Here, at The Sportist, we like new things. New things like women’s football on the TV, or representation of female competitors in all Olympic nations, or chocolate Philadelphia (seriously, if you’ve not tried it yet, it’s flipping brilliant). We also like rugby quite a lot, hence our two recent trips to the heartlands of rugby to pick up a sporting fix. So today, in the interests of new things, we decided to bring in one of the non-mainstream papers to our sporting round up. So please welcome The Rugby Paper to this weekend’s sports media roundup, alongside the lineup of usual suspects. I bet you’re as excited as we are.
The Sunday Times
Sports Pages: 17
Women in Sport: 1 page
In recent weeks, The Sunday Times has been running old pro The Observer close as our weekend sports paper of choice. Aside from a slightly bizarre refusal to actually acknowledge the sporting activity of the female populace in the aftermath of their Sportswoman of the Year awards earlier in the month, the paper has actually been genuinely growing its coverage of women in sport and this week sees further encouragement.
1 page out of 17 may not look all that great, but this one page actually constitutes four genuinely separate articles on some of the highest profile recent women’s sporting action. From back to front (as I still insist on reading sports papers), we get a fantastic piece on Jess Varnish and Becky James’ performance at the Glasgow leg of the cycling World Cup, demonstrating the frightening strength enjoyed by British cycling at present. Jason Kenny gets a mention on the men’s side, but the women’s sport is clearly the big ticket here and seeing it reported as such is a great boon. A pleasingly insightful (albeit quite personally focussed) interview with Laura Robson – she still travels economy class, don’t’cha know? – and a fascinating Anna Watkins column follow, before we reach the real ace in The Sunday Times’ hand: a full, pictorially illustrated interview with England flanker Heather Fisher.
Honestly, this is basically worth the price of admission of itself: Fisher, the victim of a broken back in 2011, is a ferociously competitive character and her drive and determination shine through in a way that few sport stars can match. The interview gives a good background to the forthcoming England – New Zealand test series and brings a reminder that the first two tests will enjoy free coverage on the RFU website, while the last will be broadcast on Sky 1. Women’s Rugby! Live! On Sky 1! Seriously, new things. We love ‘em.
Sports Pages: 11 plus 28 page football supplement
Women in Sport: NOTHING
A quick dive into the cesspit at the other end of the Murdoch stables brings us to The Sun’s pathetic and continued refusal to acknowledge that women play sport. Even the horrendously written 6 sentences they actually dedicate to the cycling is entirely focussed on Jason Kenny. The Sun is not worth the price of the paper it’s printed on, so we’re just going to cut and paste the following for each week of The Sun from now until the end of time. ‘Rubbish again. Whatever.’
The Rugby Paper
Sports Pages: Well, the whole thing. It’s a sport paper.
Women in Sport: 1 side panel
I have to say, I was really hoping for more from this. The Rugby Paper is an institution and genuinely the best place to go for your hit of rugby coverage, so it’s really disappointing to see that the women’s game gets almost as much attention as schoolboy rugby. Sigh. Nonetheless, the panel that is there is good enough reading to make it worthwhile having a perusal and there is slightly more encouragement in the fact that two columns are by-lined by Laura Murton – if we can’t have coverage of women’s sport, at least we get some coverage of sport by women. It’s a start.
The Mail on Sunday
Sports Pages: 24
Women in Sport: ¼ page
Laura Robson’s obviously been doing the rounds this week as she pops up in The Mail on Sunday with another interview, somewhat laughably billed as an ‘EXCLUSIVE’ by the Mail sports team despite the fact that the same exclusive is in most other papers this weekend. Unfortunately, Robson is all we get of women’s sport in The Mail this weekend apart from the briefest mention of James and Varnish at the tail end of a paragraph on the cycling. Must do better.
Sports Pages: 20
Women in Sport: 1 page
Typical coverage from The Observer this week, who again demonstrate their commitment to women’s sport by actually, y’know, covering it. Revolutionary, I know. I’m actually a bit torn this week, because at heart I think this week’s Observer doesn’t quite meet the mark set by The Sunday Times, but it’s seriously good to see some sort of competition in the women’s sporting stakes.
This week’s fare is pretty standard stuff, the now expected Laura Robson interview is given near full page billing here (and it really is a good interview, but a little part of me does wonder whether Heather Watson shouldn’t be getting just a bit more attention given that she’s the title winner of the two, after all. Anyway, I digress) and it’s backed up by a good piece on the cycling, which again prioritises Becky James and Jess Varnish’s respective performances.
Seeing as we all know how good The Observer is, it would be great to see them step it up again before the end of the year and really pull out all the stakes for one week on women’s sport. Tell us what’s going on, give us some highlights of the week to come, educate us. We need it.
Special Guest Appearance – Patrick Vieira’s Twitter Feed
Okay, no, this isn’t media, but given that Patrick Vieira is one of my all-time sporting heroes (I’m an Arsenal fan…sue me) I had to mention it.
Browsing through Twitter today, I came across these two little gems from the now Manchester City Football Development Executive:
“Great game at @MCLFC who won 1-0 today. Well done ladies.
Given that Manchester City are beginning to generate some significant (and well-earned) momentum behind their women’s team, it’s great to see one of their most public administrative figureheads giving serious attention to that side of the sport. Patrick, you utter legend, you.
Images from http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport, http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/ (via getty, http://www.mclfc.com/ and RFU.co.uk (thanks!)