Lasses cannot play football. Will the Women’s World Cup finally bury this falsehood?

Who, like me, looked on in admiration at Janine Beckie’s corners for Canada against New Zealand and thought, “let’s hope George Honeyman is watching ,too”, asks Monsieur Salut?

The Women’s World Cup, or at least what I have seen of it on French TV, has provided great sporting entertainment: excellent technique, movement and commitment without the absurd play-acting that pollutes the men’s game.

There are negatives. Even among the best teams – I am thinking of France, the USA, England and Canada but haven’t seen anything of other favoured sides including Germany or Italy – impressive moves break down with a poor final pass or feeble attempt own goal (so not unlike lots of SAFC games we see).

But my overall feeling is that quality of women’s football has grown significantly; even keepers, a traditional Achilles heel of the female game, are gradually gaining in confidence and ability.

Just look at the clip above, showing Christiane Endler of PSG and Chile making a string of outstanding saves against the USA.

Someone called her stop from Christen Press’s sensational volley one of the most magical moments of the tournament so far. And it was good to see Whitby lass and ex-SAFC star Beth Mead put in a decent shift for England against Argentina.

How some in France interpret the women’s game

Still it’s not enough for some. My old confrere Terry Pattinson posted at Facebook: “I cannot understand why women’s football gets so much coverage……nobody talks about it because the standard is so poor. USA 13 Thailand 0 was an example.”

I pointed out that this scoreline merely reflected the supremacy of the reigning champs, arguably the best this time around as well, and the fact they were up against lightweights. As a Newcastle fan, he should know that high scorelines are not restricted to the women’s game; didn’t Sunderland go to St James’ Park and win 9-1 in what was, for heaven’s sake, a Newcastle title-winning season in the top flight? Terry may even be old enough to have been there even if it was in the first decade of the last century.

Most of Terry’s Facebook pals who responded also shot him down in flames. And he was decent enough to admit that England’s Ellen White – like Janine Beckie a member of the Man City ladies’ team – took her two goals well against Japan. He still scoffed at Japan’s shortcomings in front of goal.

Salut! Sunderland has always been supportive of the SAFC women’s side. And of course, there is an interest to declare in that my younger daughter Nathalie is a smashing player.

But it would be interesting to hear what others have made of the games they’ve seen, players who’ve impressed and an answer to the question posed in the headline … and I naturally expect dissenting views.

We know who owns Wolves, but who owns football?

Before the Fosul era: an example of the art of Jody Craddock, a former Sunderland and Wolves stalwart, and reproduced with his consent

Stephen Benton, a sportswriter, notes the impressive turnaround in the fortunes of Wolverhampton Wanderers since being taken over by China’s Fosul Group in 2016: promotion back to the top flight last season and currently seventh top after another fine result, 3-1 winners at Everton. And he raises question about the powers behind the sport …

After a change in their club’s ownership, all Wolves fans in Wolverhampton had a wonderful year.

The new owners – a Chinese investment group called Fosun International – booted out the manager Kenny Jackett (the chief executive officer Jez Moxey stepped down on his own), replacing Jarrett with Walter Zenga and then Zenga by Paul Lambert before finally settling for Nuno Espírito Santo, a Portuguese international at various levels though he never won a full cap.

And with the close involvement of superstar sports agent Jorge Mendes, the team signed a dozen players. The result: Wolves finally returned to the Premier League after being out of it for six years.

Read moreWe know who owns Wolves, but who owns football?

The Robson Report: biting thoughts on Suarez

taking  a detached view of events overseas
taking a detached view of events overseas

This should really have preceded Malcolm Dawson’s short, timely piece on the Luis Suarez biting incident. Monsieur Salut had assorted domestic crises, a heavy extractor fan falling in the middle of the night to smash the hob and my Mac’s refusal to accept the valid password for wifi access being only two of them. So here, out of sequence but welcome, are Jeremy Robson‘s thoughts on footballer’s teeth invading footballer’s flesh …

Read moreThe Robson Report: biting thoughts on Suarez

Birflatt Boy on Blatter’s gaffes: no mincing words


Monsieur Salut didn’t get as worked up as some about the World Cup venue votes. Cries of foul play? Last-minute manipulation? Prize snatched from under the expectant winner’s nose. Er, no, that was London beating Paris to the 2012 Olympics. But other issues have arisen, so stand by for some straight(ish) talking from Birflatt Boy

A couple of weeks after the ridiculous announcement that the 2022 World Cup would be held in a country that currently has three suitable stadiums, and where the temperatures during the tournament will be so high that you could cook bacon and eggs on the roof of your car, there is now furore surrounding comments from the Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

Read moreBirflatt Boy on Blatter’s gaffes: no mincing words

A Christmas football wishlist. 1 (A-I): Thierry Henry in Gaelic, Darlo in the playoffs

tree

Is Santa listening? Probably not, but Salut! Sunderland thought it would produce its own list of the presents it wants, the things it wants to happen not just for Christmas but for the coming year. Let’s see how many are granted. This is the first of three instalments. Come up with a better suggestion or two and you might win a prize …

A is for Arsène. The elegantly whingeing Alsacian – (“is that why they’re called Arsenal?” asked the daughter who knows nothing about football) – announces a new deal with Optical Express, suddenly sees things more clearly, apologises for his players’ occasional diving and heaps praise on teams that beat or draw against Arsenal as well as those that lose.

B is for Bruce: Steve wins three manager-of-the-month awards in succession and we’re not only safe but sixth.

Read moreA Christmas football wishlist. 1 (A-I): Thierry Henry in Gaelic, Darlo in the playoffs