NI v Czech Republic

Long gone are the days when female football fans were as rare as Matt Le Tissier’s teeth. THE ULSTER GIRLS CANMAKE NOISE TOO!

Marie Jones and her sons

And Northern Ireland’s recent hosting of the UEFA Women’s U19 Championship has helped bring the ladies’ game to a brand new audience. But what sparks an interest in football among some of the team’s most passionate female fans? On my quest for answers I asked a couple of familiar faces and put out a call on Facebook to find the female GAWA. The response was fantastic but, for me, a couple of women stood out as particularly obsessive football devotees. To such a degree, I would say, that their passion would put their male counterparts to shame. First up is Glenda Farr Johnston, a woman who is such a big fan she married on Windsor Park’s centre circle wearing not Manolo Blahniks but silver football boots. And when Windsor was revamped - to become the National Football Stadium - Glenda was presented with the grass circle which now takes pride of place in her garden.

“It’s the biggest emotional rollercoaster ever supporting our blinking country,” said Glenda, who has been going to games since 1982 and hasn’t missed a home or away game in almost 11 years. “Us girls stick together like glue,” she explained. “The lads look out for us and you’re always guaranteed a laugh with this bunch of headers.” The comradeship continues with fellow female GAWA member Shirley Graham, or Airport Shirley as she is also called due to her many ‘away’ air miles. “The boys might think they are macho but the girlies stand in their own right”, she enthused. “We are all so different, from the diehard girlies who wear Northern Ireland tops all the time to the wee old ladies you meet in the toilets during half-time.” And, like Glenda, Shirley loves the instant friendships only football can bring. “We are one big family,” she insisted. “I love the way you can walk


Made with FlippingBook - Online Brochure Maker