The dark side of the game

There is something that I really like about women’s football  : it is a small community with fans who mainly get on well with each other.

You also have access to players, coaches and admin people with ease as long as you try. And most of the people are friendly and helpful.

To see the dark side of the game and what happens behind the curtains is an eye opener. There is no doubt the FA WSL creation has helped women’s football to become more professional with all the positive and negatives that it implies.

I have seen and heard things that I did not like at all in the last month.

While primarily a fan of the Arsenal Ladies and therefore writing for the dailycannon website on all things Arsenal Ladies, I also write for the French website footofeminin covering the UEFA and FIFA tournament and France youth and senior teams.

It means I have come into informal contact with many people in the game. So it feels like one team has been set on the path to implosion in recent weeks.

One player that was released earlier in the season seemingly launched a chain reaction that has destroyed the core of the team and has led to the manager being dismissed.

The vicious and unproven (?) allegations have also led to a raft of player departures and the assistant manager is now steadying the ship and has signed  players to replace those who have left.

Obviously I cannot say much more than this due to the case still being in progress but suffice to say the dark side of the game is not one to enjoy.


FA WSL relegation battle ep 4

It looks to be a three horses race for the relegation battle as Notts County beat Doncaster while Sunderland was hammered at Arsenal and Reading did not play.

Notts County 2 Doncaster Belles 1

Arsenal 5 Sunderland 1


Notts County are now seven points of the bottom of the table Doncaster and ten goals ahead on goal difference. They are relatively safe as long as Doncaster, Reading and Sunderland don’t start a winning run.

Reading in seventh place did not play this week-end and therefore stay on four points in six games. No wins so far but only two defeats. Both happened against the Gunners. They have already completed their fixtures against Sunderland with two 1-1 draws.

They will play the Belles away as their 13th game while on final day, they will be at home to the Belles.

Sunderland in eight place have three points from seven. No win and three draws. Something has gone wrong and it actually started last season as their last League win was on the 25/07/2015, 11 months ago.

They are the team most at risk IF Doncaster Belles start picking  wins.

Doncaster have sacked their manager Glenn Harris after three games, something that still seems unlogical unless he had lost the dressing room. Emma Coates his assitant has taken over and her first game ended with a defeat at Notts County.

The Belles still have 75% of their League games to play, so have plenty of time to ctach up three or four points on the other two sides in danger.

Basicaly the first of these three times to register a win will have the psychological edge over the other two teams.


The upcoming games for the three teams are :

Sunderland v Chelsea 29/06

Sunderland v Doncaster 09/07

Liverpool v Reading 09/07

Birmingham v Sunderland 17/07

Sunderland v Arsenal 24/07

Chelsea v Doncaster 24/07

Reading v Birmingham 24/07

Doncaster v Birmingham 30/07

Man City v Sunderland 31/07

Reading v Notts County


The FA WSL2 promotion race ep 3

There were some big results this week-end with two of the top four teams winning and the other two team losing.


Durham 0 Yeovil 2

Big result for Yeovil getting three points from the long trip up North and therefore pushing Durham six points away from them. This is quite a big gap to close and Everton are five points behind the Glovers.

Watford 2 Everton 1

A huge upset with bottom of the table Watford beating a promotion candidate. Watford have raised their level from the previous games. While Everton were better on the ball, they did not manage to be precise  and clinical enough to make their chances count.

A solid performance for Watford that was rewarded with three big points, while Everton disappointed.

Bristol 4 Oxford 1

An important home win for Bristol who come back in to the top 2 places, especially with Sunday’s results that went their way.


Top 4 table

1 Yeovil  19 pts +12 (8) av 2.375

2 Bristol  16 pts +7 (8) av 2

3 Everton 14 pts +9 (7) av 2

4 Durham 13 pts +4 (7) av 1.85


Upcoming games this week :

Aston Villa v Bristol

Oxford v Yeovil


Due to the bizzare schedule, Everton and Durham will have two games in hand with the top two teams at the end of the week.

FA WSL 2 Matchday 8 preview

FA WSL 2 is back after the Summer break and the promotion race is hotting up, while the teams at the bottom of the table will want to improve their position knowing that no relegation is possible.


Bristol (4) v Oxford (8)

Bristol trails the leaders by three points and need a win, while Oxford have improved as the season went and have a very efficient football style and a quality goalscorer. it should be an open game with many goals.

Durham (3) v Yeovil (1)

Top of the table class between sides vying for promotion. They both play good attacking football with 11 and 17 goals scored so far, so another game with many goals expected.

Aston Villa (5) v London Bees (6)

Probably a balanced game, London Bees have improved from last season as Dave Edmondson has given them a clear indentity and rigourous organisation while Villa have so many quality players all over the park.

Watford Ladies (10) v Everton Ladies (2)

Everton looking to consolidate their promotion push against a Watford side that is slowly improving and starting to gel with a lot of personnel change. If Watford can keep the score at  0-0 for a sufficient time, there might be an upset on the cards.


The mid-season break table

1 Yeovil 16 pts (7) +10

2 Everton 14 pts (6) + 10


3 Durham 13 pts (6) +6

4 Bristol 13 pts (7) +4

5 Aston Villa 9 pts (7) -3

6 London Bees 8 pts (7) – 3

7 Millwall 6 pts (6) -3

8 Oxford 6 pts (6) -6

9 Sheffield 4 pts (6) -2

10 Watford 1 pt (6) -13


Bergeroo names a 28 players squad for the Olympics preparation

With the Olympics a month and a half away, Phillipe Bergeroo has named a 28 players squad from which he will have to select 18 players plus four alternates before the 11th of July.

The squad is :

Karima Benameur (FCF Juvisy), Sarah Bouhaddi (Olympique Lyonnais), Méline Gérard (Olympique Lyonnais), Laëtitia Philippe (Montpellier HSC).

Laure Boulleau (Paris SG), Annaïg Butel (FCF Juvisy), Sabrina Delannoy (Paris SG), Jessica Houara d’Hommeaux (Paris SG), Sakina Karchaoui (Olympique Lyonnais), Laura Georges (Paris SG), Griedge Mbock Bathy (Olympique Lyonnais), Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyonnais).

Camille Abily (Olympique Lyonnais), Charlotte Bilbault (FCF Juvisy), Élise Bussaglia (VFL Wolfsburg), Kenza Dali (Paris SG), Kadidiatou Diani (FCF Juvisy), Kheira Hamraoui (Paris SG), Amandine Henry (Portland Thorn FC), Claire Lavogez (Olympique Lyonnais), Marie-Charlotte Léger (Montpellier HSC), Amel Majri (Olympique Lyonnais), Louisa Necib (Olympique Lyonnais), Élodie Thomis (Olympique Lyonnais), Sandie Toletti (Montpellier HSC).

Marie-Laure Delie (Paris SG), Clarisse Le Bihan (EA Guingamp), Eugénie Le Sommer (Olympique Lyonnais)

Note : players’s position as described by the FFF

When you have an 18 players squad, the logic would be that the seven subs are as follows : one goalie, two defenders, two midfielders and two forwards.

If we look at the players that have been used by Bergeroo on regular basis the following 17 players should be in the final squad :

G (2) Bouhaddi, Gerard
D (6) Boulleau, Houara, Delannoy, Georges, M’Bock, Renard
M (7) Abily, Bussaglia, Hamraoui, Henry, Necib, Majri, Thomis
F (2) Delie, Le Sommer

As per the FFF listing there are only three forwards and you obviopusly need at least one sub during the tournament to back-up Le Sommer and Delie, if the 4-4-2 system is used.

So the logic says Le Bihan will be the 18th player selected although she has been out for a long time with an injury. On the injury note, Boulleau has also missed a lot of the season as well.

My guess for the four alternates are :

G Phillipe, D Karchaoui, and either Leger or Diani and /Dali or Lavogez that would mean Benameur, Butel, Bilbault and Toletti to miss out alongside two from the four players above. Lavogez and Dali have missed most of the season due to injury.

For those who wonder Gaetane Thiney is still persona non grata and therefore not being called up by the coach.

France will play two friendlies prior to the tournament :

Sat 16 of July against China now managed by France previous manager Bruno Bini in Paris  ko 9pm CET live on D17

Sat 23 of July against Canada in Auxerre ko 9pm CET live on D17

They will travel to Brazil on the 25th of July.


FA WSL 1 matchday 8 preview

The League is back in action after the Summer break and some teams will be halfway thorugh their season after those while others will be into a quarter of their season.

Now the last fact is just absurd. Would you imagine the Premier League with teams playing Matchday 10 and other Matchday 19 at the same time, people would not take that League seriously surely ?

Sat 25 Jun

Arsenal (5) v Sunderland (8)

Two teams that have had a poor first half of the season and need the three points. Sunderland are only three points above the relegation zone so cannot afford to slip up if the Belles get a win. Arsenal are desperate for a win to keep dreaming of a runner-up place.

Sun 26 Jun

Man City (1) v Liverpool (4)

Prior to the break Liverpool were the only team that managed to take points off the leaders with a 0-0 draw. City have not conceded a goal yet, an exceptional performance.

Notts County (6) v Doncaster Belles (9)

Notts are four points clear of the relegation zone and a win would put them on the right track for safety.  The Belles will need to kickstart their season as they are currently pointless and need points against direct contenders for relegation. If they do not get anything from that trip, that will just add more pressure on the team.

Teams not playing : Chelsea, Reading and Birmingham



Glen Harris ‘ sacking :a curious situation

It is now clear that Doncaster Belles have sacked Glenn Harris during the mid-season break, a bizzare situation that was first disclosed by the media before any official statement.


The tweet from Jo Currie from the BBC :

The two days later the Belles confirmed Harris’ departure :


“Doncaster Rovers Belles confirm that Glen Harris has left the club.

Glen was an integral part of our promotion success last season as we returned the FA WSL 1 and we are thankful for all of his hard-work. We wish Glen every success in his future endeavours.

The appointment of the new Head Coach will be officially announced shortly, once FA clearance for our new appointment has been obtained.

Whilst we recognise that our fans would like to have the earliest possible information about changes to the club we had hoped to conclude all matters before making a public statement.”


And today Glen Harris  confirmed he had been sacked :

Now it is quite clear from the Belles’ statement that a new coach has already been lined-up, since the sacking but you do wonder why the Belles pulled the trigger.

If we look at the table, the Belles have no points in three games and it is true that no team has ever reached the mid-season break with nil points.
So basically the Belles have such a lack of trust in his ability, that they don’t think he would be able to catch up three huge points with three games in hand over Sunderland or four gigantic points over Reading with also three games in hand?

What kind of madness is this ? The Belles FA WSL 2  2015 record stands at 45 points P18 W14 D3 L1, they finished level on points with Reading and only lost the title to goal difference. Can a manager work quality detoriate in five months ?


Let’s see the current season results :

20/03 FA Womens’ Cup R 5  H Chelsea  L 1-4

24/03 FA WSL  H Chelsea L 1-4 ( Chelsea currently 2nd in the League)

27/04 FA WSL A Birmingham L 2-1 ( Birmingham currently 3rd in the League, although favorite to many to be relegated)

02/05 FA WSL A Man City L 6-0 ( City currently top of the League and unbeaten)


If that form is rationally considered to be sufficient to sack a manager ie losing one winnable game against Birmingham and losing two difficult games against top quality sides, you could probably sack all the FA WSL managers except Cushing, Hayes and Parker.

The only logical reason for a sacking would be  a players’ revolt behind the scene, something that has happened in the past in the FA WSL, otherwise there is no real rational justification for that sacking.

Unless the Belles have lined up someone the same way Liverpool got Jurgen Klopp to replace Brendan Rogers.