Having no fewer than 3 YouTube videos circulated in short succession that revealed Andy Gray to be somewhat less than enlightened concerning the role of women in the soccer universe, the Sky Sports pundit found himself yet another member of Scotland’s unemployed. Ch. 4’s Joyce Woolridge took it all in and was less than shocked ; “I thought that they were relatively mild and exactly what you’d anticipate hearing, in private, from an ex-professional of Gray’s age and pedigree…many men would agree that women should have no place in football, except in the service industry (and I’ll leave it up to you how widely you define the range of possible services).”
Kicking a ball around, however badly, with the addition of testicles, qualifies you as an expert opinion and potential official; just the testicles make you a real supporter. Women have, for some of the hardcore, done their bit to dilute the atmosphere within grounds and get in the way of the matey, blokeish experience.
The worst I’ve ever been called in print, in a fanzine, was a “c**t”, with the asterisk included (and a fulsome apology for any offence caused followed later) – even the current Culture Secretary has been dubbed that on the airwaves.
But I have always considered myself an outsider as a supporter and writer because I am female, just as Sian Massey and those who follow her will continue to be regarded as for a long time to come.
And no amount of supportive tweets from that unlikely feminist Rio Ferdinand leads me to expect any different.