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Blogspot: In praise of Harlow Town Ladies

Football / Wed 23rd Aug 2017 at 10:31am

Harlow Town LadiesBlogspot by Andrew Johnson

I’ve been vaguely aware of Ladies football since the 2002 comedy film Bend it like Beckham catapulted it onto the big screen but honestly never really showed much interest.

But recently female football has taken centre stage in our house. I have an 11 year old daughter, who is falling in love with football; Female football.

She has been training and playing this past year at school, none of her girlfriends have been quite as gripped by the sport as she has by it, but slowly it has moved from being something fun to a minor obsession. And I have loved watching the growing love for the sport through her eyes.

The Lionesses have helped with this, and the televisation of their matches brought female football directly into our living room – she engaged with the matches in a way she never did when I normally watched football and I found myself enamoured with an England team that played as just that, a team, rather than a collection of eleven prima donnas . There were guts and talent on display and contrary to popular wisdom quite a lot of power and physicality.

And you know what , women footballers are actually a tough bunch – After Karen Bardsley played nearly a quarter of an hour with a broken leg in England’s recent Quarter final win against France, I never want to hear someone utter the derogative phrase “play like a girl” ever again!

In fact having watched quite a bit of female football in the last couple of months, including three recent Harlow Town Ladies pre-season friendlies I can testify that the ladies ride tackles more and go down less and with less theatrics than most men’s matches I have ever watched.

Harlow Town ladies have only been going since the 2015/16 season, but they have been pretty victorious since – The inaugural season blew away any expectations with the Ladies destroying everyone they faced to win a quad of trophies and finish the season with a 100% record, 28 wins out of 28.

Their vision, under Grant Palmer’s management, is to create a female centre of excellence, with superb facilities, highly skilled and experienced coaches and quality footballers blended together, aiming over time to play at the highest possible level of Women’s semi-professional sport.

And it’s a vision that the whole town of Harlow should get behind!

When I was growing up in Harlow every weekend was about football for this town with Mens and Boys teams playing everywhere and all the time – there is a huge love for football in Harlow and its time some of that love was bestowed on our Ladies. They have won two leagues back to back yet don’t attract large support crowds and whilst in pre-season were still actively looking for a sponsor – That’s something that just wouldn’t happen to a men’s team at any level with a pedigree like theirs.

I’ve quickly realised that there is plenty of passion and talent in female football in Harlow, but would love to see more passion and support by Harlow for it’s ladies football team.

My daughter and I are already sold as fans. Perhaps if like me, you have a child who has a growing love of the game, we will see you on the terraces cheering the Lady Hawks on.

If you would like to contact Harlow Town Ladies and find out how you can be involved on and off the pitch as a player, volunteer or as a supporter of your local women’s football team, then please visit @harlowladies on Twitter or join Harlow Ladies FC facebook page or e-mail the club on [email protected]

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