Sisters are Doing it for Themselves

I’ve never really got futbol. In my experience, few gay people do. Having said that, there is a Gay Football Supporters Network and London has its very own gay-friendly team, the London Titans, who play serious soccer in local leagues. So what do I know? Perhaps times are changing and the sport is finally shedding its well-trodden racist, sexist and homophobic image. I suspect the jury’s still out on that one. In any case, it’s too late for me. I’m set in my gay old ways. The only football game I’ve ever attended was when I popped along with my sister to watch my young nephew proudly captain his little league team in a local park. My usually calm and matriarchal sibling was transformed into a screaming harridan. Such is the intoxicating power of the beautiful game.

England gave football to the world then ruined it by exporting hooliganism. The tribal thuggery that afflicted the English game in the 80s and 90s has largely died out but is still alive and kicking in many other corners of the world. Fenerbahçe, one of Turkey’s top soccer teams, had a bit of bother with their own fans of late. Rather than play their matches behind locked gates, they decided to punish their unruly supporters by filling their stadium with women and children only. Men were persona non grata. It was a rip-roaring success that hit the headlines. The ladies electrified the good humoured ambience as they partied in the stands, sang, chanted, waved and danced. They knew all the words and all the moves. Was this a just a cynical gimmick to attract positive PR or a genuine attempt to keep the bad boys at bay and let the ladies shine? Who knows? Still, women are invading the pitch all over the world these days with their own local and national teams. Are Turkish women finally coming out of the kitchen and doing it for themselves? I do hope so. Go girls!

Thanks to Marie for the inspiration for this one.

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18 thoughts on “Sisters are Doing it for Themselves

  1. That’s fabulous!! I know Fenerbace, they have had problems with their fans for years. I know football has the most terrible image in terms of the misogynistic nature of its fans – but as a die-hard female Arsenal fan I can only say that it IS horribly addictive, and you can also see the ugly side of me when I am getting worked up over a game – ardently wishing a member of the opposing team falls down and breaks a leg, etc. And the air tends to take on a bluish tinge… It’s awful. Something I’m not proud of but … I just can’t help it! Don’t worry, these well-behaved Turkish ladies would turn into terrors in a week or two…


    1. Marie, our friend who suggested the post, is also an ardent Arsenal fan. Even her dog Harry, wears an Arsenal collar. She used to chant ‘Arsenal, Arsenal, we’ll all going up the Arsenal.’ Charming 😉


  2. There is something about Arsenal fans don’t know what it is but they are so into it I used to work with one and touchy as hell about the team. I learnt very quickly to never mention it or else subject myself to realms of replay. I have no idea what it is all about I think it must be primevil, sure thats not how you spell that.


    1. I know, we Arsenal fans are rather weird… You should see my son. We live in a tropical climate and on a steaming hot morning he will be watching the Arsenal game… wearing his thick woollen Arsenal scarf. How on earth do you spell… primaeval??


  3. Having been brought up in a household where each male member supported a different team, football (along with cricket, golf, American football – you name it, we watched it) was unavoidable. So when I came to Bodrum, supporting ‘Fener’ (As did almost everyone else in our little tribe) was a no brainer. I’ve been to matches (having a seat fly over your head is really quite terrifying), met team members/coaches, got signed shirts and argued with GS supporters many a night. However, all this recent palaver over fixed matches and the like has really put a dampener on the excitement for me. Great show by the girls but could they explain the offside rule, I wonder?


  4. You know I love the beautiful game, and after 10 years of Daughter’s games I can safely attest that I am no harridan. Impassioned, yes. Screeching, no. Reading the comments from the ardent Arsenal fans reminds me of Nick Hornby’s great book ‘Fever Pitch’ about being a perenially hopeful supporter. Sports certainly can unite, inspire, inflame, divide.

    Before moving to The Netherlands, I lived 5 years in Chapel Hill North Carolina, home of the lengendary college basketball Tar Heels — and just down the road from Durham, home of their equally illustrious arch rivals the Duke Blue Devils. The rivalry was so deeply entrenched (we’re talking generations here) that the title of one Heels’ fan’s book was ‘To Hate Like This Is To Be Happy Forever’. Enough said.


    1. Yes, there are equal amounts of love (and hope/blind faith) and sheer hatred wrapped up in each of us football fans – whether soccer or the US variety… We are sort of like Yin and Yang, all in one.


  5. OK, I am pretty clueless about futbol and to be honest, I am more interested in watching the fans from an anthropological perspective than the game itself, having been first exposed to soccer in London at a Crystal Palace game. BUT all that said, I did love this video. I found it so empowering and inspiring! Living in a Galatasaray-or-die household and family, I spend much time looking for any evidence of ladies at those matches – so again – this was a fab way to start my day. Thanks for posting it!


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