When it comes to football, I am, as I have written previously, a staunch advocate of the women’s game. Having been to a few FA Cup finals, each costing the princely sum of £1, I find their live version accessible. The standard has improved immeasurably prior to, and post, the Lionesses gallant Euro's victory in 2022.

Yet, as I read more each day about the women’s game, as they attempted to replicate their European success in the World Cup down under, I cannot help but think the games powerbrokers are, just as they have built up a head of steam, now shooting themselves in both feet.

Just a few months ago, we read the crazed calls for the women’s players to be paid the same outrageous amounts as their male counterparts. Its basic economics and common sense: You are worth as much as you are marketable. Ronaldo signs for a backwater Saudi team and their shirt sales go through the roof, the TV rights are suddenly gold dust, and the cash starts to flow into every conceivable revenue stream. To then call for women players to receive the same pay packet when the most marketable player is no more than one tenth of a per cent as marketable and cash generating as the Messi’s and Ronaldo’s of this world, is ludicrous. If owners were forced to empty their wallets, there would be a short-lived economic Armageddon, and the pro women’s game would disappear for good.

And this is where the nub lies: In any walk of life, be it business or sport, you must not run before you can walk. Professional men’s teams have been around since the 1800s and reputations, allegiances, stadia, and marketability, has grown exponentially. It did not happen overnight and for those running the women’s game to ‘demand’ the same as the men is naïve in the extreme and will do little but alienate those who until now have advocated and supported the growth of the women’s game.

A similar situation played out recently with the news that Nike were not selling Mary Earps' goalkeeping kit as it is not part of their ‘commercial strategy’. Roughly translated, this means that they would not sell enough of them for it to be profitable.

Despite the reasoning being sound, Ms Earps has publicly proclaimed their inaction as ‘hugely hurtful.’ A similar strategy has played out with the US and Australia goalkeeping tops despite claims to the contrary that Ms Earps' Manchester United jerseys had ‘sold out,’ although they failed to announce how many tops this amounted to.

Adidas have also decided to not sell goalkeeping shirts for the same reason, and I had never heard of Mary Earps until the story broke, yet I could not say the same about her male counterpart, Jordan Pickford.

Sports presenter Laura Wood has called the decision ‘weird.’ Scary Spice, Mel B, also weighed in claiming she felt ‘really angry’ which is a similar emotion felt by those of us who were forced to listen to the Spice Girls greatest hits album on loop by our other halves.

The advent of the women’s game has been astronomical but organic growth is the only option. Moves are being made with the first professional female football coach, Hannah Dingley, taking the helm at Forest Green Rovers for a brief spell and no doubt a female will, in the next few years, play for a professional men’s team. Yet, the brutal truth is the quality is not on a par with the men’s game and that is no slight on the ladies, it is just how it is.

We turn on the football shows to listen to our heroes talk about the game we love: Be it Wrighty, Shearer or Keane, but now we are now force fed analysis from a legion of female football talking heads, who I have no clue who they are, or what their pedigree is, as they attempt to commentate on the men’s game with an air of authority.

Their rise has been dramatic and impressive in recent years, but it takes time, and plenty of it. Their game is not as popular or marketable, no matter how they wish it were, and by screaming and shouting for more, more, more, they will do little but turn off those who buy into their overall mission as they attempt to run when they should really be but breaking into a brisk walk…

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher