Tuktuk Day 128

Football, Football, Football
It’s always a pleasure to hear from Clare at She Can Kick It. Here is her latest newsletter.

“Hi, how are you? Missing the football season yet? Don’t worry, it won’t be long before we have the women’s Euros qualifiers, and there’s the men’s Euros this summer too. And plenty of women’s history still to learn.Last newsletter, I whined on a bit about how much I had to do and stressing about my team’s first summer tournament with me as coach. Today you get to hear about what happened :)I was dreading the tournament but all my stressful preparation meant I could enjoy the day. We had two teams in the event and although we didn’t win any games, we kept some of the best teams in the region to really respectable score lines. Excellent fight from my teams: they really frustrated top opponents.
The Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley was fantastic, not least because my team, Man Utd, lifted the trophy for the first time in their history (history is literally being made every week in women’s football at the moment). Great experience to be there. And a friend was randomly two rows behind me at the stadium – which was fun (and statistically unlikely).I know what you’re thinking: she’s about to say she hasn’t had time to write any of the book. And you’d be right! I haven’t had time, but I’ve made time because I really want to get this out to you by the end of the year – the word count has gone up by about 4000 again, I think.

History: Coppa del Mondo, Italy 1970

Italy was the first nation to organise major international competitions for women’s football. In 1970, the Italian Women’s football federation, along with sponsors Martini & Rossi (the famous alcoholic drinks makers & James Bond favourite), organised the Coppa del Mondo (World Cup) – also known as the Martini and Rossi Cup.Women’s football was still banned in many countries and hugely inhibited virtually everywhere except Italy, at this time. The English Women’s Football Association had very recently got the ban overturned in England and were cautiously proceeding with organising a national team. Since they didn’t want to rock the boat, when asked if they wanted to send a team to the unsanctioned event in Italy, they declined.Up stepped Harry Batt and his unofficial Lionesses, who went to the event under the banner of the “British Independents”, although everyone called them “England”.England beat West Germany 5-1 in their opening game, but it was Denmark and Italy who played the final. Denmark won the title in front of 40,000 spectators. England came third. The Italians moved their next world cup to Mexico: the now famous Copa ’71 (the film is brilliant, btw).

My footballing story: The new stories

Little did I imagine when I was kicking a ball around the park as an 11-year-old that I would end up coaching a team of the same age several decades later. But that is what happened this season. It’s been a rollercoaster. Learning all the FA systems has been a challenge in itself! And all the admin of running a team. But I knew it would be a lot of extra work, I knew it would take time to plan training and arrange matches. I didn’t anticipate how much it would change me as a person though. I didn’t appreciate how rewarding it would be to see a team of players with little to no confidence in their abilities, begin to shine as individuals and build as a team. I still lose sleep worrying about how to help them improve, but over the past few weeks several parents have told me how much their child is enjoying their football, how their confidence is improving, and how it is the thing they most look forward to every week. And as I slotted through the perfect assist at training this week to demonstrate something to them, I still felt like that 11-year-old girl in the park! I stopped short of physically wheeling away in delight, but mentally I was celebrating that assist like it was the FA Cup Final 🙂

I’d love to hear what you think of this newsletter. How you can support me this week? Forward my newsletter to friends/family, post about it on social media, share the subscribe link https://bit.ly/she-can-kick-it

PS Number of book words written so far…45,065

PPS Don’t forget ….Sunday The West London Football Programme and Badge Fair. Sunday 2nd June 2024. Details above.


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