Monday, 28 February 2011

12 Swedish guys and a football match

In February 2011 I was asked to attend the visit of 12 Swedish guys to our company. This visit included a company tour, a few presentations and a local football match. Interestingly the first point on the agenda was the football match which was arranged by a British partner of the Swedish company who as it happens is a big soccer fan. These were my highlights of the evening:
  1. How do you recognise 12 Swedish guys at the wine & dine before the match ? - They were wearing scarves in support of the local team they had never heard of - a welcome gift by the British partner.
  2. At some point of the game the players started to push each other around and for a moment it seemed as if a fight was going to start but then everyone suddenly calmed down. So far that has been my only chance of witnessing true famous British Hooliganism but the chance faded almost as soon as it came. Maybe next time.
  3. A true soccer fan would know how to recognise a player on the field: by his number. My female colleague and myself however were rather less soccer-savvy and kept to: the blue player with the cool haircut, the guy with the red shoes, the small one who looks slightly condensed, the bully, the pretty guy with nice shoulders, the slow one, the one on the left / the one on the right. At some point our supportive British partner turned around and shouted 'the guy with the red shoes is called Jack!'. And yet female logic pointed out: There are 2 players called Jack but only one with red shoes...
  4. The team we supported (or rather: had to support) had more than 300 supporters in the stadium whereas the other team had less than 40. The supporters of our team used very creative language which made our guests ask several inconvenient questions about the English language.
I believe all in all our Swedish guests had a great time assessing and appreciating British football tradition. If not, it must have been due to cultural misunderstanding. After all we do not understand everything that is going on in Swedish soccer - have a look at this Youtube video on showing Swedish goal happiness:

Soccer-savvy or soccer-naive - I am sure I am not the only one who looks at this video with a good portion of amused cluelessness.

Referee girls - the Sian Massey incident

One of the reasons I decided to write this blog was the Sian Massey incident. Off-air remarks by Sky Sports presenters about the female soccer referee led to sexism controversy which resulted in the commentator being sacked, the presenter resigning and a reporter being suspended. Believing the microphones were switched off the Sky Team had made remarks about Sian or other female referees not knowing the offside rule.

Image of Sian Massey from Daily Mail online on  (article 8th February 2011):

When the news broke I was surprised by the public reactions. People partly criticised the Sky Sports presenter's behaviour as sexist, others criticised the sacking and suspension for remarks labelled as sexism rather than an opinion or a joke. The topic has been discussed in many different forums with diverse comments and Sian has been dragged into the spotlight with pictures of her summer holidays.

To listen to the comments have a look at following Youtube video from :

My personal experience showed that the decisions of Sky Sports to sack and suspend was often seen as ridiculous as the comments were made off-air. Nevertheless most people seem to think the comments were unsuitable. This raises diverse questions for me:
  1. Does this reflect a majority of public opinion ? We might not say certain things out loud even if we believe them. And how many ladies do actually know the offside rule ?
  2. Were the remarks unsuitable because the Sky Sports presenters were thought to be able to influence public opinion. If so, does the current media boom not make it worse ?
  3. Would we label it as sexism if a men was criticised in a similar way in a female-dominated area ?
  4. Have female referees not been exposed to more criticism and less sympathy through the comments going on-air when they had originally been off-air ?
  5. What percentage of the female audience felt offended by the remarks made ?
For all those who did or still do feel offended have a look at following Youtube video from that is taking a much more neutral take on the incident:

But if you don't want to see a neutral video but one that shows even more how unfamiliar we are with the female touch in football have a look at this one (I apologize for descriptive language and quality of the video):

All in all I believe we can look at the Sian Massey incident from different angles and considering diverse elements such as on-air vs off-air activity, representation of women in football, media coverage, strongly male-oriented football tradition and the suggested complexity of the offside rule. - Which reminds me: I do not know the offside rule. So I should cover that topic quite soon on Ladysoccer :)

Friday, 25 February 2011

Football vs. Soccer - whyever there are 2 words ?!

Soccer or Football, football or Soccer ? - Whyever there are 2 expressions for the same sport? As we all know we tend to call it football in Britain whereas it is typically called soccer in the US to distinguish it from American football. Yet many different nations use the word football as a loan word and not necessarily for the same sport. Here come the Ladysoccer facts !

Ladyfact 1
Wikipedia redirects soccer to football. 1:0 for football !

Ladyfact 2
If you put soccer into Google Search it will show you around 293,000,000 results (23.02.11 @ 16.49).
For football it will display 948,000,000 results (same day @ 16.51). 2:0 for football !

Ladyfact 3
Google Search results for Ladies football are 53,200,000 (23.02.11 @16.53), for Ladies soccer results shown reach 26,600,000 (same day @ 16.53). Again another point for football and a few tears for the ladies.

Ladyfact 4
Wikipedia mentions following nicknames for football: footy / footie, the beautiful game, the world game.
Surprisingly I have never heard anyone say footy and I hope I never will. Whyever would anyone choose the foot part instead of the ball part, and with a minimisation that makes the sport sound cute ?!

Ladyfact 5
HowtoSayin tells you how to say football and I like football in different languages.
You can also translate football rocks, I love football, enjoy football & play football and some other rather strange combinations such as I like touch football. I wonder if this is part of football jargon. If not, it would be quite interesting to know how many people actually translate this sentence.

Ladyfact 6
Google Insights for Search shows how often football (blue) and soccer (red) have been put into the search engine in comparison (25.02.11 @ 10.50) :

Well, soccer nearly made it in 2006 !

So what is the conclusion ? - According to these facts football is more commonly used than soccer. Yet when we say soccer everyone knows exactly which sport is meant.
So why soccer for Ladysoccer ? - Because we love to know what is exactly meant :)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Welcome to Ladysoccer

Welcome to my blog Ladysoccer !
This blog is not only for ladies or fans of ladies' soccer but for everyone who - like me - sometimes marvels at the dimensions of the world of football.
On this page you will find entries by a young modern lady who from time to time contemplates about soccer mysteries.
But beware: This content may offend true understanders of the soccer world as well as ladies who actually do know a lot about this area.
Hence, excuse and enjoy this diary of my very obvious soccer ignorance !