In cricket, England’s Sarah Taylor could play for Sussex men’s second XI- will football follow with women playing with the men at top level?Sexism’s slobbering old head again is part and parcel of football so we wonder what will happen when women footballers can play for the ‘men’s clubs”¦  In cricket, England’s Sarah Taylor could play for Sussex men’s second XI- it’s the first modern example of men and women playing together in the male dominated sport and could be the first of many- will football follow?

How long it will be before a woman footballer can play for one of the so called men’s clubs.

Surely the top women footballers must be the same level as some of the clubs in the men’s league? Is there any reason why they can’t play for them? if a woman tried to sign for a club would she be stopped? is that strictly legal these days? and in the future will most sport be more mixed?

I know there is the argument about physical strength but watching 18 year old Zoe Smith in the weight lifting the other day I was stunned by the amount of weight she was moving about- very few men in my local gym can get anywhere near that so we can safely assume the physical argument is a bit old hat.

The only hold up at the moment is that the women’s game doesn’t get the media attention and by extension the money to advance as fast as the men’s game- this will and must change. In the 1920’s the women’ game nearly eclipsed the men’s game with the famous Dick Kerr’s club in Preston pulling 53 000 to a game against St. Helens – a record for a womens football match only just beaten by the Team GB v Brazil women’s international game which pulled in 70,58.)

The popularity of the Dick Kerr team led The Football Association to ban women’s football at its member’s grounds from the 5th December 1921. Ostensibly this was due of concerns that women were not physically able to play football, but there was a belief that the popularity of the women’s team made some in the men’s game feel threatened.

We would love to see a top woman footballer testing the law and the resolve of the football authorities by trying to sign for men’s club- surely the top women players could now play for good level men’s teams.

Football can be so backwards sometimes. A couple of year’s ago the old guard, in the form of Andy Gray and Richard Keys- two relics from a different age, soggy faced dinosaurs, were caught off mic spluttering on about the most dreadful thing ever!

A woman linesman!

These two men’s men just couldn’t take it that a human being with a different arrangement of genitalia was infiltrating on what they perceive as one of the last bastions of manhood- being a lines’man’, surely even the word linesman looks a bit stupid now as well.

They wondered if she could understand the offside rule, because such sport laws are only understandable to paunchy middle aged humans with cocks.
It was like a flashback to the seventies and bulldog faced men grunting on about women drivers. But is anyone laughing out there?

In the 21st century it’s bizarre that anyone cannot handle a woman running alongside a football pitch waving a flag and making sure no-one cheats.

What are the old guard going to do when finally one day (that could be now) a woman footballer gets to the level where she can play in the top divisions. I wish this would happen now, surely the best woman players in the country could easily slip into the first team of, let’s say Port Vale or Hereford? and within years, maybe even now have a crack at the top level. Who can stop them? Surely it would be against the law to prevent such a thing happening.

I can’t wait for the moment when some forward thinking club boss breaks the unsaid code and the world of preening, expensive hair messing, designer clothed, gossip bound, jewellery laden, pouting…. male dominated world of football is suddenly pulled screaming into the 21st century.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Mixed footie would be great and I agree, but whilst there’s so much MONEY at stake and MALE footballers are genreally overpaid social f***wits who are still working in a (mainly male) envirionment simular to that in the 70’s it won’t happen. One day maybe (Male) Football will throw its arms in the air and admit that it’s gone too far..too much money at stake and a sport that will never be judged or scored fairly and equally. I do believe that HOPE POWELL should be offered a job in a high level if she ever decides to quit International managment. I hope she does. And I think she’d do well.

  2. Sorry John, I can’t see it ever happening. Whilst football is still peppered with the Andy Gray-type slobs, it’s those in power who have the same attitudes (but who are ‘professional’ enough not to show it puiblicly) who will always control the game.

  3. Whilst I do agree with a lot of what you’re saying there is absolutely nothing that suggests that female footballers can compete with male footballers. In Sweden it’s fairly common for the better women teams to play against boys and the women are outclassed by 15 year old boys.

    The physical strength is a very valid one, contrary to what you say. Sure, many female athletes are stronger and faster than most men. But then you’re comparing professionals with amateurs. If you compare professionals with professionals you will get another picture.

    You could make an argument that a woman can have as much pure skill as a man. But then you’re ignoring the fact that physical strength has an influence on skill. If you’re stronger you can kick the ball longer, thus you need to use less strength when kicking making it easier to control the kick.

    Women playing with men would only be bad for the female game.

  4. come off it John, football is a man’s game (cue outraged comments), fair play to these women but i prefer women that are a bit more feminine (cue more outraged comments) can’t ever see it happening in a million years. I know it was pretty bad in some ways (racism, hooliganism etc) but in my opinion football was great in the 70’s.

  5. Not going to happen. All it would be is men playing at half cock (no pun intended) or changing the rules to accommodate women who, *in general* are physically weaker. (not to cause an argument its true.

    The same applies to any physical team sport, RL, RU etc. Possibly they could do it in cricket?

  6. Doubt it’ll happen in football. This is great news and Sarah Taylor is in my opinion the greatest thing ever to happen to women’s cricket; this only goes to further exemplify that. The thing is that her talent lies in being a great keeper/batsman, rather than either a frontline batsman or bowler, which rely on physicality rather than pure skill and reaction speed as her roles does. Arran Brindle made a hundred for a men’s club side last year admittedly, but there aren’t really any women in the sport who can compete in the physical side of things with men as footballers would have to do.

  7. As someone who plays both football and cricket (albeit as an amateur), I just cannot see it happening in either game. In cricket it is quite common to play with girls, however when you get to the sage of about 16/17 the differences in physicality start showing. As Dan Lucas said, Taylor may be okay as a keeper/batsmen as it relys on skill and reactions, but when bowling the gap in things like speed and bounce are worlds apart.
    Concerning football, having played against mixed teams on the vary rare occasion (non-competitive friendlies), I just cannot see a way the game could become mixed. Yes, woman can have skill on the ball (first touch etc) that could be equivalent to a mans but the power and strength is an issue. I’m a right back and I have played against women on two occasions, and while they had the pace on me, as soon as we came shoulder to shoulder the difference was obvious. It was also difficult as in the back of my head I was not wanting to go in as hard as I would have done on a male player.
    I agree that Womens football should be publicised much more, as they are great players in there own right. However I do not see how teams could become mixed (apart from maybe the odd spectacular player or possibly the odd goalkeeper).

  8. […] female cricketer to play men’s 2nd XI County Cricket with Sussex this summer. Louder Than War already pondered the idea of mixed-gender football, but here Dan Lucas looks at what this means for Taylor, cricket, […]


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