Book review: “They’re footballers, absolutely typical footballers – not like the untypical few who make thousands a week, but typical like the tens of thousands who play every weekend because they love it… Typical footballers. Except they’re women”
That’s what this book is. Pete Davies has gone into a football club and followed them the whole season. Not just any football club though, this is the best in the land, the double winners of the previous season – Doncaster Belles.
What follows is a match-by-match run through of their 94-95 season with unprecedented access to the dressing room. Stirring team talks are included. The team camaraderie and banter is included. You get to follow players playing for the love of the game, not for the money.
In between the matches the author also profiles the players in their lives away from football, at their homes, their workplaces, their social hangouts. Of course at the time of this book the top women’s players in England were all amateurs.
And at the end of the book England’s progress at the 1995 Women’s World Cup is covered. This allows the author to discuss the state of English women’s football compared to other countries, the FA at the time only recently having taken over running the game, although not necessarily with the correct attitude.
Of course this book is now 20 years old and these days the top women’s teams in the country have professional players and the FA is definitely more behind women playing football but it is good to look back and see where the game has come from, the struggle to get to where we are today, where there is still a massive gulf between women’s football and men’s.