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summer, the athletics World Championships, men’s and women’s cricket, the Lions tour of New Zealand and Wimbledon have shown that the Adidas Nicolas Meloche Authentic Jersey British public has an enduring passion for top level sport. We have the richest football league in the world, more major stadiums per capita than anywhere on Earth, and are widely credited with having staged the greatest Olympic Games of the modern era. Sport is a massive part of our life and our brand as a nation. As long as greed governs global sport, corruption will be endemic Simon Jenkins Simon Jenkins Read more But sport is not immune from the mistrust that has undermined faith in other big institutions such as politics, business, religion and the media. On the surface, sport can feel secure. Fifa has faced corruption allegations for years, but football’s appeal and riches appear to keep growing. Cycling has a long, dark doping shadow, yet the crowds following Chris Froome’s triumph at this year’s Tour de France, and the global coverage, suggested a sport in robust health. Doping’s shadow fell across last Saturday’s 100m final in London, because although the Russians had been banned for state-sponsored doping, twice-banned drug cheat Justin Gatlin ran home to beat the most popular athlete on the planet. The boos may have made people feel a little better, but the stadium was packed again the next night, the next, and the next. If there is a major sporting event, Brits will flock to watch it. However, Fifa, the IAAF and other sports bodies would be wise not to be complacent. Evidence from Portland’s UK Sports Integrity Index suggests audiences are becoming more sensitive to reputational issues. Significantly, they are also now likely to do something about it. Over half of people surveyed indicated they will stop watching professional sports because of widespread cheating and corruptionDig a little deeper into the numbers, and it seems football and athletics have greatest cause for concern. More than six in 10 football fans believe that corruption is an issue in the game, while eight out of 10 athletics fans think performance-enhancing drugs are still a problem. Advertisement It may be that what some mean by corruption is a general feeling that the money now involved in football is out of control; and that the drugs issue in athletics and cycling is more an overhang from the past, than a reality still there today. The IAAF under Seb Coe did deal with Russia after all, and dealt with it well. Reputational currency in the bank. But the research shows how hard it can be to shift a negative perception once it starts to take hold. Ultimately it is about the decisions taken, but also the manner in which they are communicated. Take the IAAF’s handling of Botswana athlete Isaac Makwala. An everyday situation – a bug doing the rounds of a venue to which people from all over the globe had flocked – was allowed to accelerate into a huge controversy in which the main complaint, of the athlete and his team, and the media, was “lack of effective communication”. Another bit of reputational currency lost. And then as we look forward to the Fifa World Cup in Russia next year, might the dropping out of sponsors be the result not merely of the controversial decision to award the tournament to Putin, but the tipping point effect of years in which Fifa has become bloated, riddled with corruption and distant from the paying public? 'Like prisoners of war': North Korean labour behind Russia 2018 World Cup Read more Sports organisations – whether a major global sports body, or an individual club dependent on public support for survival and success – need to think more strategically, including about their communications. This means making their reputation a core part of their operations, not a by-product of external events. It will take an awful lot for me to stop watching live sport. Indeed, this weekend I am breaking into a holiday in France to return to London for two days of athletics, and Burnley’s opening game the season at Chelsea. But even I, fanatic though I am, did not watch the Community Shield when most years I would, have not yet been to a Test match this year, though normally I do, and gave Marseille’s opening match of the season, normally part of my holiday routine, a miss. Maybe it is just age catching up with me. Or maybe I too am just feeling sport is in danger of losing some of its magic. All big sporting organisations and teams, not just football, need to wake up to the reality that reputational currency is of much greater value than the financial kind. Failure to do so will lead to empty seats as fans take their time, money and passions elsewhereOur Euro 2017 coverage, in which we live blogged all of England and Scotland’s matches plus the final, was read by more than 1.8 million users. Our online women’s cricket World Cup coverage topped more than two million. We live blogged La Course and, of course, Johanna Konta’s run to the Wimbledon semi-finals. There may be a danger that we spend more time wringing our hands over the problems than getting on with finding a solution. As Anya Shrubsole, one of those victorious cricketers, told Andy Bull earlier this summer: “Yes, we need to win, and we want to win, but the more we play in a way that people want to watch, the more of that coverage we’ll get. So I think there is responsibility for both sides, for the players and the press.” Viewers, consumers and readers need to do their bit too. In a world where every click and interaction can be measured by publishers and advertisers, it is incumbent on those who want to read more about women’s sport to make their views known, click on the stories and vote with their feet. “There is an old adage that says ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ and for too long we’ve had to rely on a two-week window every four years to inspire generations of girls to want to play sport,” says Alex Danson, another of that impressive group of hockey players who won gold in Rio. “This is clearly now changing but we still have a huge amount of work to do to make women’s sport of interest and relevance 365 days of the year, every year. Responsibility for that lies with athletes, governing bodies, the media, broadcasters and sponsors – but if we get it right everyone wins.” That is hard to argue with. And while the numbers are encouraging, there is something else about this summer’s boom that inspires a strange sort of confidence. In the backlash that followed England’s exit from Euro 2017, followed by more than 120,000 people on our live blog, discussions about Sampson’s tactics and the way the players appeared to freeze on the big stage contained a tacit recognition Authentic Scottie Upshall Womens Jersey that this was nothing to do with gender – but simply about the soaring highs and crushing lows of all sport
wuzhichaoyehongkun362330 2 hours ago · Tags: jersey
Eight years ago, when I was sports news correspondent for this newspaper, I Amos Youth Jersey found myself hastily dispatched to Helskini to speak to England’s women footballers. They had reached the final of Euro 2009 and, a successful England team being a welcome novelty, we wrote of the hope that their success would change perceptions of women’s sport in this country. Similar predictions were made after Heather Stanning and Helen Glover took Britain’s first gold during that shimmering London 2012 summer, when the Lionesses came third in the 2015 World Cup in Canada, or after nine million people watched Britain’s heart-stopping hockey victory to win gold in Rio. Yet change remained incremental rather than incredible. But, just as the expectations of England’s women footballers were worlds apart in 2009 and 2017, so this summer has felt different. The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian's sport coverage Read more First the ICC Women’s World Cup was clinched by Heather Knight’s side against India in front of a capacity crowd at Lord’s. Then, Mark Sampson’s England team swept to the semi-finals of Euro 2017 before coming a cropper against the swashbuckling Dutch hosts, who went on to win an entertaining final that captivated the country. On Sunday, ITV1 will air England’s clash with Italy in Dublin, as Sarah Hunter’s side attempt to retain the women’s Rugby World Cup, having thrashed Spain in their opening match. In a summer without an Olympics or a men’s football World Cup, these events have been able to elbow their way into the public consciousness. They have done so entirely on their own terms — and not just in Britain. At the opening ICC Women’s World Cup dinner, the ambition was not only for full and decent viewing figures but for an ignition of interest in India - the biggest cricket market on the planet. By the final, Indian media were trumpeting huge television audiences and the Guardian’s own over-by-over live blog was hitting 600,000 page views — the majority coming from India. Advertisement The Guardian has always been more committed than most to covering the big female sports events, but the volume of our coverage, both online and in print, has visibly grown this summer. And with it, the readership. National newspaper coverage of women’s sport was estimated, in the most recent study in 2015, at just 2% of total sport coverage. This summer, women’s sport has featured as the main article on the front page of the sports section nine times in the past three weeks, and has consistently been prominent on the sport section of the website, amid the usual transfer talk and men’s Tests. But as the Guardian’s head of sport, the question I find myself wrestling with is: how do we ensure that continues into the autumn, as the juggernaut of Premier League football starts rolling? There are several, intertwined, issues here. One is that all sports have to compete for media coverage, and some are more popular than others. A second is that the Guardian’s resources and space are finite. A third is that the domestic game is at a much more nascent stage — in football, cricket and rugby — than the international oneThe FA-backed Women’s Super League (WSL) has never really quite taken off in the way that its most fervent supporters hoped. But some big clubs — Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City among them — are now fully committed and attendances are slowly growing. Yet still they remain more Hoodie Jersey analogous to county cricket than even non-league football. It is a long game. Advertisement Louise Taylor, who covered Euro 2017 and the 2015 World Cup for us, reflected on her return from the Netherlands: “It felt significant that people were debating Mark Sampson’s tactics rather than whether women should be playing football, or the quality on offer. The tougher challenge for the FA though is to generate interest in the weekly slog of the WSL, particularly now it’s a winter game.” We have made a firm editorial commitment to promote women’s sport where we can and, in particular, to make the absolute most of those big moments when the nation is engaged. But we’re also part of a patchwork that includes governing bodies, sponsors, broadcasters and fans. No part of that eco-system can manufacture interest – it has to be organically built. But within that there are encouraging signs that momentum is building. Advertisers and sponsors are realising that backing women’s sport takes them to new and different audiences. Sport’s once stuffy governing bodies – not least the three largest in the FA, the ECB and the RFU – are realising warm words won’t be enough to turbo-charge growth and unlock major investment. The Guardian is doing its bit by committing to more regular coverage – we recently launched a weekly women’s football blog helmed by Suzanne Wrack – and trying to prioritise women’s sport where we can. We also devote our best people to finding the most interesting stories and interviewing the most engaging, talented personalities. The Guardian view on women’s football: it’s arrived Editorial: The Lionesses are just two victories away in Euro 2017 from becoming the first senior England football team to win a major tournament since the World Cup winners of 1966 Read more But we can’t necessarily manufacture an audience for this work. One of the disheartening things about this debate is the extent to which it is still measured in old media money. Because it’s easier to measure, surveys will often take into account the number of articles and photographs in print. That, however, discounts our hugely engaging and popular over-by-over and minute-by-minute live blogs, which are just as important – if not more so – in terms of engaging large readerships.
wuzhichaoyehongkun362330 Yesterday, 11:52PM · Tags: jersey
uncertainty comes excitement. So it must be a good thing that we don’t quite know what to expect at Edgbaston over the next few days. We do know Tony Gwynn Authentic Jersey that the ball is pink, that ticket sales are good and that it might be a good idea to bring a jumper (and maybe a blanket and a balaclava for the final session, which will probably end around 9.30pm every evening). Even better: get an invitation to a swish, warm hospitality box. We are less sure about how the pink ball will behave or how good this West Indies team will be. There has been a rapprochement of sorts between the players and the West Indies board, though that is not obvious from the Test squad selected. While the youngsters in the touring party prepare to do battle with England’s finest in Birmingham (the leg-spinner, Devendra Bishoo, is the only man over 30 in the tour party), the more familiar names are participating in the Caribbean Premier League. Understandably the older players are pondering their pensions. Pink balls and a witching hour: what to expect at England’s first day-night Test Read more The expectation is that England will win the series and that West Indies will be less of a challenge than South Africa. The tour manager, Joel Garner, has warned us not to underestimate his team and it has never been a great idea to argue with this genial giant. But he is bound to say that. The sources of optimism for West Indian fans are limited but they do exist. The last time these two sides met in Bridgetown, Barbados, in May 2015 West Indies won by five wickets to square the series. Five from that side are likely to be in action on Thursday at Edgbaston (compared to England’s six from two years ago). Moreover West Indies, unlike England, have already experienced a day-night Test match in October 2016, though whether the parallels between Dubai and Edgbaston are especially relevant remains to be seen. That was a remarkable game, albeit watched by a paltry crowd that never reached four figures. Pakistan scored 579 for three in their first innings with Azhar Ali registering a triple century, and 123 all out in their second with Bishoo taking eight for 48. As a consequence West Indies had an unlikely chance to win though in the end they fell short by 56 runs. Advertisement Over the last three years the West Indian bowling attack has remained relatively constant and occasionally dangerous. They will probably have the fastest bowlers in the match at Edgbaston in the contrasting shapes of Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel, provided the latter has corrected the no-ball problems that surfaced at Derby. These two pacemen will be supported by Jason Holder, who has had to learn about the trials of captaincy rapidly, something he has done with great maturity even though his side loses more games than they win. West Indies also possess the most experienced leg-spinner in the two squads if they choose to play him. Bishoo was playing first-class cricket when Mason Crane was just a chick. The other option is a four-man pace attack including the 20-year-old Alzarri Joseph, supported by the off-breaks of the all-rounder Roston Chase. But, on paper at least, the batting looks callow. Their recent middle order has often included Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels and even Shivnarine Chanderpaul, whose last Test coincided with that victory over England on Barbados two years ago. Now there may be a star in that middle order capable of supporting the tenacious Kraigg Brathwaite at the top – Chase has started his Test career impressively – but one cannot be sure of that. By the same token there are a few uncertainties within the England camp. Mark Stoneman becomes Alastair Cook’s 12th opening partner since his union with Andrew Strauss came to an end in August 2012. At 30 Stoneman will be the oldest debutant to walk out alongside Cook, which may be an asset. It has now reached a stage – even among cricket followers – when it is easier to name the wives of Henry VIII than all of Cook’s partners. Mark Stoneman’s debut against West Indies offers chance of Ashes place Read more Of his 11 previous companions at the top of the order, post-Strauss, Joe Root, inevitably, had the most consistent returns – and averaged 41 there – but the best of the rest, most of whom are young enough to have another go, are a long way off such respectability: they are Haseeb Hameed (Test average 32 at the top of the order), who will be monitored closely when Championship cricket finally resumes, Nick Compton (31) and Sam Robson (30). No doubt Stoneman was unhappy to be overlooked earlier in the summer but the timing of his selection could not be much better for someone who craves the unique challenge of an Ashes tour. Now he is surely guaranteed to play all three Tests against West Indies. Two scores of significance against them might be enough to get him on the plane to Australia. As an opening batsman of some experience Stoneman will be looking on at the toss with special interest on Thursday afternoon. The current theory about day-night cricket is that it is best to bat in the first session rather than in the twilight hours. Further down the order Dawid Malan, after two barren Tests against South Africa, will get at least one more chance after England resisted the possibility of picking Chris Woakes, or even Crane, in his place. Meanwhile the England and Wales Cricket Board, an organisation which often gives the impression Adidas Linus Ullmark Jersey that they think they can control the weather judging by some of their scheduling, will be hoping for some unusually balmy Birmingham nights
wuzhichaoyehongkun362330 Yesterday, 11:28PM · Tags: jersey
Men's Devin Harris Authentic Navy Blue Adidas Jersey: NBA Dallas Mavericks #34 Alternate The Football Association is facing questions over why it paid “hush money” to international footballer Eni Aluko after it emerged that a bullying complaint against the England manager, Mark Sampson, included an allegation that he made a remark with “racial and prejudicial connotations” to another player. Aluko, one of England’s most recognisable female footballers with 102 caps, was paid around £80,000 to sign an agreement that the FA claims was to “avoid disruption” ahead of this summer’s Euro 2017. Aluko’s lawyers believe that the agreement she signed prevents her from speaking about it but the FA insists she is now free to talk about the facts of the case. The Guardian can reveal that her complaint contained an allegation that Sampson made a “highly inappropriate” remark with whereby he asked a mixed race player how many times she had been in trouble with the police. “During a meeting with the midfielders’ unit of players, of which I was not present, Authentic Adam Graves Womens Jersey MS [Sampson] used an analogy about pressing hard in midfield and getting a caution like a police caution,” Aluko’s evidence states. “MS then addressed the player individually and said in relation to being cautioned by police: ‘Haven’t you been arrested before? Four times isn’t it?’” Aluko, whose brother Sone plays for Fulham, was last season’s top scorer in the Women’s Super League and featured in the Professional Footballers’ Association women’s Team of the Year. However, the 30-year-old was not part of the England squad that reached the semi-finals of the European Championship, instead working as part of Channel 4’s commentary team. Herman Ouseley, the chairman of Kick It Out, has already said the FA needs to explain the full details around the case, pointing out it has a “responsibility to be transparent”. The FA held an internal investigation and also commissioned a confidential independent inquiry, which did not uphold Aluko’s complaint and found no case for disciplinary action, before deciding not to take action against Sampson or any member of staff. Yet Aluko’s evidence states her team-mate was left “distressed” by the comment and that other players confirmed they did not take it as a joke. The Guardian knows the identity of the player concerned but has chosen not to name her. Aluko, who is also a qualified lawyer, says in her complaint there were “derogatory, racial and prejudicial connotations” and the FA will now have to explain why it went to such apparently extraordinary lengths to prevent the case becoming public. As well as the £80,000 payment, the governing body also awarded Aluko a new one-year central contract, worth £20,000, despite her making it clear she would never appear for England again “under his [Sampson’s] management”. Aluko has not played for England since April and her eight-page complaint, emailed to the FA’s technical director, Dan Ashworth, and head of performance, Dave Reddin, as part of an exercise to gather information about the culture within England’s squads, alleges a “culture of bullying and harassment” in the women’s setup. Aluko’s evidence continues: “This comment about the player was made with derogatory, Authentic Alex Pietrangelo Youth Jersey racial and prejudicial connotations. It was also a defamatory, untrue statement given that the player has never been arrested and MS’s comment indicates an assumption (subconscious or conscious) that being mixed race from London suggests a criminal record with the police. “Although I was not present at the meeting, other players confirmed MS made this comment. Other players confirmed the comment was not received as a joke and created an awkward atmosphere in the room. I was deeply concerned about this comment and felt it was highly inappropriate for the national team coach to make such a sweeping negative generalisation about a new player in the team.” Publicly, Aluko has stated only that she believes team selections were made on the basis of “popularity” rather than form. However, privately the player who has won 102 caps for her country appears to have felt like she was the victim of sustained bullying and alleges the unfavourable treatment began a month after Sampson’s appointment in April 2014. Drawing a link to the alleged incident, Aluko’s complaint continued: “As a black female in the team, understanding the unfavourable, racial and social connotations underlying MS’s comment further heightened my feelings of fear and isolation, especially in light of the previous instances where I have been negatively singled out, too.”
xiaolan Yesterday, 11:26PM · Tags: jersey
Ten years on from that World Cup, it is clear to see how difficult it can be for feted youngsters to fulfil their potential, how Dashon Goldson Youth Jersey fine the margins are, how easy it is to squander talent or overestimate it. Take Brazil. They had David Luiz, Luiz Adriano, Marcelo, Willian and J?, but their star was Alexandre Pato, a 17-year-old sensation who was about to join Milan. He was supposed to take the world by storm. He wasn’t supposed to be playing for Tianjin Quanjian in the Chinese Super League at the age of 27. Mexico’s Giovanni dos Santos, then of Barcelona, once of Ipswich Town and now of LA Galaxy, was one of the players of the tournament. Expectations can be unrealistic at times, although some players have more than matched them. Spain had Gerard Piqué and Juan Mata, Chile had Alexis Sànchez and Arturo Vidal. Uruguay’s attack featured Edinson Cavani and Luis Suàrez. And Argentina, the champions, they had Agüero. As for Poland, they weren’t all about Janczyk. They were handed the daunting task of taking on Brazil in Montreal in the tournament’s opening match, but defied the odds when they fought their way to a 1-0 victory, digging in after losing Krzysztof Krol to a second yellow card in the 27th minute. Grzegorz Krychowiak, whose outstanding performances in central midfield for Sevilla led to a move to PSG in 2016, had scored the winner four minutes before Krol’s dismissal, bending a magnificent free-kick past Cassio. “We hadn’t beaten a Brazilian side for 33 years, not since the 1974 World Cup, when Grzegorz Lato scored,” Poland’s coach, Michal Globisz, said. “And tonight it was another Grzegorz who got the winner.” Golden Goal: Roberto Baggio for Juventus against Internazionale (1992) Read more Yet the strain of playing with 10 men for more than an hour against Brazil depleted Poland’s energy, and they paid for it when they lost 6-1 to the USA in their next match. Although Janczyk gave them the lead with a smart finish after five minutes, it was Adu who stole the show, scoring a hat-trick despite Adam Danch’s attempts to stay close to him. “He simply didn’t have the strength to cope,” Globisz said. With Michael Bradley in midfield, the Americans were emerging as a force and they sealed first place in Group D by beating the disappointing Brazilians in their third match. Again Adu was influential, creating two goals for Jozy Altidore in a 2-1 win, performing with a strength and inventiveness that suggested the hype surrounding him was justified. That victory earned the USA a last-16 match against Uruguay and although they went behind to a late goal from Suárez, they battled back to win 2-1 in extra-time and set up a quarter-final with Austria. They would go no further, losing 2-1 despite Altidore scoring his fourth goal of the tournament, but reputations had been enhanced. Two weeks after the defeat to Austria, Adu joined Benfica from Real Salt Lake. Sandecja would have been glad to have him then. Adu and Janczyk were both moving up in the world and when the latter beat two South Korean defenders before offering a demonstration of his composure in front of goal, Poland had the draw they needed to reach the last 16. “There are no more favourites when you get to this stage of the tournament,” Janczyk said. “I think that Brazil and Argentina have the same qualities and play a similar brand of football. We took a lot out of our win over Brazil and I think that we’ve got every chance of beating Argentina.” Yet Janczyk’s bold words had to be placed into context. After drawing 0-0 with the Czech Republic in their opener, Argentina came alive in their next match, a 6-0 destruction of Panama, before Agüero scored the only goal against North Korea. “It’s just great to watch the boys up front sometimes,” Sergio Romero, their goalkeeper, said. “You even feel like applauding them.” Advertisement Agüero, 19, had spent a year at Atlético Madrid. Di María was on his way to Benfica. Other prospects such as Maxi Moralez, Pablo Piatti and Mauro Zárate were causing a stir and Argentina Donald Stephenson Authentic Jersey were strong favourites against Poland. But after 33 minutes, Janczyk’s optimism no longer looked quite so misguided. Drifting into space and collecting a pass on the right of the area, he gave his markers no chance to close him down, shooting hard, low and early, fizzing the ball past Romero and into the bottom right corner. Poland were in pinch-yourself territory. Not for long, though. Argentina’s response was resounding. Seven minutes later, they sliced Poland open on the left and Di María bundled in the equaliser from close range. The mood changed. Agüero had been quiet in the first half. A minute after the interval, he took charge. The threat looked containable when he received a pass just inside Poland’s area. Make the right choices, stay calm and Poland could keep the situation under control. No false moves, no rash decisions, no impetuosity and Agüero could be ushered away from danger. He had his back to goal and his first touch was poor, the ball squirting off his foot and into the air. But the next sequence of play took the breath away. A little shimmy, the slightest of movements, tempted a defender forward, luring him into making a challenge, deceptively throwing him off balance. He lunged for the ball with his right foot, but Agüero saw him coming, lobbed him, turned and waited for the ball to drop. When it did, he slammed home a left-footed volley. What could Poland possibly have done to stop him? They were prepared for anything but that. Here was a demonstration of true class in all its glory and Agüero settled the game with four minutes left, rounding Bartosz Bialkowski tapping into the empty net after a defensive error. Agüero’s sixth goal of the tournament came in the 2-1 win over the Czechs in the final, his equaliser putting Argentina on course to win the U-20 World Cup for a record sixth time
wuzhichaoyehongkun362330 Yesterday, 10:01PM · Tags: jersey
can be forgiven for pleading ignorance if you have never heard of Sandecja Nowy Sacz, even if they have just returned to Poland’s top Kellen Davis Womens Jersey division as champions. They are an unremarkable club from a small city in southern Poland, play in a ramshackle little stadium and rank a run to the last eight of the Polish Cup in 2014 as one of their finest achievements. All of which explains the schadenfreude at Freddy Adu’s expense when he was linked with a move to Sandecja earlier this year. Where, people wondered, did it all go so wrong for the USA’s former golden boy? Golden Goal: Gianfranco Zola for Chelsea v West Ham (1996) Read more Despite the rare attention for Sandecja, the suggestion that they were on the verge of signing Adu turned out to be fake news. There was no agreement with the former teenage prodigy who had come nowhere near matching the hype caused by his high rating in Football Manager, a nomadic player who can now be filed alongside Cherno Samba, Keirrison and Tonton Zola Moukoko. Real life is much less forgiving. Sandecja dismissed the rumours, the world kept spinning and Adu’s search for a club went on. Such an inconsequential non-story would normally end there. Yet in a manner befitting a quirky, meandering career that has featured spells in Brazil, Finland, Greece, Portugal, Serbia and Turkey, Adu does have an unwitting attachment with a part of Sandecja’s past that goes beyond transfer gossip. The bond is not obvious at first glance, perhaps even a little tenuous, the kind of coincidence that emerges when you scrabble around the internet looking for information about a young Polish striker who had the world at his feet 10 years ago. Robert who? “Wow!” Dawid Janczyk said, barely able to comprehend how highly he was valued by one of Europe’s top clubs. “Over €4m. I can’t believe it.” This was a lot to take in for the boy from Nowy Sacz. It was the summer of 2007 and Janczyk’s outstanding performances for Poland in the Under-20 World Cup in Canada were enhancing his reputation as one of the most gifted young players in Europe. His coaches raved about his skill and finishing, Liverpool and Tottenham were among the clubs who were keeping tabs on him and there were links with a move to Serie A, but in the end it was CSKA Moscow who won his signature, paying Legia Warsaw €4.2m for the 19-year-old. It was a Polish record, beating the €3.7m that Borussia Dortmund spent on Wisla Krakow’s Jakub Blaszczykowski earlier that year. Advertisement From CSKA’s perspective, Janczyk was worth the money. His potential was obvious. He had started his career at Sandejca, his hometown club, and word of the youngster’s talent spread quickly, his stock rising even higher when Chelsea, the champions of England, gave him a trial in 2005. Janczyk left London without a deal, but the future was still bright and Legia signed him for €6,000. Janczyk continued to develop rapidly in the Polish capital, helping his new team win the league in his first season and scoring a hat-trick against Belgium at the Under-19 European Championship in 2006. He was regarded as Legia’s brightest prospect even though a young striker called Robert Lewandowski was earning rave reviews in the reserves. Lewandowski, a year younger than Janczyk, found his opportunities limited and his progress stalled when he suffered a bad knee injury. He would not go to the U20 World Cup, his next club would be Znicz Pruszkow and it would be a while before he met Jürgen Klopp. The rise of Janczyk, meanwhile, looked unstoppable, and Poland’s hopes of success in Canada largely rested on his shoulders. They were drawn in a group with Brazil, South Korea and the USA, with a fine solo goal from Janczyk against the Koreans helping Poland reach the last 16, where their opponents in Toronto were an Argentina side containing Sergio Agüero, éver Banega and ángel di MaríaArgentina had emerged from their group unbeaten, their defence impenetrable and their attack unstoppable, and it came as a shock they fell behind to an opportunistic strike from Janczyk in the 33rd minute. It was his third goal of the tournament and the first time anyone had found a way past Romero in four matches. CSKA’s scouts nodded approvingly. Janczyk, not Lewandowski, was the name on everyone’s lips in Poland. He was the hotshot striker destined for the top and nothing was going to stand in his way. Nothing, that is, apart from a struggle to cope with premature fame and a troubled relationship with alcohol. Golden Goal: Esteban Cambiasso for Argentina v Serbia & Montenegro (2006) Read more While Janczyk’s first year in Russia ended with him crashing the decisive penalty high into the net when CSKA beat Amkar Perm in the Russian Cup final, he was the forgotten man by the time he left Moscow in 2013, a cautionary tale about young players failing to live up to early potential. He was left out of Poland’s Euro 2008 squad. He went out on loan to four different clubs, with the standard of football in which he was involved dropping each time. Janczyk left coaches unimpressed with his attitude and eventually returned to Sandecja in 2016, the local hero back where it all started – but much sooner than he must have imagined. His career had promised so much and produced so little. It felt inevitable when even that romantic homecoming turned sour and Sandecja decided not to renew Janczyk’s contract at the start of 2017. “Janczyk Amos Youth Jersey was the big star,” Ben Starosta, who played alongside him in 2007, told Ekstraklasa magazine in 2012. “But sometimes things don’t turn out how they are supposed to
wuzhichaoyehongkun362330 Yesterday, 09:32PM · Tags: jersey
The second leg of the Spanish Super Cup was only four minutes old Shawn Horcoff Womens Jersey when a smile stretched across Zinedine Zidane’s face. Real Madrid had just taken the lead, Marco Asensio’s wonderful 35-yard effort dipping past Marc-André ter Stegen, but Zidane did not leap into the air, clench his fists or scream; it was just that smile, appearing easily, almost gently, as if he was not just enjoying this – he had expected it. Already 1-0 on the night, it was 4-1 on aggregate and his team were on course to win the seventh title they have collected in only 18 months under him. By the end, it was 2-0, 5-1 on aggregate, after Karim Benzema added a second past the half-hour. Madrid had the victory, the title and the promise of more, too. Past 1am they paraded the trophy and if the silverware was something to celebrate, the sense of security was another. Such a contrast to Barcelona, who stood and watched them collect it, well beaten. Maybe that had been expressed best in Zidane’s smile. The opening goal had the ingredients to be a surprise but did not feel like one, somehow. Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona: Spanish Super Cup, second leg – as it happened Minute-by-minute report: The Spanish champions outclassed their arch-rivals to win the Super Cup 5-1 on aggregate Read more The shot was superb, hit by a 21-year old to open the scoring in a clásico. But, then, Asensio is a 21-year old who had already scored a sensational goal at the Camp Nou last week; another debut strike for the player who had scored on his club debut, his league debut, his cup debut and his Champions League debut. And in the Champions League final, too – his first on that stage but, on the evidence so far, unlikely to be his last. He departed to a deserved standing ovation with 15 minutes to go. His claim on a first-team place is strong, a clear threat to Gareth Bale. It is early, sure, but Asensio is a special talent and this team will take some stopping. Here, Barcelona could not. It was not only that Madrid were on their way to victory over their greatest rivals; it was the way they were doing it; the way this early lead could not even be considered unexpected: Asensio had already provided a chance for Luka Modric after 75 seconds. Now he had given them the lead. Soon he was drawing roars from the Bernabéu for a neat backheel. There would be more. Madrid were in control, the touch superb, comfortable when they had the ball and quick to recover it when they did not. There was no Bale, no Cristiano Ronaldo either – the former was on the bench, the latter suspended for five games after pushing the referee in the first leg – but it did not matter. Casemiro was on the bench, too, but in his place Mateo Kovacic was magnificent. The strength in depth reinforced still the conviction that the lead Madrid have over their rivals right now is profound. Advertisement Momentarily, Barcelona worked their way into the game, one neat run from Lionel Messi leaving him in front of Keylor Navas yet unable to pull the ball from his grasp. Yet this was Messi and little else. If he came deep, it was because he had to. He fought a losing battle alone. Barcelona looked like a side falling apart: slow, suffocated, disorganised and lacking belief, overrun and barely able to find their way out. Lacking an idea or an identity, too. Off the pitch, crisis looms; results and performances such as this will only hasten its arrival. Madrid pushed them towards the precipice. Their reaction was timid and lasted barely 10 minutes. Marcelo and Asensio ran beyond them, Toni Kroos, Kovacic and Modric played, Benzema linked it all up and at the back Madrid were mostly untroubled, the full-backs flying forward. There were chances, and moments to be enjoyed, the ball moved fast across the pitch, Barcelona’s players usually arriving late if they arrived at all. Dani Carvajal nutmegged Luis Suárez, a moment later Modric flicked over André Gomes’s head, there was applause and olés. And in the midst of it all, the olés still ringing round, the home fans laughing at it all, enjoying the sense of humiliation they imagined their opponents felt, Marcelo found Benzema to score the second. It had started with Sergio Busquets again caught, the passing avenues that were this team’s lifeblood shut down. They departed to a standing ovation at half-time. Barcelona made chances in the second period but the game was gone, the title even more so. Messi hit the bar; Suárez had one blocked, another saved and nodded wide at the far post. When Navas pushed away a Messi shot, he skidded in and stooped to head the bouncing ball against the near post. Then Samuel Umtiti had an effort blocked. All that came in quarter of an hour but it was Madrid’s fans who were enjoying this. They knew they would win; they had done since the fourth minuteSunderland’s Championship credentials were put to the test but they emerged with credit after a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday. After a horrible campaign last year, and a pre-season littered with problems, the Black Cats were not fancied to be much of a threat on their return to the second tier but under the guidance of the streetwise Simon Grayson they took four points from their opening two league games. Celtic draw a blank against Rosenborg in Champions League qualifier Read more They looked like following up their win at Norwich City on Saturday with another impressive three points at Hillsborough after George Honeyman’s sweet fourth-minute strike – and 70 minutes of control. However, David Jones’s stunning 30-yard drive brought Wednesday level and then the home side launched an onslaught, with Gary Hooper hitting the crossbar. Sunderland somehow held on, though, and will be delighted to leave South Yorkshire with a point and their unbeaten record intact, while also denying their opponents a first league win of the season. Nelson Oliveira put his spat with the new manager, Daniel Farke, firmly behind him by helping Norwich City to a 2-0 win over QPR, the Canaries’ first Championship victory of the campaign. The Portuguese striker was dropped from the squad for City’s recent Carabao Cup tie as punishment for his angry goal celebrations in front of Farke at Fulham on the opening day after he had come off the bench to help the visitors secure a point. However, he returned to the fold after apologising for his antics – and marked his first start of the campaign by firing Norwich ahead against QPR just after the break. The on-loan Southampton midfielder Harrison Reed opened his Norwich KeiVarae Russell Authentic Jersey account with a superb second as the Farke era got up and running at Carrow Road
wuzhichaoyehongkun362330 Yesterday, 09:07PM · Tags: jersey
is your favourite Diego Costa moment? Perhaps it is the one where he manages to get Gabriel Paulista sent off for a retaliatory Melvin Gordon Authentic Jersey kick just by standing quite near him, muttering and smiling like some horrible, handsome, impossibly terrible footballing Iago. Or it may be the 2-2 draw with Tottenham where Mark Clattenburg books 12 players but not actually Costa, who has a hand in at least five of those yellows, all the while maintaining an attitude of prim and saintly innocence. Or the 3-1 defeat of Arsenal where Costa “scare-assists” his team’s final goal by running towards Petr Cech and making Arsenal’s goalkeeper perform his best impression of Shaggy from Scooby Doo confronted by a double-dealing fairground owner in a zombie maskNow we have this, the endless summer of Diego. As of this week Costa has spent half the summer and the opening week of the Premier League season holed up in his family home in Lagardo pretending to be inconsolably offended by a text message, all the while painting his current employers as bounders, cads, insufficiently “respectful” and so on. And in the process he has raised some profound issues about transfer fees and freedom of movement that have troubled even the biggest clubs for some time. It is now 22 years since the Bosman decision in the European Court of Justice. Its effects are still working their way through football. What is certain is that the game has been transformed around it. And that clubs, governing bodies and players’ representatives all know we are not quite done with a process that might just have taken a step forward this summer. But back to Diego. There was always a chance Costa’s time at Chelsea would end in a mess. Footballers are often described as being up for the fight. Costa is not just up for it. He is the fight, a man whose entire concept of sport is based on a no-holds barred test of all human capacities, including the mental resilience to rise above the goadings of a sharp-elbowed striker with an infuriating line in wounded innocence. Costa has been a stellar Premier League player through two league titles, 57 goals and almost 400 fouls. It has been wonderful theatre at times. But at the end of this only the hardest heart could fail to raise a smirk of schadenfreude at the sight of Chelsea’s chief weapon of footballing chaos turning his guns on his own employer. Advertisement The situation is unlikely to have been eased by Costa’s comments in a fascinating interview in the Daily Mail. Relaxing on full pay at his family home, Costa suggested Chelsea are “treating him like a criminal”. Like Ariel, the harmless sprite of the forest, all he craves is to be “set free” – agents, contracts and sole approved destination pending. Like a drunken row on a bus, it can take a while to understand exactly what everyone’s arguing about. A quick recap on how we got here. In January Costa was dropped briefly after some unrest behind the scenes and reports of a huge offer from China. Chelsea let it be known they had no intention of selling. Later that month Tianjin Quanjian said plans to sign Costa had been scuppered by new Chinese Super League rules. Costa suggested he had no intention of moving to China anyway. Nobody really knows the exact ins and out of this mid-season shemozzle. All that is certain is Costa has been linked with a move away throughout his time at Chelsea; that his form dropped off a cliff after that; and that Antonio Conte sent Costa a text message in early June that apparently read: “Hi Diego, I hope you are well. Thanks for the season we spent together. Good luck for next year but you are not in my plan.” Costa immediately leaked this to Spanish TV. His brother Jair announced that Costa was all set on moving on and had had “lots of offers”. Since when he has been at home in Lagardo, refusing to train at Chelsea, yawning off his club fines and now smiling, a little sadly, at his team’s understandable state of confusion at the start of the Premier League season. The offending text message looks quite polite, all things considered. Certainly it’s more conciliatory than the text Costa might have received in similar circumstances from, say, Brian Clough or Stan Cullis. Footballing mores dictate that players simply don’t behave like this. “In January, things happened with the coach,” he has said. “I was on the brink of renewing my contract and they put the brakes on it. I suspect the manager was behind it.” Well, yes Diego. This is how football works. You do not get to upset the coach mid-season and still have him warmly support your offer of a new contract. Advertisement From a purely footballing view he has no real gripe. Players are shifted on all the time and hear about it in far less courteous fashion. Costa has already been replaced, and replaced well, by álvaro Morata. The path from here is well trodden. Get fit. Find a new club. And stop bleating on about respect. At which point things get complicated. “Why won’t they let me go if they don’t want me?” Costa has asked. “I want to go to Atlético Madrid.” The most obvious answer to which, not stated but implied, is that Chelsea are either refusing to sell, given the knockdown price Costa would fetch right now; or asking a price Atlético Madrid are unwilling to pay. “I have rejected other offers,” Costa goes on. “They want to sell me to China or other teams. The language is better for me in Spain. If I’m off, I’m going to the club I want to go to, not the club that’s paying the most.” At which point, if you listen closely, you can hear the entire superheated industry of professional club football starting to quiver. Costa’s lawyer has already suggested he will use “all legal mechanisms” to get the move he wants. How would this work in practice? In the real non-footballing world it seems laughable you could be denied the right to leave your job and work for another employer, or told only certain selected future employers are acceptable. Football has come a long way since the retain and transfer system, whereby a player’s registration was owned by his club, who could in extremis refuse to release it and force a former employee into retirement. The Eastham judgment in 1963 relaxed this owner-and-chattel relationship. Bosman attacked clubs’ rights to have a say on a player’s employment beyond the end of his contract. Other rulings have already suggested there is headway to be made challenging further the power of clubs to “own” a player’s employment prospects. Diego Costa accuses Chelsea of being unfair and treating him like a ‘criminal’ Read more Costa aside, this is a huge live issue given the number of top footballers currently out with a bad case of wanting to play for someone else. Philippe Coutinho wants to work for Barcelona. Virgil van Dijk wanted to work for Liverpool. Both have broken the code by taking steps to decide their own professional destiny. Football will remain a special case. Clubs must be protected. Academies and player production systems must be presented with an incentive to produce footballers and stop the whole ramshackle circus from falling to pieces. But for all his infuriating sense of entitlement, his clod-hopping failed powerplay, Costa is undoubtedly on to something. Three things are possible from here. Conte leaves before Costa does and the most improbable of Premier League comebacks becomes a very, very distant possibility. Chelsea and Atlético reach an agreement that makes this whole sorry mess disappear. Or, at Mackensie Alexander Womens Jersey a long shot, the man known during his Albacete days as “that fucking Brazilian” gets to wreak his own peculiar havoc on football’s transfer system at a time when, quite frankly, anything seems possible out there
wuzhichaoyehongkun362330 Yesterday, 01:38AM · Tags: jersey
It finally came at Newcastle on Sunday and Walker-Peters’ patience could hardly have been better rewarded. He played with the energy Miikka Kiprusoff Authentic Jersey and clarity that have become the hallmarks of this Tottenham side and, even if the man-of-the-match award after their 2-0 win was perhaps generous, his performance left little doubt that all those hours spent working to Mauricio Pochettino’s template had been well spent. Walker-Peters operated just as Pochettino asks his full-backs to, wide and high, supporting the attack sensibly while dealing tenaciously enough with the occasional threat posed by Christian Atsu. It was not swashbuckling stuff but it was composed and competent; after a buildup dominated by the frustrations of Danny Rose, there was plenty to be said for such a lack of fuss. The timing of his debut provided an instructive glimpse of the way Tottenham handle their young talent nowadays. While it is true that Walker-Peters benefited from Kieran Trippier’s injury, sustained against Juventus the previous week, and the departure of his near-namesake Kyle Walker, it is equally fair to say Pochettino had planned on having him around. “We expect that they will be involved next season more than they were this season,” he said in May of Walker-Peters and two of his peers, Josh Onomah and Cameron Carter-Vickers. Walker-Peters had been integrated into the first-team squad as 2016-17 progressed, sitting on the substitutes’ bench for the FA Cup wins over Aston Villa and Wycombe, and the current campaign was always likely to be an important one for his prospects. Advertisement That is particularly the case because it may raise an eyebrow that, at 20, he had needed to wait so long for any kind of league football. He is at an age by which many footballers have already been swilled around the loan system several times, and one by which those at the Premier League’s bigger clubs generally tend to risk dropping through the cracks if they have not made some kind of first-team bow. But Pochettino prefers to keep his better young players close; when Football League sides expressed interest in borrowing Walker-Peters last season, with Wigan Athletic among those interested, Tottenham said no. He was far closer to a breakthrough than he had been at the time of the Roda trial and the priority was to steep the player in Pochettino’s methods. A similar approach worked in the case of Harry Winks, who was 18 when he made his Tottenham debut but did not start a Premier League game until six weeks short of his 21st birthday. Winks was never loaned out either and was ready to fit in seamlessly when fully involved last season. The likelihood is that Walker-Peters will be given the opportunity to establish himself similarly, probably as Trippier’s understudy initially but – given the workload demanded of Spurs full-backs – rotated into the side often enough to complete his step up. He began his football life as an attacker and shone in Spurs’ age-group teams through his speed and verve; the aim will be to bring more of that out of him after a debut that was understandably conservative when he neared the box. It may eventually be to his advantage, particularly if Rose’s situation sours further, that he is able to play on the opposite flank too. Premier League: 10 talking points from the opening weekend's action Read more Walker-Peters’ emergence is the latest positive reflection on a Tottenham academy whose fruits were available for wider perusal during the summer when he and Onomah both played important roles in England’s Under-20 World Cup win, the midfielder Marcus Edwards also featuring in an equally successful Uefa Under-19 Championship run. Onomah, now 20 as well, has since gone on loan to Aston Villa; Edwards, compared to a young Lionel Messi by Pochettino, played against Gillingham in last season’s League Cup at the age of 17. There remain high hopes for the centre-back Cameron Carter-Vickers, who has represented the USA youth sides, while the flair of the 18-year-old forward Samuel Shashoua has already sustained several YouTube showreels. It is Walker-Peters who currently occupies the limelight, though, and perhaps it was clever of Pochettino to state before the Newcastle game that a start for the youngster might be “too much for him”. Whether that was intended to manage external expectations or ensure John Klingberg Authentic Jersey the appropriate response from his player, the tactic paid off. Any doubts about Walker-Peters’ stomach for the battle may have been erased within six seconds of kick-off, when he challenged Ayoze Pérez for a Jonjo Shelvey diagonal and, his 5ft 9in frame leaping high against the Newcastle striker, came out comfortably on top. Working with Roda’s long balls may have been too much but Pochettino seems to have had the right effect all on his ownJanuary 2016 Kyle Walker-Peters had a decision to make. Tottenham had agreed that he could join up with Roda JC, a lower mid-table side in the Dutch top flight, on their mid-season training camp in Portugal. Both parties would spend the week looking at one another with the idea of coming to a loan arrangement and, all being well, it would bring a first taste of competitive senior football to a player still three months short of his 19th birthday. A temporary move never materialised and the suggestion when Walker-Peters returned to London was that the number of high balls Roda played was a stumbling block for the right-back. Any fit has to be an appropriate one so instead he slotted back into Spurs’ under-21 side, where he had stood out in the previous 12 months, continued working and waited for his chance
in the South Downs is an unusual town with an anti-establishment history and ethos. Temporary home to Tom Paine in the 18th century, Lewes is known for being descended upon by tens of thousands every year who join in with the bonfire night celebrations of the town’s seven bonfire societies. Last year Donald Trump effigies were in vogue. In 2007 a giant seagull representing Brighton & Hove Albion was torched, a statement about the potential proximity of the Seagulls’ new stadium in Falmer. They have a sense of humour. It makes sense that a rebellious town has a rebellious football club, and Lewes FC revel in the label. As Charlie Dobres, a board member, puts it: “With Brighton & Hove Albion just down the road and in the Premier League, a club like Lewes has to be about more than just winning on the pitch. That has a very narrow sense of meaning and doesn’t appeal to enough people. It appeals to football fans but it doesn’t connect with the town.” 广告 Boldness is needed if the women’s game in England is to fulfil Courtney Upshaw Womens Jersey its potential Suzanne Wrack Read more With a constitution that enshrines community benefit at its heart, the latest step of the small fan-owned football club hit the headlines on 12 July after the board announced that agreement had been reached to establish pay and funding parity between their men’s and women’s teams. It has sparked a debate across football. A bold campaign branded “Equality FC” launched with a powerful video in which they claim to be the first professional or semi-professional side to make the move. It is not the first time Lewes FC have led the way in women’s football. They campaigned heavily for promotion between the Women’s Premier League and Women’s Super League when the WSL was first established and membership was licensed. Sheffield, Brighton & Hove Albion and now Tottenham have all benefited from that campaign. They dropped Ladies from their name just before Arsenal’s recent high-profile switch away from the antiquated term. Their women’s team also use the club’s main pitch for games alongside the men’s team. It was the community remit that fed the financial change: “The evolution and revolution of the women’s side here had to happen because you can’t honestly say that you’re a community benefit society if half the population are not being treated equally,” Dobres said. Advertisement The director of women’s football, Jacquie Agnew, who founded the women’s team 15 years ago, was sold on the concept that has become the core message of Equality FC: “Lewes football club is a parent, why would you invest more in your boy than your girl? “It just made sense. Some people use crowd size and revenue as barriers to equality but they are red herrings. They are the way they are because women’s football has been held back for so long. We at the equal funding in cycling, at Billie Jean King’s fight for equal prize money in tennis and we saw our women putting in just as many hours as the men and thought: ‘Why wouldn’t you?’” The decision also had to pass the board of 10. “Whilst there was a majority saying absolutely, you always get one or two that take convincing,” says Agnew. “It does put the brakes on a bit because you start having conversations about the risks and challenges. It can be tricky because you’re so excited that you’re just about to crack this almighty ceiling and yet you’re having to have conversations that might hold you back from doing it. That was difficult.” Some may question whether this parity is achievable only when a club’s ownership model is not solely motivated by profit. But Dobres is not sold on that: “This is as much a business decision as well as being the right thing to do,” he says. “It will make you money. If an owner likes making profit they should invest in their women’s team. Even if you can’t stand women’s football, even if you’re the biggest sexist imaginable, the profit motive says invest in your women’s team.” And he is right, the profitability of the men’s game can only go so far and grow so big. The avenues for growth are becoming smaller and much more competitive. That is why the biggest European clubs spend so much time trying to crack new markets in Asia and the US. In its infancy women’s football offers huge money-making potential. The FA chief Robin Yount Youth Jersey executive, Martin Glenn, has pointed out in recent months that: “It’s expensive but I maintain any pound spent on the women’s game has a far higher rate of return than just about anything else I can spend.” There’s a huge TV audience for women’s football. It’s time to capitalise on it Anna Kessel Read more Dobres thinks the problem is more about short-term profits taking a hit. “You won’t make a return in one year, or even two or three, but no sensible business should expect to make a return that quickly. However, you will make a return in the five- to 10-year period and after that you will have a very mature revenue generating product. It’s about levels of patience and understanding how long it takes investments to come off.” Lots of clubs are just not willing to make that financial commitment. For Lewes, who are not just redistributing existing funds – they plan to raise the level of investment and pay of the women through increasing their income – it is “costing in the high tens of thousands”. Advertisement “Sponsorships are crucial and increasing ownerships, a crucial revenue stream for a democratically owned club, are going up. But we have to make it sustainable. There is no point in doing it for two, three or four years and then saying: ‘Oh, that was nice but we’ve run out of money,’” Dobres said. “We did have an operating budget, but it’s increased tenfold because of the pay parity,” said Agnew. Both board members are bullish about what the FA should be doing to grow women’s football. Agnew thinks there is an onus on sponsors to say: “I’m only going to give you this money if you split it between men’s and women’s football.” This is the kind of boldness she believes is needed to go beyond the “tiny little growth we see officially. When you dive deeper into it you question whether the sport is actually growing at all.” Dobres explains: “It’s actually declining at grassroots level, once a week participation for 16- to 25-year-olds has gone down at exactly the same time that investment has gone in at the top.” There are a number of reasons for that. “If you invest a lot of money at the top, the accidental consequence is that you make an even bigger gap to the bottom.” Another problem is that the “FA is giving money to men’s clubs to drive the growth of the women’s game. Their investment which aims to get more women playing is being put into football league clubs because they are high profile and have the facilities.” “But they don’t have the coaches, the passion or the pathways that exist in the grassroots and intermediate women’s game,” interjects Agnew. “If you consider the whole of the FA WPL north and south, and the combination of leagues below,” Dobres says. “You’ve got a pretty good national spread. Put the money into them and connect them with the schools. They have the players who can coach, they have other people who can coach and they offer a solid pathway into the game.” Some say that women’s football needs to generate greater income and garner more media coverage before it can aspire to reach the pay levels of men’s teams. For Dobres, their change is about trying to prompt that growth the opposite way. “Things need to change. We’ve got to do something so that everything else shifts, otherwise it’s not going to,” he says. When others point to the top and say there is no way you will see a Chelsea Ladies player on £200,000 a week, he is insistent that they should want to, that they should want to reach that and should put bold plans in place for getting from where they currently are, to that top level, no matter how long a time frame. The club captain, Kelly Newton, a stalwart of the club since 2004 who has won 18 trophies in that time, is “immensely proud of what the club is trying to do and what it is standing for”. She began playing at nine with a local boys team and, just weeks in, was told girls could not play with boys. Devastated, she had to wait until she was 14 before she was able to find a women’s side she could train with. “I trained with them week in week out but couldn’t actually play any games,” she says. She now juggles football with managing the warehouse of a local logistics company, who also sponsor the team. Newton is hopeful that Equality FC, which is emblazoned across this season’s shirts, will prompt others to follow suit and will result in improved participation, standards and accessibility. For her personally not much has changed but she hopes that being more attractive to young players and increased attendances will mean that “instead of being a mid-table team we can now be fighting up near the top of the table”. Advertisement The manager, John Donohoe, has similar aspirations and explains that “football, for most women players at this level, costs them money. We hope to, at the very minimum, stop that. If players do get a reward for something they love then you’d like to think they’d stay; you’d like to think that people would like to be a part of that commitment from the club.” It is hard to see Equality FC as anything other than a great move by the club. The discussion around pay in the women’s game has taken a leap forward as a result. The talk is more and more about the hows rather than the ifs and whys as a result of their campaign. A cynic could say it is a PR stunt. But, if this is a PR stunt, and it is one that will improve the wages of women players, then give us more stunts like it
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