Don’t call them WAGs | Readings for 16 November 2006

Dick, Kerr’s Ladies of Preston began playing in 1917 and continued through 1965, winning 758 of 828 games.

London | Following Luton Town manager Mike Newell‘s criticisms of female referees, Denise Winterman recaps 111 years of women’s football in England. This history dates to the first recorded match at Crouch End Athletic Ground in north London in March 1895 and features women in much more active roles than that of WAG (wife and girlfriend). “The really sad thing is that women in football only make the headlines when some man has made a sexist comment,” notes Marianne Spacey, a former England international. (BBC News Magazine, 14 Nov 06)

England | Everyone’s going conkers

Image by Luke MacGregor | Reuters

Edginess about “conkers”—the 200-year-old tradition of dueling chestnuts, in quest of schoolyard superiority—has created a backlash from those who fear that an “antirisk culture” is stifling childish fun. Conn Iggulden‘s Dangerous Book for Boys advises how to win at conkers and football, “as well as how to skip rocks across water and experiment on insects,” writes Brendan O’Neill. (Christian Science Monitor, 14 Nov 06)

Australia | Our Aloisi anniversary and the world has come to the party
One year since John Aloisi‘s penalty kick lifted Australia over Uruguay into the World Cup finals, a move into the Asian confederation and boosts to grassroots soccer have helped position the game relative to other domestic football codes. Before success in Germany over the summer, “Australia was greeted in the corridors of power in much the same way that, say, Romania would be greeted in rugby union—with polite, well-meaning condescension,” writes Aaron Timms. “Now, Australia counts for something.” (Sydney Morning Herald, 16 Nov 06)

Theater | ‘A Night in November’


WBUR–Boston’s sports magazine show interviews Marty Maguire, the actor in the one-man production A Night in November. (The show, first staged in 1994 in Belfast, runs into December at a theater company in Somerville, Mass.) Maguire takes the roles of 25 characters in a transformational tale linked to sectarian passions in Northern Ireland and to football. (Only a Game, 11 Nov 06)

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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