Cooney and Black

David Ginola is the champion of women’s football. Fine. But let’s be realistic: their game ranks about as high as Sunday-morning stuff compared to the real thing

Girls football

Steve Bott byline

SO, David Ginola wants the Women’s World Cup to be run at the same time as the men’s version. That’s fine as long as they don’t expect prime-time television. They should settle for a Freeview or a similar channel like they do now with the club and international women’s game.

They are OK at what they do but, remember, this is women’s football and thus it ranks about as high as Sunday-morning stuff compared to the real thing. I have covered and attended several women’s club games at what they call their top level. It’s poor. Only Arsenal of a few years ago stood out for me, with Kim Little and one or two others shining.

It has improved a little, but you only have to look at the attendances to realise it is limited in its pulling power. Not a lot of people are interested.

Ginola is a magnificent ambassador for them. He’s handsome, French, with a bottle of Cointreau in one pocket no doubt and some Ferrero Roche in the other.

Whatever, I wish them luck, if only a little, in their bid! It’ll certainly help Ginola get the women’s vote in his power struggle with FIFA.

One thing is for sure: a women’s football team or club will NEVER hit the giddy heights that Manchester United have consistently maintained in lists such as the Deloitte football clubs’ rich list.

Second in the current one, thanks to raking in some £433m from all incoming revenue sources during the 2013-14 season, MUFC are tipped to topple the similarly mighty Real Madrid from their No. 1 spot if they return to the Champions League next season.

It is all about money more and more, not just at the top but also at the bottom – one the chase for success and wealth, the other survival. Cambridge United were given a massive boost in that respect by holding Manchester United to a draw in their FA Cup fourth round tie at a sold-out Abbey Stadium.

That guarantees another lucrative pay day from the replay at Old Trafford, although that venue will be far from sold out. United did nothing to encourage their fans to turn out again by settling for a game of containment against a team 75 places lower than them.

I turned off before the end. Not the best of times for the two Manchester clubs right now. Manchester City, emerging from their Cup humiliation at the hands of Middlesbrough, spent some £25m on Wilfried Bony the other day, only to see him disappear off to the Africa Cup of Nations.

By the time he and Yaya Toure come back. City’s bid to retain their Premier League crown may be all over – particularly if leaders Chelsea smash them at Stamford Bridge next weekend.

The Africa Cup of Nations, to my mind, is a waste of time – unless you happen to be African. It robs teams of vital players at a crucial time in the season and it is hardly what you might call a spectacle of football.

There are no discernible tactics, marking or any other sort of organisation, and players seem to just get the ball, take a couple of steps in one direction or another and just whack it. Amusing, but that’s about it – one big belly laugh!

City did themselves no favours by surrendering to Arsenal in their last game. Toure was missed, Arsenal double man-marked David Silva out of contention and Sergio Aguero was far from back to his best after his recent injury lay-off.

The Chelsea game is now of massive importance. It’s the decider, despite the fact there are still almost four months of the season remaining. A win for Chelsea will put them eight points clear.

If City can avoid that, they could be back in it. But only a win will do as a draw will still leave them five points behind and they can’t afford to be that far behind with vital players unavailable, too.

Finally, a not-so-fond farewell to Adrian Chiles. ITV have dumped him as their football front man after much criticism concerning his over-amiable and distinctly off-putting style.

Chiles has recently been relegated to presenting a second-rate morning phone-in programme on BBC’s Radio 5Live. Some would say that could be his perfect role as he has the perfect face for radio!


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