Sexism & Football
Go back a few hundred years and football was a bloody and violent game, often outlawed by governments because of its violence. Men died because they would fall on their own daggers. You couldn't really blame the ball.
Football was sometimes an inter-village event and more resembled rugby. It was full of violence, and most of the game was spent without anyone knowing where the actual ball was.
Move on to the industrial revolution. Churches and factories put teams together and with a little organisation the (Northern) league was formed. Up until the World War 1 all players were male, and some of the best players were miners coming out of Scotish coal pits. They were tough and hardened and could play football.
For most of the Twentieth Century football, like it's cousin rugby, was a man's game and watched and followed mostly, but not exclusively, by men.
While players hacked and kicked each other on and off the pitch, the watching crowd could enjoy their Saturday afternoon entertainment. Their release from the factories, their train journey to a rival team to support their own team, eventually brought its own tribalism and factionalism.
But these Pre-Sky Saturday afternoon games allowed a venue for two hours where men could shout and sing, chant and say things they wouldn't say in front of their mothers, their wives or even their boss. Sometimes over exitement would boil over into fisticuffs and a bloodied nose.
Yes, in the 70s and 80s this male football tribalism got hijacked by criminal thugs and despicable far-right political groups and things got very messy and nasty.
Now, football is no longer a man's game. PLayers dance about and fall over like ballerinas and if you as much as touch an opponent, foul play is cried and a free kick given.
Football may have lost its violence and thuggery, but its also lost its physicality.
On the terraces fans have been forced to sit down and shut up. You can shout, but you're no longer permitted to say what you like. Racism, sexism and homophobia and probably a few other isms are not allowed. Fair enough. There are women and children present. This is a family game.
Football, whether playing it or watching it at the stadium is no longer the vehicle for the release of male aggression. That two hour once a week fantasy interlude has gone. Long gone.
Now I am going to say what women do not want to hear and what most men are too scared to say.
Football has been feminised. The violence removed, so that women can play it, spectate it and officiate it. It could not continue as it was.
Football has been feminised as has the whole of our culture and society. This is the project of equality, rights, feminism and the women's movement.
But nobody wants to admit this. Nobody wants to even discuss the change to male culture.
I'm not saying it's good or bad or even inevitable. It just is. And that's why it's terrible for us to overhear Andy Gray express the views he is not allowed to express.
Andy Gray versus Noman Hunter. Blood-rose tinted days.
Any one for tennis?
I wrote about the feminisation of football on a BBC blog about ten years ago. It was removed, censored.
We are not allowed to even discuss this.