A little while ago, Amy and Laura realized that the way female fans are portrayed in the media didn't reflect the women they saw when they actually attended matches. So they decided to do something about it: they started This Fan Girl, a photographic series dedicated to the female fan and their love of the game. Here are 3 of the incredible women they've met along their journey so far.
HARRY: Sunderland AFC
Harry is a lifestyle blogger and a die-hard SUFC fan, whom Amy met for drinks to watch Sunderland play Arsenal back in October — only to watch them lose 4-1. Harry has been supporting Sunderland since about 8 or 9 years old, after her dad took her to a game at the Stadium of Light with her brother and sister. It was against QPR, it absolutely pissed down with rain all day, and then Sunderland lost a 2-0 lead to leave with a draw (something Harry has become pretty used to!) Despite this, Harry loved every second and was hooked from then on.But Harry lives in London now, a fair old mission from Sunderland. TFG asked about supporting her team from hundreds of miles away.“Of course it's hard to get to home games, but there is an amazing fan base here in London. I've met loads of guys through the Sunderland message board; we watch the matches together here and go to away London games, too. I met a girl who supported Sunderland through a mutual friend and we became friends through that connection. We'd often watch the games here together, and then she became my housemate!”Harry’s experiences of meeting other women and bonding over football is something that really resonates with TFG and Amy and Laura’s aim for the project.TFG also asked Harry her favorite moments in supporting Sunderland, from near or far: “My first game was an incredible memory, just cos that's where it all started for me. Another was going to Yeovil Town for a friendly and legging it on to the pitch during their warm up to get Niall Quinn's autograph. The match officials came yelling on over the tannoys to get the children off the pitch, and my dad suddenly realised they were shouting at his kids! Just having the memories of enjoying football with my family, and that my Dad never excluded me or my sister from it cos we were girls. Others include: winning on penalties against Man U in the cup, going to Wembley and Borini putting us ahead, beating our rivals Newcastle six times in a row, and being able to watch these games surrounded by the fans either at the Stadium of Light or the Red Lion in Angel.”Finally, TFG likes to chat to women about their experiences and opinions on being a female fan. They’ve definitely noticed different vibes at different clubs and across the different leagues, and the best way to get these representations is from the women themselves.“The majority of male fans don't treat you any different, and are quick to stick up for you if some dickheads are giving you stick. You see so many more women going to matches now. I think women are becoming more confident in voicing their love of football. It's definitely changing.”Harry is also helping Amy and Laura on a short brand documentary/film, so keep your eyes out for that!
EVA: Leicester City
Amy and Laura met Eva at Leicester vs. Everton on boxing day. Eva has supported Leicester for as long as she can remember and was raised a Leicester fan because her granddad played for them for about 14 seasons around the 60’s. Eva’s got a big squad of family and friends that she goes to both home and away games with, and her dedication took her to every game for a whole season (apart from Swansea away).TFG asked Eva what makes Leicester so important to her:“My favourite thing is the fact Leicester never fail to surprise us (5000/1 to win the PL!). Because I've seen them play in League One and win the Premier League, it's so special. The highs are emphasised by the lows, so by being a Leicester fan through everything, the success of the club is so much sweeter! The club means everything to me. I remember when we got relegated in 2008 — I was about 9 — and I gathered all my Leicester things from my room, put them in a bag and put them in the attic in absolute tears because I didn't want to be reminded of what had just happened. But like I said, thick and thin, so I went and recovered them about 2 hours later! I also cried all the way back to Toddington services after Knockaerts penalty miss at Watford in the play offs. It's all these things that made winning the premier league feel 100 times better.”
SALLY: Manchester United
TFG met Sally at United vs. Tottenham back in December. She's an advocate for female empowerment through healthy living. And she was the first person we met who actually asked if she could take Amy and Laura’s picture as well as them taking one of her! She spoke about when she moved to Australia in 2007 but then moved back after 6 months because the family missed the Stadium of Dreams so much! She also told TFG about just why she loves Manchester United that much: “Everything: wearing the kit, singing, chanting, taking guests, getting to know the staff, the fans, the shop, a dirty greasy bap from Porky Pig, waiting for the players after the match, watching WAGS, guessing who’s car is whose, flying our scarves out of car windows on the way, listening to Radio 5 live to & from the match, MOTD highlights, a sneaky tipple of raspberry rum from my hip flask at half time (in the winter), waking up with Alan Keegan (his voice on my alarm clock), my kids lifelong friends from the other season ticket holders that sit by us and social media banter. I miss Sir Alex...”Not much then! When Sally’s not going to the games with her three children, then she’ll take friends to introduce them to the game and share her passion with them. She’s also taken along some pensioners that she met, as a treat for them.Amy and Laura really admire Sally for spreading and sharing her love of the game and for the Theatre of Dreams, as well as introducing others to the beautiful game. Her passion, enthusiasm, and warmth truly embodies TFG’s spirit.