about wenger.

the view from my seat:


good luck in the FA cup today arsenal!


travelogue: blackburn rovers vs ipswich town

after running to the train station from wigan, cause this game was on the same saturday. i was ready for another game at ewood park. this time i would have shorter time to make it to the stadium, but i went to the station mill hill, instead of blackburn, which is a tip, cause then it is shorter to walk. the stadium was placed in what i find to be a weird place, in between a mc donalds and tons of houses!?! but after finding the ticket office, and getting my ticket i was ready for:

Image  vs  Image

what i can say, is that i do not know a lot about ipswich town. but what i do know, is that blackburn rovers have had quite a lot of norwegians playing for them over the years, to mention some:
– henning berg.
– stig inge bjørnebye (heia start!)
– martin andresen.
and last but not least, morten gamst pedersen, who some might say is the one who has made the biggest career outside of football, by doing this commercial (sorry, no subtitles, but it is still enjoyable):

when half time came i checked out the facilities. the ground itself is quite nice, the supporter shop is impressive (i went there after the match to buy a programme). admission price was reasonable, i would expect a greater atmosphere for £20, but that depends on the match you go to, i guess. the food (or should i say hot dogs?) was not that great, but i guess if you like pies, this is the stadium for you to travel to.

a lonely ipswich player:


if you want a match report, you will find one here. the atmosphere wasn’t as great as i’d expected it to be. i was even surprised as to how few ipswich supporters had shown up. there should have been more. where i was sitting i didn’t have the best view, cause of some poles, which also made the match less good.

you can see the view that i had over ewood park in this really short clip:
(which might help you to understand my frustration over the poles)

to prove the atmosphere isn’t the greatest here, half of the people at this match even left 15 minutes before the game ended, even though the home team was winning.

the match ended 2-0.


have you ever been to ewood park?