Men are obsessional in their habits and hobbies. You don’t see many women standing at the end of train platforms collecting numbers and women don’t generally file their music collection in strict alphabetical order. Non-league football comes into the same category.
Notwithstanding the curious world of the anorak-clad groundhopper, there’s more than just a hint of eccentricity about people who follow non-league football. And that means women are in the minority on matchday.
But the non-league game definitely needs more women around, if only to dilute some of the testosterone in which it swims. In the one-dimensional past, that meant ladies to serve the teas, make sandwiches, serve in sweet shops and so on and so forth. We shouldn’t dream of asking them along just to perform tasks that require domestic prowess.
As the 21st century progresses (or regresses, some might say), it is time for more woman to take some involvement in the game. It was good to see that Brackley Town’s chairperson was a women and Swindon Supermarine’s rise up the pyramid was helped by the involvement of one Judy Moore. There are other examples where clubs have invited women to play a key role, such as Mansfield Town. Not quite Karren Brady, but in the right direction.
How can women’s involvement help? Many decisions taken in football are often knee-jerk, built around competitiveness and aggression and often unbalanced. The business world has changed dramatically in recent years. Although there’s much talk around the “glass ceiling” in the corporate world, women are generally better communicators than men and some of the toughest, most insightful and creative business people are female.
Some people might incorrectly claim that women are over-emotional, but how many times has footballers’ bad conduct been blamed on being “over-emotional”? And although 10cc claimed that “big boys don’t cry”, we’ve seen players weep when they’ve been dropped or sulk when they are subbed. There’s no more emotional game than football – and we need more ladies, on the terraces, in the stands and in the boardrooms of the nation’s football clubs.