St George’s Park, the new £100 Million football centre is undeniably a Good Thing. With state of the art fitness facilities, training grounds, medical units and even a chamber that replicates different playing conditions it provides all 24 England teams, men’s and women’s alike, with a fantastic opportunity. With a dedication to nurturing talent and an aim of boosting the women’s game and popularity it gives the England women’s teams a chance to train alongside their male counterparts and possibly give them a few tips on how to do well in tournaments.
As i’ve said, St George’s Park is a Good Thing and my co-blogger is in the midst of writing a sensible, practical analysis of what the new training facility will mean for the women’s game, meanwhile I’m just going to very quickly point out an example of the portrayal of women’s sport in the media. Bare in mind St George’s Park has expressly said it aims to improve and boost the profile of the women’s game and bare in mind England and Team GB ladies performances over recent years in comparison to the men’s teams, it then does seem a little odd that the only woman to appear in the press photos and media coverage from the Official Opening the other day is the Duchess of Cambridge. Out of a whole squad of England Women players not one of them is in a press photo, shaking hands with royals or demonstrating how marvelous all the equipment is etc. Little git Ashley Cole can feature pride of place in the promo shots despite upsetting the FA and generally being an absolute moron, yet Casey Stoney isn’t anywhere to be seen. Or Steph Houghton. Or Rachel Yankey. Or Hope Powell (CBE). I’ve been informed they were definitely there, the press just aren’t interested in the pictures of it.