Blaise Tapp: I’m genuinely excited about the Women’s World Cup
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When they are on, even international tournaments have finished by now, meaning we are traditionally counting down the days to the new season, full of optimism for the nine months that will follow. The waiting can be so painful that some of us go down incredibly niche rabbit holes meaning we suddenly start caring about the goings on in Irish footy or whatever happens to the big game of the weekend in any given Scandinavian league that happens to be running in July.
This year is different however as I genuinely am excited about the Women’s World Cup which starts this week - something I definitely wouldn’t have said less than two years ago.
Not to put too fine a point on it, our eldest has developed an obsession with the game and, as anybody who has a 13-year-old daughter will attest, that pretty much means that we have had little choice but to ride that (Mexican) wave with her.
There are of course several key differences between the men’s and women’s games such as it being much cheaper to watch top flight women’s football in this country than it is to watch even regional non-league men’s matches - it typically costs under a tenner for adults and about a fiver for children to get into WSL games, which makes it far more accessible for families.
In the past year, our teenage superfan has met north of 30 players and managers before and after games, something that isn’t as easy to do for fans of the men’s game. Her bedroom walls are adorned with selfies of her with the likes of England’s stand-in captain Millie Bright and a host of Lionesses such as Jordan Nobbs and Lauren James.
As a new fan of the women’s game, it’s plainly obvious that we are the start of something that could become huge - last week an official report predicted it could become a £1 billion industry within the next decade if it is given the right support.
I suspect that the game will attract millions more global fans once the World Cup finishes next month - and watch out if England actually win the thing.