I’m fed up with women talking balls

By DAVID WOODING

EURO 2012 is here and my wife has suddenly developed an interest in football again.

I couldn’t help revisiting a polemic article I wrote during the 2006 World Cup, which created a bit of a storm.  It ended with me making an appearance on TV’s Richard and Judy to defend my stance – and face an angry feminist.

Here it is again for you to read and comment on. Remember, please, it’s tongue in cheek but I’d be pleased to read your comments.

WE’RE halfway through the World Cup – and I can take no more.

Not the football, that’s fine…it’s the wife talking about football that has to stop. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a male chauvinist.

And I love the sound of my wife’s voice – almost as much as she does. But I’m fed up with listening to her talking balls.

I snapped as she began wittering about changes in England’s midfield tactics.

Like millions of men, I’ve been left speechless by the sudden change that affects women every four years.

Whenever I brought footie into the conversation before the World Cup, I was told to shut up and stop being a bore.

Now, when the subject is raised, I can’t get a word in edgeways. Suddenly, she’s the fount of all knowledge on the subject. It doesn’t stop there. She’s even put an England flag on HER car. And a woman in an England shirt has now become the height of fashion and sexiness. Strange. When my son and I don our Liverpool shirts, she complains we look like “oiks”.

I can take that but her attempt to become a living room pundit drives me out of my armchair and up the wall. It’s also the frequent stating of the obvious, like: “The pitch looks green.” Or: “Ooh, that wasn’t very nice,” when a thug of a defender clatters through one of England’s few remaining fit strikers.

Then she shows her grasp of tactics by yelling “pass it” or “shoot” whenever a player has the ball – even if it is Paul Robinson taking a goal-kick.

It’s worst when she gets a female pal around and they discuss the merits of David Beckham or Thierry Henry.

Even this is just about bearable.

What I can’t stand is when she tries to show off her “knowledge” of the beautiful game. Even Sven’s got more nous. It’s painful.

Let’s admit the facts – women are genetically programmed not to understand the offside rule.

On Saturday, I’ll settle down to watch the England match with a beer in one hand and a red card in the other.

She has warned me that if I wave it at her she’ll exact revenge – I’ll be banned from going shopping with her. What a result!

THE THINGS THEY SAY…

What happens if both England and Sweden win all their group games?

How old is Nancy?

What? Another game? How many more are they playing?

Ooh, that was a big kick – when the goalie takes a goal-kick.

David Beckham’s changed his hair.

You’re not having another lager, are you?

Never mind, there’s always next time…

YOUR TURN, LADIES: GIRLS, just who is talking balls? Add your comments below!

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Justice for the 96 Hillsborough disaster victims is a step closer

By DAVID WOODING

IN the end, it didn’t even need a vote.

After 22  tireless years of fighting for justice, the families of 96 fans killed in Britain’s worst football disaster finally got their way without a murmur of opposition.

In a long-overdue debate, MPs agreed to the full release of documents relating to the Hillsborough disaster.

Hillsborough Memorial and eternal flame at Anfield

The historic decision means the grieving relatives – many of them in the public gallery of the Commons tonight – have cleared a final obstacle in their hard and lonely struggle to find the truth.

The debate was triggered when more than 139,000 people signed a government e-petition demanding uncensored publication of 40,000 papers relating to the disaster and its aftermath.

But there was no need for a vote after Home Secretary Theresa May apologized for the anxiety caused to fans in the past and vowed to put everything into the open.

She revealed that all documents had been handed to an independent panel set up by her predecessor Alan Johnson in the last Labour government .

Mrs May told MPs: “I shall do everything in my power to ensure that the families and the public get the truth.

“No government papers will be withheld from the panel, no attempts to suppress publication will be made, no stone will be left unturned.”

Merseyside Labour MP Steve Rotheram, who was at the ill-fated match as a fan, took six minutes to read out the names of all 96 victims to a hushed Commons chamber. When he had finished, MPs and those in the public gallery burst into applause – rarely heard in the chamber.

Pat Joynes, who lost her son Nicholas, 27, in the pre-match crush before the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, was among those who travelled to the Commons to hear him.

Caged

She said: “Twenty-two years is a long time to wait to find out the truth about what happened to our loved ones.

“I am hoping Nicholas and the others are looking down on us and the spirit of the 96 is with us as we hear the debate.”

Ninety-five Liverpool fans were crushed to death in caged pens in the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium as crowds were still arriving for the match.

The 96th victim, Tony Bland, was in a coma for three years after the match and died in 1992.

In the immediate aftermath, police “sources” claimed the tragedy was caused by drunken Liverpool fans whom they say arrived late for the match.

A carpet of flowers near the Kop goal at Anfield on the day after the tragedy.

While the allegations were discounted at an inquiry led by Lord Justice Taylor, the slur has dogged the club for years.

The long-awaited release of these documents will finally reveal the original source of these vile stories – and why they were given so much credence.

It is also hoped they will disclose what the government of the day was told about the disaster and how journalists were briefed.

The families, the club and their fans will never forget that awful afternoon. It is etched into the very fabric of Liverpool FC, with an eternal flame flickering outside the Shankly Gates.

But perhaps the release of these papers, which is expected next year, will help them find closure.

And allow the 96 to rest in peace.

Follow me on Twitter: @davidwooding