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  • We Live in a Parallel Universe


    How would you feel about a parallel world in which Arsenal are the top dogs with far more trophies than all the rest? That we laugh at Liverpool, Man Utd and City?  Where we have had many Invincible seasons? Where Tottenham have won sweet fa? And we are the only English team to win in Europe? And we are ranked 3rd in Europe instead of 22 where we are at the moment? Wouldn’t that be nice? Would you go and live in that parallel world if you got the chance? If everything else is the same in your life except that Arsenal are the premier among premiers?


    Katie McCabe - a superstar of Arsenal and Ireland

    The strange thing is that this parallel world actually exists. You can live in it. In fact you do. It is the Arsenal’s women’s team who hoovered up most trophies for many years building up a bank of trophies that will take a very long time for any team to catch up to. Top in every domestic competition with 15 league titles and 14 FA Cups and many others. And the Arsenal team were the trailblazers for women’s football in the UK, they created the conditions to allow the national teams to challenge and win major trophies.

    Vic Akers the groundbreaker

    Soccer has become a viable choice for girls all over the world and yes, they are getting better all the time. Now it is a credible career option, and a superstar can make up to 400,000 pounds per year in the Women’s Super League (WSL). Although most pros make considerably less than that it seems like it is an upward curve for future participants. And as the Arsenal team now play major matches at the Emirates it is guaranteed that the salary pot can increase.


    Vic Akers  and the Arsenal miracles

    Now, for the uninitiated, there is a true Arsenal legend called Vic Akers who was involved with the Gunners since 1986. In 1987 he set up Arsenal Ladies and became their first and most successful manager. He pleaded with David Dein for funding for shirts, boots, etc and Mr Dein, being the canny football man that he was, figured the more human beings that love football, has to be good for the club. 50% of the population could now love Arsenal. This support fired Akers and the ladies to an unprecedented dominance in English football. They won and kept on winning. I should mention that Akers was also Arsenal’s kitman for the men’s teams throughout the Wenger years only losing his job when Wenger was hounded out.

    Male advocates

    That is one of the complex sides of all the gender difficulties that we humans have had to face, that men have often championed the female side as they seek advancement and equality. And so Akers and even Dein, through the ripple effect of their efforts to bring on the Arsenal ladies, as they were known then, helped create the conditions in which female football could flourish throughout the UK.

    And of course there is an Irish connection although I can’t find a Bulgarian one. Emma Byrne the goalkeeper won everything in a long career over 16 years for Arsenal from 2000 to 2016. She also won 134 caps for Ireland. Ciara Grant also won everything from 1998 to 2014 with a load of Ireland caps, and Katie McCabe is a stalwart of the current side and one of our most popular players.


    Emma Byrne was a goalkeeping legend at Arsenal

    As an aside I was on a flight from Dublin to London and sat beside Ciara Grant’s father who was a very interesting man and was very happy his daughter was with Arsenal.

    New, powerful rivals springing up like mushrooms

    Of course, now, Chelsea have become  a big noise in women’s football as have the other major teams. Arsenal are still contenders but no longer champions a bit like the men’s team. However, the move to the Emirates could see them return to their rightful place at the top. Competition is now tough and a dominance like Arsenal’s will never be seen again but it would be great to see us winning trophies once more.

    And so women’s football has made a remarkable journey. Now there are women all over the male game as excellent pundits, commentators, presenters, referees, and soon managers? It should happen. Men are always terrified of women as they take no nonsense and they would have put Aubameyang in his place a lot quicker than Arteta did. He might still be there if he had received his kick in the arse sooner.

    Women could bring us to a higher level

    I also believe that in officiating women could make a huge difference in gaining respect from players. A Roy Keane or a Martin Keown snarling and screaming at a woman would be quickly clamped down on and ostracized. We badly need officials to come through and that 50% of women gives us a great extra pool to bridge the gap, plus I suspect they could make great officials. That could soon sort out the nonsense that players get up to with refs.


    A woman would soon sort you out, Roy

    But will women’s soccer ever take equal billing? I doubt it. Nor do I believe they can achieve playing parity any time soon. That may be a bridge too far. The Arsenal under 15 team played the senior women’s team and were 7 up at half time. It is a big challenge to compete against men at any sport and soccer, as the most popular game in the world, has had a huge head start.

    A female Messi appears

    I would love to see, though, a woman playing in the men’s game. That may happen if a woman shows enough ability. It now happens regularly at school level so you never know. Golf and snooker allow women their chance but football is a different ask. But if someone shows enough ability they will play them, of that I am certain.


    Reanne Evans taking on the men in snooker

    It seems that this upward trajectory will continue. New fans are coming on board. It gains unprecedented levels of viewership both on TV and live in grounds. Unfamiliar teams have the chance to become heroes. Lyon are the world's best team and England are winning tournaments.


    Not the new female Messi

    I would have laughed out loud at the prospect of this happening when I was growing up. Women and girls used to fall over trying to kick a ball. They don't now. We are living in a parallel universe to the one I grew up in. All is good.

    No Update to the Table of Doom

    There is no update to the Table of Doom other than dark rumblings are coming out about Man City and sanctions. I suspect they may be fined 100,000 pounds and told to stand in the corner for a day. Don’t hold your breath waiting for anything worse.





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