My live sport fix for this weekend took me to the Chigwell Construction Stadium – Dagenham and Redbridge’s home ground. An easy journey for me, I drove to Upminster and jumped on the train, 4 stops later and a 5 minute walk and I was there. I’Il drive all the way next time there was plenty of street parking around. My ticket cost me just £13 – great value!

I had lovely company, Tate (a Chelsea fan),his Uncle (an Arsenal fan) and his Grandad Wally (The Hammers fan!) I did make note of all three names but somehow managed to deleted them, argh! Wally had been a few times but Tate and his Uncle were watching live for the first time. Both were pleasantly surprised.

Annoyingly we had the company of a REALLY loud man, he was amusing to start with, but started with an abusive (not hugely) anti-Spurs chant, he was put right on that by a lady sitting in front of him who informed him that doesn’t happen at Women’s games. He seemed to think he was one of the coaches, I have no idea how West Ham had managed without him!

A look at the teams –

7 games in West Ham had 2 wins and Spurs 3, in the previous season Spurs had finished 8th and West Ham 9th, that in my mind made them fairly well matched. There are 12 teams in the Women’s Superleague, so, each team plays 22 games. This top tier of Women’s Football in England started in 2010 and became a fully professional league for the 2018-19 season, when 11 teams played. At that time teams had to apply for a licence and part of the conditions was to offer players a contract of at least 16 hours and to have a Youth Academy. Sunderland couldn’t meet those requirements and were demoted to Tier 3.

Leading players in the WSL can earn £200K and salaries start at £20K, around 30 players are on FA funded contracts over and above their club contracts, the FA contracts are on a sliding scale between £15 – £30K. From 2020 England Women receive the same match fee and bonuses as the men. The England match fee is around £2K. I watch Women’s Rugby regularly and know that the majority play on a Saturday or Sunday then have to get up for work on a Monday morning. It’s brilliant that women footballers are making their living playing the game. That has attracted overseas players to the league however, hence the requirement for a Youth Academy.

West Ham’s starting VI was top heavy with overseas players; with 7 – Mackenzie Arnold – Australia, Hawa Gissoko – France, Katerina Svitkova – Czech Republic, Digny Brynjarsdottir – Iceland, Lisa Evans – Scotland (not overseas as such), Tameka Yallop – Australia, Yui Hosegawa – Japan. So, 4 English players. Spurs were the equal opposite, with 7 English players and 4 overseas: Tinja- Rikka Korpela – Finland, So-hyun Cho – South Korea, Kyah Simon – Australia, Maeva Clemaron – France.

A little about the actual game, it was a cagey affair with neither side quite managing to get that final ball right until the single goal was scored by Brynjarsdottir in the second half, West Ham had the better of the play in that half and were deserving of the goal that won the game. Keeper Arnold safeguarded the lead with several great saves. There were some classy players on both sides and for me Neville for Spurs and Hosegawa for West Ham shone, but they weren’t alone.

This is good football and deserving of bigger crowds than the 1242 who were out on a chilly Sunday afternoon, I’ll definitely be back! West Ham’s next home match is on December 15th against Brighton in the cup. Spurs play Coventry away on the same evening.

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