Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Billy on the Box: Carry on girls before I get sent to Coventry

What is the point? A depressingly slow, ponderous game of football played at a stadium with swathes of empty seats and only one team ever going to win it.

But that’s enough about the Scottish Cup Final, we also had the climax to the Women’s equivalent south of the border on Saturday, a game that provided two Caledonian goalscorers, so that won’t be Celtic and Motherwell then.

The two games went head to head but Sky, strangely as they had already pencilled in Survival Sunday couldn’t find a suitable word beginning with S to describe Saturday’s double helping.

I can think of one, but the next few paragraphs could have me on dodgy enough ground, so I’ll say nothing.

You would have thought Sky would have invited back a couple of old presenters to host proceedings to show they’d seen the error of their ways, but that theory was smashed to pieces.

Then again when you have Arsenal (as is the law in ladies footy) up against Bristol Academy, I half expected to tune in to find Sid James grabbing Barbara Windsor in the studio and her top flying off as Carry On Up The Corridor of Uncertainty began in earnest.

Instead we had Vicky Gomersall, the leggy blonde one off Sky Sports News. Ah, that doesn’t really narrow it down much, but she assured us this was ‘the highlight of the women’s football calendar’. It really makes you wonder where things didn’t shine so brightly.

There were the usual suspects at the Ricoh Stadium in Coventry, with England coach Hope Powell and Arsenal’s injured Faye White in the studio and resident Scouse munchkin Sue Smith in the commentary box, but there was little made of referee Sian Massey’s return to the spotlight.

Good to see her performances this season got her the big gig and those of you raising any eyebrows in knowing fashion will be given a good slap with a super injunction.

Also nice to see Katie Chapman back for the Gunners, who it was revealed missed a vital part of the season in 2008 because she was pregnant. This was the only injury that Owen Hargreaves didn’t have in his time at Old Trafford.

Faye told us that Katie always gave ‘110 per cent’ and while the ladies may not go in for the writhing on the ground in agony, moaning at the ref and the cheating that besets the gentleman’s game, it’s good to see they’ve picked up the clichés.

As one male fan said about footballers that they ‘act like girls, these girls act like men, proper men’, but that may just be that Bernard Bresslaw had come back dressed up and confusion and hilarity ensued.

Kim Little and Julie Fleeting won the day for Arsenal, for whom our old favourite, Jordan Nobbs (either a footballer or a damning slur on the activities of a former model) also appeared.

“She was a finalist for Sunderland against Arsenal when she was 16 two years ago. She’s 18 now,” as the startling revelations came thicker and faster than a MP dishing the dirt at Westminster, while letting suffragettes down everywhere, Sue said she liked keeper Emma Byrne’s pink shirt.

“That’s a bit of a girlie thing to say,” she admitted, but not as daft as touchline reporter Bianca Westwood who asked Bristol coach ‘how are your ladies feeling today?’ and there wasn’t a Sid cackle or an ‘oooh matron’ to be heard anywhere.

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