04 August 2022, The Tablet

The women who revived the love of football for football’s sake

England Women’s Euro 2022 victory

The women who revived the love of football for football’s sake

England players sing Sweet Caroline on stage during a fan celebration to commemorate England's historic UEFA Women's EURO 2022 triumph in Trafalgar Square.


Is football good for you? The high-minded Victorian founders of many of the world-famous British association football clubs certainly thought so. Football was partly a spin-off from Catholic and Protestant youth clubs, not just to keep young men off the streets but also because it was believed to be character-building. Football prowess was seen as next to godliness. Today, the professional game has largely surrendered to Mammon. 

The men’s game, that is. Fans of the England women’s team – that is to say, virtually the whole nation – were in ecstasy at its victory over Germany at Wembley in the Euro 2022 final after extra time last Sunday. Some part of the delight may be because women are seen to play football for love of the game, not for love of money, and this victory seemed purer and less tainted. The England players were rewarded with substantial bonuses and even more substantial offers of commercial sponsorship. Nevertheless the life of a professional female player is considerably less lucrative then her male equivalent.

Get Instant Access

Continue Reading

Register for free to read this article in full

Subscribe for unlimited access

From just £30 quarterly

  Complete access to all Tablet website content including all premium content.
  The full weekly edition in print and digital including our 179 years archive.
  PDF version to view on iPad, iPhone or computer.

Already a subscriber? Login