You can imagine the collective brews being spat out over the newspapers this morning by old men as they sit waiting for ‘her indoors’ to serve them breakfast.
News that Manchester United have finally dragged themselves out of the dark ages and decided to apply to have a professional women’s team has been met with a mixture of cynicism and relief by many fans this morning.
Most fans will be glad the club have finally awoken from their stupor, checked the calendar and realised that it’s actually 2018 and women are not only allowed to vote and drive motor cars but some of them can even perform rudimentary tasks outside of the kitchen, like erm, running the country.
While the Noisy Neighbours see their women’s team sweep all before them in a manner that almost makes Pep Guardiola’s side look more like one belonging to Brian Horton, United have dithered, made excuses and ignored the growing clamour for the world’s biggest football club to have a side the represents half the people on the planet.
England women’s coach Phil Neville said he was going to raise the issue with his former club and while it’s unclear whether the Class of 92 alumnus did have a hand in the Reds at long last moving with the times, there’s no doubt he must have found it a tad embarrassing fielding questions on why United had failed to embrace such a progressive and growing part of the game.
Executive vice-chairman Edward Woodward never one to shy away from an opportunity to either brag about his achievements or revel in the idea of making a few more quid for the Glazer family noted:
[The women’s team] “must be built in the same image and with the same principles as the men’s first team”.
Presumably we can expect to see overweight women players being reduced to tears as their manager ridicules them in front of their team mates, before launching a tirade about how everyone is out to get him.
In many ways the new women’s manager will have the perfect excuse if his side ever fail, “this women’s team hasn’t tasted victory in over ten years, so a loss to the Accrington Stanley is nothing new,” the best idea would be for the him to exchange notes with Jose Mourinho on how to handle the press. It could be mutually beneficial, if the women’s team win a trophy, Jose can tell the media “collectively the club has won XXX amount of titles this season, it’s been a triumphant campaign.”
United’s new team is expected to take part in the WSL Championship, the second tier of women’s football, with the side based at the Cliff in Salford which up until the opening of the Carrington Training Complex was the home of the first team.
In United’s albeit scant defence, the club do have junior women’s teams although it does seem a bit hypocritical to mock Manchester City for never giving youth players a chance when if you’re a member of the Reds younger women’s teams the best you can hope for once you reach 17 is a call from the Blues.
Trials for the women’s team will start in June and if – and it’s a big ‘if’ – the club enthusiastically get behind the idea then it could create a real buzz around the place and give millions of female Reds – my own daughter included – the hope that they one day can make it all the way to the very top at United.
It’s not since 2005 that United had a women’s team and while that particular stat is even more embarrassing than David Moyes’ record as manager, at least the club have now addressed what for many fans has been something of a no-brainer and could help raise the profile of a part of football that’s been grossly neglected by the Reds for far too long.
The big question now, much like the first team, is what can be done to catch City? Who knows, maybe it could be women that have the answer – perish the thought.