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Hi there!

Cold, ain't it? I can't be doing with it, personally. Fortunately we have at least ONE really exciting piece of women's footie news that will keep our hearts burning through to the end of January, at least. This week, I've also been thinking about:
  • 00s floor-fillers, apparently
  • Two titans of women's football going head-to-head
  • Why you can't be a master of all trades
  • Waistcoats
As always, thank you for reading! & I wish you a warm and wonderful weekend.

Flora xx

Meant to be

“Some of you think, ‘oh there she is again’,” Sarina Wiegman said on Monday night as she stepped up to collect her fourth Best FIFA Women’s Coach award. “I’m sorry about that”. No really, Sarina, please, come a fifth time, a sixth time. As often as you like.

Collecting her award, she looked a far cry from the ferocious leader who, frankly, sometimes terrifies me. She thanked her “biggest fan” — her family, the “invisible teachers” who don’t get credited, and congratulated nominees Emma Hayes and Jonatan Giráldez, acknowledging the collaborative raising of such players as Lucy Bronze and Millie Bright, who play for both England and Barcelona or Chelsea.

What can I say? To paraphrase Akon, "Damn, she's a classy bitch".
Look how sweet and proud she looks, for goodness' sake!

Just 14 hours after her award was announced, the FA broke the news they've probably been ITCHING to share, letting the world know that the best coach in world women’s football will stay in charge of England until 2027 ⚽️ ⚽️ ⚽️ ⚽️

This means we get Sarina for the Euros defence in Switzerland in 2025 and we get her for the 2027 World Cup at… a yet undecided location. [It will be Brazil, or Mexico and the USA, or Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands… I don’t really care. In the hallowed words of Shakira, "Wherever, whenever. We're meant to be together".]
Also filed under ‘meant to be’ is Wiegman’s right hand man, assistant manager Arjan Veurink, one of those invisible teachers who gets none of the spotlight but is important as hell to the Lionesses’ ongoing quest for success.

The extension means, crucially, that there’s a chance we’ll see Wiegman go head to head with Best FIFA Women’s Coach runner-up Emma Hayes if England and the United States meet at the 2027 World Cup.

We’ve got a while to wait for that, but Wiegman will soon get a fresh start after the disappointment of failing to qualify for the Olympics as the FA have confirmed that England will play two international fixtures overseas in February, with opponents to be confirmed shortly.

Speaking after signing her three year extension, Wiegman said: “We have unfinished business”.

Out of place

Sunday was supposed to be a huge day as Sam Kerr’s Chelsea took on Kristie Mewis’ West Ham United in a first historic My Love 😘 derby. Apparently, though, the prospect of doing anything to hurt each other’s feelings must have been too much, since they both cried off 🙄.

Nah, Mewis is just getting settled, I suppose, while Kerr is out with one of them ACL thingies 😡. Life without her got off to a dreadful start as FA Cup holders Chelsea couldn’t see off the struggling Hammers in your standard 90 minutes. How embarrassing.

Bizarrely, it fell to Lauren James to fill the boots of the absent boo and take on the number 9 shirt. Yes, the same Lauren James whose defining talent is picking up the ball deep and progressing it creatively toward the goal was put as far away from the ball as possible in a role which requires you complete other players’ imaginative visions. It didn’t make tons of sense, and it was a lot to ask of young Lauren, who was thrown into an alien position. She doesn’t have a fantastic track record of responding positively when things don’t immediately, exactly go her way.
In the first half, Chelsea ‘keeper Zećira Mušović was likely expecting centre back Kadeisha Buchanan to deal with the long ball which sailed through the back line and into danger, so could be forgiven for the poor positioning which let Viviane Asseyi put West Ham ahead with some ease. Then, trailing in a knockout tie, LJ as 9 went from a curious experiment to an urgent concern. Where were Chelsea getting their equaliser from? The question resounded without a whiff of an answer for 52 minutes, intolerable for a side that JUST DON’T LOSE.

US international Mia Fishel was bought in the summer in order to offer rest opportunities to Sam Kerr. It was too late for that now, but for some reason she sat out the first half. Brought on for Fran Kirby an hour into the tie, Fishel quickly supplied precisely the kind of striker’s finish which LJ couldn’t produce. Lauren loves a long range strike, but a half volley on the turn into the top bins is the preserve of a seasoned 9. Bellissima.

Chelsea got the job done in extra time, securing a fifth round tie against Crystal Palace. That’ll be the least of their concerns, for now, since before the month is out they’ll play four more games 🤧 Two in the Champions League, two in the WSL and none with Sam Kerr.


If Kristie Mewis upping sticks to play for West Ham and be near My Love 😘 Sam Kerr on the eve of the new year is the bae equivalent of sliding in at the back post to swipe the Simp of the Year Award in the final minute of play, then Katie McCabe has made clear her intention to take home the 2024 edition very early indeed.

As captain of a national side, the Irish midfielder was given three votes for the Best FIFA Women’s Player of the year and listed her girlfriend second.

There was a lot of drama vis a vis did-she-didn’t-she-cheat and if she didn’t then why is her ex-girlfriend SO furious, well maybe probably because her ex-girlfriend is generally a bit tapped… with the various timelines under intense scrutiny by TikTok sleuths, McCabe kept her relationship with Arsenal teammate Caitlin Foord under wraps for a while.
The pair lay low until a fortnight ago, when McCabe shared a series of photos of her spending time in Australia, Foord’s home country, over new year. But no, publicly touching bae’s arse was not enough; with her cover finally blown, McCabe was given the opportunity to go the whole hog when an email from FIFA dropped into her inbox.

Obviously, giving Foord her number one vote for Best FIFA Women’s Player of the Year would have been too bait. Instead, McCabe kept it real by listing Caitlin as her second choice. Hope you win babe 💋

Unfortunately — and this is what makes the public display of affection so gloriously uselesss and cringe — there was little chance that Foord was going to take home the ultimate prize, which went to Aitana Bonmatí, whose on-field exploits have inspired a Leah Williamson-esque transformation from little nerd in ripped jeans to glam Vogue modelling gigs.
Elsewhere in Barcelona — Ona Battle is realising her own bae has robbed her of her rightful place in the FIFA FIFPRO Women’s World XI. Ona, please, consider it a gift to the world. If Lucy Bronze hadn’t been given a spot, then we wouldn’t have got to enjoy her brother Jorge’s Instagram live of him and mum, Diane, gallivanting around the award ceremony.

I had to cut my insight into the world of siblings-of-the-footballing-elite short to attend a Leeds Hyde Park committee meeting, but I was later reliably informed by Twitter that Jorge’s live had caught Keira Walsh saying that she wasn’t sure about her outfit.
Um, HELLO? It’s iconic! Thank you Keira. Special mention goes to Jill Scott’s pearl-studded bralet and jacket combo, Sarina's sparkly cardi, Ella Toone for representing all the femme girlies out there with – yep — a feather-trimmed catsuit and, obviously, Bronze for knowing her strengths and whipping out a waistcoat.

Just as a side note, there are many reasons why I enjoy putting this newsletter out into the world, but being able to Google “Waistcoat” “Lucy Bronze” “Flora Snelson” to instantly shortcut to one of the most unholy looks a footballer has ever served is definitely up there as one of the best. Since writing this, I’ve learnt from the Lionesses’ Gogglebox review of 2023, that the players’ chose their own outfits for the pre-tournament M&S shoot. Well done, Lucy. And thank you.

Things I dig this week

Picture of the Day

Between them, these guys have picked up a few trophies — a Ballon d'Or, a European Championship, a World Cup, a few Champions League, a couple of Arnold Clark Cups, to name only a selection. These fresh FIFA Women's World XI trophies are no big deal. And Aitana's got her Best FIFA Women's Player in the other hand, there. Goes hard.

Coming Up

  • The Women's Super League is back this weekend!
    • Is Marc Skinner feeling the heat?
    • Can Bristol City lift themselves off the bottom?
      • The Robins have a great chance to earn points while stealing them off a relegation rival when they take on 10th-placed Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday afternoon.
  • The Champions League is back on Wednesday and Thursday!
    • Chelsea host Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge to take a step forward in their efforts to qualify from Group D, which is turning out to be the most competitive of the four groups.
    • Barcelona look to continue their near-perfect start to their Champions League game at home to Eintracht Frankfurt. They're the only team who have won every single game, scoring 20 and conceding just one.
  • A Thursday without 31/7 ☹️
    • Next week, I'm off to Barcelona to watch some of my favourite footballers play in the Champions League! I cannot wait!
    • ...but don't worry cuz the newsletter will be back with a vengeance on my return 😘
I love hearing from readers so if you want to share some gossip, your favourite FIFA Best awards fit, your tips for Emma Hayes' no. 9 problem or literally anything else, you can find me at [email protected]. See you soon!

More at The Square Ball

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The Long Hoof to Nowhere

by Flora Snelson

Did Leeds United Women's game at Middlesbrough this weekend hold lessons for next season?
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