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Sunday, October 23, 2016

JBG? patron Emily Ramsey in Morning Star report- Throwing away prized players.

                           Throwing away prized players.

Suzanne Beishon talks to Manchester United junior goalkeeper EMILY RAMSEY about having to move from her home club.

 FOOTBALL clubs are extremely proud when their local homegrown academy products make it to the top. And who can blame them? These increasingly rare players often become the beating heart of their teams. They understand the club ethos and badge they play for in a way that no import from abroad or another academy can. They aren’t just players, they are supporters. Nurtured from childhood to adulthood not just as players but as people too.
And when a player does make that rare breakthrough they are idolised by fans that have seen one of their own grow up in front of their eyes.
Few clubs have as rich a history of successfully transitioning players from the academy to the first team than Manchester United. The “class of ’92” golden generation is the highlight of a rich vein of Mancunian talent that has come through the club. The ability for players to make the grade has undoubtedly got harder as clubs rely on big-money signings in order to maintain their league standing. Any dip that may come from a period of development cannot be afforded in the modern football era.
Yet occasionally a talented player, usually with a heavy helping of luck thrown in, makes the grade. Marcus Rashford is just the latest to make the breakthrough. Rashford began playing football for a local boys’ team aged five, before joining the academy system at Manchester United aged seven. The 18-year-old’s meteoric rise to the Manchester United and England first teams has been a breath of fresh air — and this from an Arsenal fan who had to endure the teen’s league debut.
Except it’s not the same story for all of Manchester United’s talented academy prospects. Not everyone has the chance to live the fairy tale. If you’re a girl carefully guided through the youth set-up at United it’s a very different story. Because Manchester United don’t have a women’s team. In fact United and Southampton are the only Premier League sides not to have women’s teams.
And for one 15-year-old, the lack of a senior side means that she will have to ply her trade in different colours.

Emily Ramsey has trodden a similar path to Rashford. Playing for the local boys’ side aged six — with boys a year older than her — before joining Manchester United aged eight and working her way up through their girls’ system. Except rather than knocking on the door of the senior side at her childhood club, ahead of turning 16 she is faced with the prospect of having to upheave her development and find a team elsewhere to continue playing.
Before flying to Lithuania to join the England under-17 side following her call-up for their European Championship qualifiers, Emily told of the excellent start she has been given at United, explained the position she finds herself in at club level and expressed hope of a change further down the line.
The young goalkeeper was surrounded by football from an early age and benefited from the change in attitudes that has taken place over the years towards girls playing.
“I was always used to playing with boys, I never used to play with girls that much when I was younger so from my point of view I was used to it. And they were a year older but you never really thought of it like that and a lot of teams when they first came to play us would think: ‘Aw, there’s a girl in there, we’re going to win this easily.’ But obviously then we’d start and they soon realised that I could actually play football. Then they weren’t thinking about that!”
Emily didn’t always see playing football professionally as an option available, let alone in England. In fact she thought her future would lie in the US if she was good enough to pursue it. But, like many, she saw the progress made by Team GB at the Olympics and England at the Women’s World Cup in Canada as a turning point for women’s football.
“When I was around 12 we went to watch the women’s football at the London Olympics, we saw GB and the players there played really well, like Steph Houghton.
“I realised then that, actually, there were a lot of people watching that game and I could actually make something out of it. Ever since then football in England has been growing and becoming more popular and it’s definitely become something I want to do.
“I’m hoping, after this season at United, I’ll be moving on to probably a development squad for a Women’s Super League team and then hopefully progress through to the first team in time.”
Except rather than being able to continue her rise, like Rashford, alongside talented players and dedicated coaches who have helped shape her development, she will be playing for England and embark on her last season at United knowing she’ll have to find a new home, and it is not because she’s not good enough.
“It’s definitely not the best thing. I always loved playing for United and watching United and stuff like that but having to move on due to the fact that there’s nowhere else to go within the club, it’s tough, but they have also given me loads of support. They’ve moved my career on massively and they’ve helped me play for England.”
Emily is full of praise for the coaches and players in the MU Foundation that work with the girls day-to-day and invest so much to then see their fledgling players fly the nest with their best years ahead of them.
“If it weren’t for United I wouldn’t be playing for England. The quality of coaching and support I’ve had has been fantastic. If I move onto a new club and make a career out of football, United will have been a crucial part of my past and of who I am as a person and a player.”
The sad thing is that not only do Manchester United lose the best years of their talented young women, they also risk tarnishing the reputation of the club in the eyes of these passionate lifelong supporters.
But there is hope. Local rivals Manchester City have poured resources (relatively) into their women’s side and have built one of the most professional and serious set-ups in the game. This focus had started to reap rewards with their first Super League title coming this year.
And while Emily will have missed out, she’s hopeful that the quick success of City will help heap the pressure on United to catch up.
“City are United’s biggest rivals. They’re doing better than the men in the league at the moment — for now! — and they are fields ahead when it comes to a women’s team. City are winning everything. Hopefully the long-standing rivalry will help encourage United to establish a women’s team to compete with them in every area.
“I remember when City started putting a lot of work into their team in 2012. They had a couple of seasons where they didn’t win much and now they are one of the best teams in the country and challenging in Europe. That shows how quickly it could be done if United did set up a team.”
And the promising goalkeeper is pleased her story is a part of the conversation. “It’s important to get your story out there, your point of view, because the club does care. They care about their image, their players and the community. More and more brilliant players coming out of the Girls’ Regional Talent Club who head over to rival teams highlights how good a senior women’s team could be.
“It can be disappointing for girls that are growing up with United, United fans, living in the area, having to leave and go somewhere else but we are also very lucky to have had the start the MU Foundation has given us.
“I think we just need to continue to get more awareness of women’s football as a whole and help the club to see the benefits that expanding their women’s football would bring to the club.”
Emily’s England call-up and ongoing success as a player is certainly helping to draw attention to the question of a United women’s team. “When the foundation posted that I got the call-up to England and it got retweeted by David De Gea and Jacqui Oatley I was really pleased. I’ve got to the end of a memorable seventh year for United and played the last couple of years for England, and now I’m unfortunately going to move to one of their rivals.
“It must make the club think, and hopefully young women in future will have the opportunity to play for United. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to come back.”

JBG? comment:
 Thanks to the Morning Star's Suzanne Beishon for letting us use this for our blog.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


              JUST A BALL GAME?           MEDIA RELEASE- For immediate release.                                       


                                   FUNDING BOOST FOR-JUST A BALL GAME?

Just A Ball Game? has received £2,000 thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The funding boost from Postcode Community Trust will enable Just a Ball Game?  in the following :
We aim to use exhibition panels of our Patrons and our research to educate young people and staff in education establishments and a wider general public on LGBT awareness and visible inclusion. We will use this "presentation tool" ,alongside building partnerships with local LGBT 's who like sport and refugees who feel isolated to bring together communities and have them engage in grass roots participation to help build on their well being.

Just A Ball Game? spokesperson  said: “We are very grateful for those who play People’s Postcode Lottery and the Postcode Community Trust for their support of our campaign work to challenge Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Bullying .”

  •  -ENDS-

Founder-Lindsay England

Monday, October 03, 2016


                                BELLES BECOME LATEST JUST A BALL GAME? PARTNER CLUB.

Following last week’s event day with Doncaster Rovers Belles JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) are very proud to announce that ‘the Belles’ are the latest team to come on board as a partner club.
A number of JBG? resources were handed out at ’the Belles’ home game v Reading WFC to the attending fans and prior to the kick off player wore JBG? t-shirts during the warm up to help raise awareness for our campaign work.
The Belles have an 'out and proud' player in goalkeeper Nicola Hobbs who is also a JBG? patron and the club are very proud to show visible support to an LGBTI community.

 The club was originally formed as the Belle Vue Belles in 1969 and are one of the most decorated women's clubs in the English history of the game, they had this to say about the partnership; “ JBG? is an incredibly important organisation which aims to tackle discrimination, particularly with regard to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTI) issues within sport.”


Wednesday, August 10, 2016





Campaign organisation JUST A BALL GAME? (JBG?) call on IOC and FIFA to condemn the homophobic insults directed at players at RIO 2016 Olympic Games football matches and address these issues as a priority to ensure the safety of everyone including LGBT players/coaching staff and those in the stands.
JBG? believe that the very public chanting of “bicha” in the stadiums witnessed by fans and journalists is unacceptable and urges all Football Authorities globally to take a stand against this type of behaviour.

Moving forward JBG? would like assurances from UEFA that players competing in the Women’s Euro 2017 finals in the Netherlands will be given the protection and support necessary should similar incidents occur. JBG?  would also like to see UEFA  work in collaboration in the lead up to and during the tournament with organisations like ourselves and LGBT fan groups to educate stadium event day staff in dealing with homophobic discrimination promptly, alongside educating supporters on what is acceptable language and we call for official anti-discrimination event days to raise awareness of LGBT inclusion and visibility.

A spokesperson for JBG? says,” Too often it’s a given that homosexuality is fully accepted in all women’s sport and that athletes do not face any discrimination, however during the 2015 Women’s World Cup only 14 of 552 players felt comfortable to speak to the media on being OUT PROUD and KICKING.”

“In England with the popularity of the FA WSL increasing rapidly how long will it be before we have to endure the homophobic chants of the type we have seen at Rio 2016? There is therefore a need for the FA and clubs to be pro-active and nip in the bud isolated incidents of this nature.”

Lisa Durel who writes for Women’s Soccer France had this to say, “Making homophobia commonplace is disrespectful to players/ staff and also fans who identify as being LGBTQ. If we fight homophobia by banning it from the stands this creates the correct atmosphere for players and fans alike and people will gain in confidence in being themselves and women’s soccer will get what it deserves, full recognition and a safe environment to support, cheer and share the best of moments.”

To date all we have read from FIFA is spokeswoman Carolina Almiron present at USA game claiming she didn’t hear any anti-gay slur, and stating, “I don’t think it’s an issue” followed by stating FIFA would not be taking any action unless there was a ‘formal protest’ from the US.

 Yours Sincerly JUST A BALL GAME?