Andy’s Sting In The Tale (18/08/23) “When Lola and Daisy met Rosie”

Date: 18th August 2023


I had the pleasure of meeting Scottish Football Royalty this week.
Stewarton’s, and Scotland’s, very own Rose Reilly.
She had won a Lifetime Achievement Award in the annual SFSA Fan Awards and my pesky illness meant we had to reschedule the presentation.
We did and it was a bucket list achievement for me.

In a week where the Women’s World Cup reaches an exciting climax it is a good time to look back at and to celebrate just what trailblazers like Rose did for our game.

Against all odds too.

Just what they have achieved for all women’s and girl’s football, from our wee Lola and Daisy right up to Erin at Chelsea and Caroline at Real, is remarkable.

Never has a “Lifetime Achievement Award” been more deserving because Rose didn’t just have talent and skill.
She had to fight every step of the way just to play the game she loved.
Along the way she was sine died by the Scottish Women’s FA (along with Edna Ellis and Elsie Cook) for being honest and calling it the shambles it was.
A leap of faith in her own ability took her to France in 1974, to Reims who had a professional side, and then to Italy.
Along the way, 8 Serie A Titles, 1 French title, 4 Italian Cups and a Mundialito winners medal, playing and captaining Italy, but with ”A Scottish Heart Beating Under an Italian Jersey”.

BBC Scotland - BBC Scotland - Banned by Scotland, so Rose won the World Cup with Italy insteadScottish Football eventually woke up to its world class star, having done very little to help apart from game time at Stewarton United, boys, and Stewarton Thistle Ladies.
Word of her achievements leaked out.
Rose was first honoured into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2007, then shortly after the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.
They were embarrassed into doing something.
In 2011 there was a PFA merit award , in 2020 an MBE from Princess Annie at Holyrood, and today a portrait that sits proudly in the National Gallery.

Rose doesn’t talk about that stuff, she is too interested in things that need to be done for the future.

Like football and the power of good it can be.
Rose wants to help leave it in a better place than it is now.
Always a fighter she has willingly joined the Scottish Football Supporters Association campaign for good things that need done. Stuff like free football for kids, for Schools football for boys and girls across the nation and for focus on all footballers and not just the elite.
“Football is everyone’s game”.

I had taken my wife Sheena, and granddaughters Lola and Daisy to the hand over the beautiful SFSA Caithness Glass Trophy.
And where better to meet the real ‘Gregory’s Girl’ than at the Sports Centre named after her in sunny Stewarton, her stamping ground.
The ‘Rose Reilly Sports Centre’ a wonderful council run facility was going like a fair.
Our attempts at getting the photographs were constantly interrupted by people asking for selfies and simply saying hello.

The ‘Rose Reilly Sports Centre’ Gym showcases a quote from Rose that encapsulates her attitude through her career and life and it is something Scottish Football needs urgently to reset the balance from the bottom upwards.

“Don’t Jump Over Barriers, SMASH THEM DOWN”

In between the photographs, a wee game with Lola on the outside pitch, and a trip to a High Street Stewarton café where everyone knows Rose and what she has done for Women’s football in Scotland we talked about football stuff.


Here are some remembered quotes from a wonderful morning.

“Football isn’t just about the elite players. I played with women of all levels of talent and everyone who kicks a ball can become a fan for life. The current balance is wrong”.

“The game needs women at a high level and on the SFA and SPFL boards with real power and powers”.

“Scottish football is in a rut dominated by the wrong people and the wrong agendas”.

“Dumping kids the way the big clubs do is disgraceful”.

“I agree with you about School’s football. Scotland needs to regenerate it for boys and girls starting in primary schools, this needs thinking outside the SFA box. And needs to start today. How can I help?”

“ If we’d played Erin up front we’d have beaten Ireland and been in the World Cup. Playing safe cost us that place”.

‘Rose Reilly didn’t achieve it all on her own, change took a lot of Rose Reilly’s but football is better for what is happening”.

“I was playing in Italy when Gregory’s Girl came out. The “Ciao Bella,” and all that, was Bill Forsyth stealing bits of my story”.
(And a whole lot of Midsummer Night’s Dream too Rose).

Rose has become a friend for life and more than that, she is a friend for life to the whole of Scottish Football.

My SFSA calls and campaigning for serious change and increased focus from the grass roots upwards is stronger for having Rose Reilly aboard.

Indeed one day my Lola, Daisy, and girls all over Scotland will know her name and what she and others like her have done for them all.

I’ve been reading up a little on just how the FA and SFA attempted over the years to keep women’s football down and it was nothing short of disgraceful.
I can’t understand why the establishment trusted by our clubs to run our game in England and Scotland ever got away with disenfranchising 50% of the population.
Misogynistic idiots!

Different times and I talk a bit about them in Sting below.

In the meantime I’ve ordered a couple of books, ‘A Woman’s Game’ by Suzanne Wrack and ‘Unsuitable for Females’ by Carrie Dunn and I’ll let you know if they are any good.

And finally, have a look at the BBC ‘Icons of Football’ programme about Rose, if you haven’t already.


This Week’s Sting

1. Andy’s ‘Greenwashing Cup’ Trail

2. That Penalty

3. Learning a Lesson from Boxing

4. Ref’s Dropped

5. Women’s Troubles



1. Heading for Newton Stewart and Life’s a Gas

Luncarty's Scottish Cup dream continues after preliminary round one win against Loch Ness - Daily RecordMy Scottish Cup 2024 adventure started last week in Luncarty.
Having despatched Loch Ness, from Fortrose, the Perthshire Village Victors now head for the 3G pitch at Blairmount Park on 2 September.
The Creesiders are currently flying high at the top of the South of Scotland League.

And Brechin may have a hedge but Blairmount Park has a forest of pine trees on two sides restricting its capacity to just 814, a figure well short of the record crowd of 2500 that welcomed Falkirk in 1953


2. Chloe’s ‘Hop Skip and Thump’ Making Waves

Chloe Kelly's World Cup penalty was so good it broke record no Premier League ace could - Daily StarIt was like something out of the Roy of the Rovers cartoon strip from years ago.
You could see the unique approach and the ball going whooooosh!

A delight to watch too.

🙌 That run-up, that penalty! Chloe Kelly sends England into the quarter-finals of the World Cup – YouTube

Dr Ken Bray of University of Bath said afterwards, “Chloe’s penalty was just quite remarkable, a very, very powerful hit”.
How did he know?

See below.

Dr Alexandra Atack who is a professor at St Mary’s Twickenham added, “The speed of the ball is determined by the speed of the kicking foot and the transfer of energy in the collision with the ball. The harder the collision the faster the ball speed”.


The boffins measured the velocity of her penalty and the outcome blew me away.
In the 2022 – 2023 Premier League season the fastest speed of any goal was West Ham’s, Said Benrahama, at 107.2 kmh (66.6 mph for auld yins)

Wee Chloe Kelly’s penalty was 110.79 kmh (69mph), some 3.6% faster than the fastest men at the top UK league.


How to craft the perfect spot-kick if the FA Cup final goes to penalties - The Irish News

It is all down to technique and Football Directors and analysts everywhere are all over this like a cheap suit.
Body size, shape, approaching at a 45 degree angle, bringing the heel down before striking and a slightly bouncing, hoppy approach.
So now you know.
Who would’ve thunk the WWC and a Lioness would learn the boys how to take penalties?


3. No More Losers Playing Off, Please

Sam Kerr offers honest response after Women's World Cup heartbreak against England - Mirror OnlineBoxing does it right.
If you are the defeated semi-finalist you get a bronze.
Why do we still have the unnecessary 3rd place play off , this time between Sweden and the Matildas on Saturday morning.
A waste of time.
Give both teams medals and in future stop losing teams going through the motions.




4. Was Sir Alex on the VAR?

I laughed out loud when I saw the ‘pic’ of Sir Alex and his VAR team ignoring the blatant late, but unawarded, penalty when United goalkeeper Andre Onan missed the ball and flattened Sasa Kalajdzic in the 96th minute.

Inexcusable reffing, then a VAR blooper for Simon Hooper the on-pitch ref, and Michael Salisbury the VAR.
The English PGMOL manager Jonathan Moss apologised and summarily dropped both from this week’s fixture list.

There will always be mistakes when humans are involved but can Scotland learn from how the errors were dealt with.
Maybe refs north of the wall should get dropped too after on-pitch and VAR bloopers?
Maybe refs north of the wall should have a register of the team they support and like in England avoid reffing them?
Maybe refs north of the wall should be independently run out with the SFA and SPFL, for them but not by them?



5. Establishment Men in Dark Rooms – Plus Ca Change

Dick, Kerr Ladies: 'Best ever' women's football team honoured - BBC NewsAfter the first world war Dick Kerr Ladies from Preston, were England’s unofficial national football team.
The role of women in communities had changed fundamentally during the war and  on the 206h of December 1920, 53,000  turned out at Goodison Park to watch Dick Kerr Ladies take on St Helens Ladies.
(This was double the normal Everton Crowd).

Contemporary writers saw women’s football as more entertaining than men’s.
The women’s game was more technical, using skill rather than the common brutish aggression in the men’s game.
Jealousy and intimidation of the women’s game because of its success reigned, orchestrated behind closed doors in dark smoke- filled FA rooms.
The Football Association saw it all as a threat to their status and to make matters worse women’s football was even raising money for striking miners and had links supposedly, with the Labour Party.
Shock and horror!

To lubricate their campaign the establishment pedalled spurious medical summaries to say, “Football does terrible things to women’s bodies”, “The kicking is too jerky a movement and the strain too severe”.
One unnamed doctor fighting back said, “The game is no more likely to injure women than a heavy day’s washing”.

Whilst they could not ban women playing, the FA could stop them playing on FA registered grounds and the clubs sat back and did nothing.

Alice Kell, captain of Dick Kerr’s who was described in the press as “an unassuming, intelligent ,working girl said, “We girls play football in a proper spirit, do not retaliate, and show no fits of temper. We are all simply amazed at the action of the authorities in placing a ban upon the sport we love. Surely to goodness we have the right to play any game  without interference from the Football Association”.

Well said Alice, but the die was cast.
The Ladies teams struggled on after the ban and the effect on crowd sizes was effectively an overnight death knell.

And the FA ban was not lifted until 1960.


What Happened in Scotland?

Uncovering the history of women's football in Scotland 1880-1939 – Open BookParallel and eventual damage was caused to the game by men in dark suits, making and taking the wrong decisions, in secret, in smoky rooms.

As far back as 1881 Scotland Women had defeated England at Hibs ground and during the war the change of roles saw women equally embrace football. On March 2 in 1918 there were 15,000 at a women’s match at Celtic Park some 8 months before the end of the war.


But the establishment wanted women to return demurely into their ‘boxes’ post war, and the SFA copied their FA cousins and banned their members from all connections to the women’s game.

There was some attempted continuity outwith SFA members with both Rutherglen Ladies and Edinburgh Ladies playing and even declared “Ladies World Champions” after beating top English opposition.

But the SFA banning members formally from any association with the women’s game severely curtailed and restricted women’s football all over Scotland.

Quite disgraceful even in hindsight.

Small minded wee tyrants.


Even worse, in 1971 after Uefa held a vote to bring the unofficial women’s national associations  under its wing there was one country who voted against the move.

Bloody Scotland!

Lisbon Lions – The Celtic WikiAnd this was 4 years after Celtic won in Lisbon.


Plus Ca Change


As I look forward to the Lionesses playing Spain on Sunday and wish them all the luck in the world, even if they are wearing Scotland’s blue again, I can confirm that Scottish football still makes its decisions behind closed doors.
And quite often the real decision making happens between the movers and shakers in wee pre-meetings so that the nominated boards and committees just get told what is getting done.
“You are not here to think, but to get on with what we tell you to do”.

Football north of the wall needs to open up and start to address all its inherent self-interest mantas.

Rose Reilly is not on any SFA or SPFL board.


She should be.

She’d scare them because she sees the big picture and would take no prisoners.



Scottish Football Needs More Power in the Hands of Rose Reillys.



That’s it for this week

Feedback input and wee stories welcome as always.



Andy’s Album of the Week

Boys Don't Cry (Rumer album) - Wikipedia

This week it was Rumer and ‘Boys Don’t Cry’.

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