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Hello, Flora here, welcome and thank you for reading this 31/7! This week I have been thinking about:
  • spiteful daughters saving face
  • the bouncy castle which repaid Sam Kerr’s karmic debt
  • Rachel Daly taking a weekend off from jump-scares
  • …among other things!
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Battle of the gaffes

On Sunday, Manchester City said ‘see ya’ to their title hopes with defeat to Liverpool, while putting a big hole in their chances of Champions League qualification.

All season, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal have been scrapping over the three top spots, as occupying one of those on the final day will mean an opportunity to play Europe’s biggest teams next season.

Only the top team goes straight to group stages, mind — the second and third placed teams will have to participate in one or two qualifying rounds, in which Man City fell short at the start of this season.
But this weekend, Gareth Taylor’s side put a dent in their chances of going through the agony of it all again. Considering games in hand, City had been level pegging or thereabouts with fourth-placed Arsenal before travelling to Prenton Park, on course to pinch it on goal difference assuming that both teams won their remaining games.

But assuming is dumb! So there’s no need to lament City’s place in Europe when there’s still a whole five games to decide the outcome — two for City, including a visit to Manchester United, and three for Arsenal, who will yet try to be the first team to beat Chelsea at home this season.

Anyway, you didn’t come here for forecasts. Here are some of the silliest moments of City’s disappointment on Merseyside:


Last week, 19-year-old Reds keeper Faye Kirby stepped in for injured no.1 Rachel Laws as Liverpool travelled to title hopefuls Chelsea and so nearly stole a point before the Blues came from behind to win 2-1. Kirby, however, succeeded in stealing THE SHOW, by giving a player of the match performance on her WSL debut.

Cool! She knows what she’s doing. So let’s play another top side and watch her go!

Then three minutes in against City, under no pressure at all, she boots it straight to Laura Coombs.

At this point, Faye’s Mum is crying in the stands, preparing to watch her teenage daughter’s lapse punished, her confidence shattered. It’s not easy to break into a team, full stop, but a goalkeeper’s opportunities are fewer and further between. She’s worked so hard to get to where she is.

Then, Kirby scrambles back to make a diving save, snatching flair from the jaws of incompetence.
A gif of Faye Kirby passing the ball to Man City midfielder Laura Coombs and then saving her shot.
Maybe she meant it, creating an opportunity to show off. Or chasing a save bonus. Or exacting revenge for childhood trauma by putting her mum through the wringer.

Either way, very good Faye.


Then Coombs had a turn at embarrassing herself. Only, she wasn’t as able as Kirby to correct the situation, spectacularly or otherwise.

I have to say, as mistakes go, this one is top tier.

I don’t really understand why Ellie Roebuck plays her the ball, but when someone gives you a silly pass you don’t meet danger with danger — if in doubt, GET RID. It’s a cliche, but one which Coombs gave me no choice but to bring in here as she rolls out the dictionary definition of the red carpet for the Reds.
A gif of Man City midfielder Laura Coombs assisting a goal by Liverpool's Natasha Dowie.
I’m getting second-hand cringe just watching it.

Cringe is the least of Coombs’ worries. In February, Sarina Wiegman gave Coombs her first England cap in seven years at the Arnold Clark Cup. She’s 32 and the time be ticking. This summer is probz her last shot at a World Cup, and a blunder like this will not help her bid for inclusion in the Lionesses squad.

Though, with that little hop of frustration, her knee looks to be in perfectly functioning order. At this rate, it may be all she needs.


With City chasing an equaliser in the last twenty minutes, Roebuck made the funniest boo-boo of the afternoon by simply walking a little too far.

With the ball in her hand, she is full of purpose as she strides forward, showing her players where to go — ‘goal’s that way, lads’ — before absent-mindedly carrying the ball out of the box.
A gif of Man City goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck holding the ball as she leaves her box.
The former England no.1 is shown a yellow card and concedes a free kick on the edge of the area.

Mary Earps would NEVER.

Hard out here for a pitch

Female footballers are once again asking to have a serviceable pitch on which to play a game of football.

This week, Colney Heath Ladies caused a stir when they uploaded a video of a bouncy castle occupying the space where they were hoping to take corners for their fifth tier game against Bowers & Pitsea.

It emerged that Colney Heath FC had double booked the Sunday fixture with a ‘community event’... a coronation party.

We’ve only got Sam Kerr to blame. After she pulled this on Saturday, the karmic balance of the WoSo-verse had to be restored somehow. Fatal vibrations trickled down the women’s pyramid, with players in the Eastern Region Women's Premier Division the hapless victims.
A tweet by Chelsea FC Women with a photo of Sam Kerr representing Australia at the coronation of King Charles III by carrying big flag and wearing some shiny shoes.
Ian Wright, women’s football’s greatest ally, said the double booking was ‘an embarrassment’ and everyone rushed in to criticise the bouncy castle.

That evening, Colney Heath clapped back with a tasteless riposte that has since been deleted. Luckily for you guys, I’ve got this friend who is a shamelessly insatiable gossip and they screenshotted the good stuff.
A bitchy tweet from Colney Heath FC in which they insincerely wish their ladies' side 'every success'.

It’s 2023, Twitter has existed for seventeen years, and still, people are doing this. C’mon lads, just chill out for a while, have a think about it, and then clap back!

Former West Ham United captain and WSL legend Gilly Flaherty invited the club to ‘get in the bin’ and people with keyboards were shouting arrogance! misogyny! ignorance!

All the while, there were plenty of sentiments along the lines of ‘can you believe this… and so soon after the Euros!’, as though Chloe Kelly whipped her shirt off like it was 1999 in order that women could have permission to be outraged.
Now, it pains me to inform you that all this shit-slinging came to a relatively civilised resolution.

The following day, Colney Heath FC posted an apology which explained that “this was all a misunderstanding, as we believed our communication with the ladies team was that they were allocated the second pitch.”


In fairness to the club, it does seem as though the ladies weaponised something like a poorly-worded email to kick up a social media stink in the name of feminism. The original tweet featured a provocative shrugging emoji and the pass-agg suggestion that ‘we are sure [the bouncy castle] will be removed in time for kick off.’

Notwithstanding the horror of a coronation party displacing a game of football, it’s giving storm in a teacup.

But if there’s any positive to take from this, it’s that there was a pile on. Not just because we love to see people losing their minds on the internet, but also because a few years ago, it’s likely that the ladies’ side would have turned up and simply swallowed the situation.

So I guess the moral of the story is… sass gets results?

Daly worship

This is a public service announcement to let you know that former Leeds United player and general legend Rachel Daly is (still) crushing it. She has scored 20 goals in 20 appearances for Aston Villa this season, putting her at the very summit of the Women’s Super League goalscoring charts with two games to go.
A tweet by Aston Villa Women with a picture of Rachel Daly celebrating a hat-trick.
Her success was not a sure thing when she returned to England last summer after a decade playing in the States. In that time, she had been one of the NWSL’s top scorers, captained Houston Dash, and done kind of alright on a half-season loan back at West Ham United.

Last summer Sarina Wiegman put her at left-back, where she was the least consistent member of the eleven who started every game at the Euros. She gave us River Deep Mountain High, but she also gave Athenea del Castillo free reign of the right wing in the quarter-final vs Spain which very nearly ended the Lionesses’ dream.

From the very start, Aston Villa boss Carla Ward was adamant that she would make full use of Rachel Daly’s attacking qualities. This is a forward, Ward said.

Eight months have proven her right.

Daly is a prolific goal threat, a great leader and team player, who has made lots of Aston Villa fans happy and probably her colleagues too. Who wouldn’t love to take to the pitch with Rachel Daly, or have her scream at you from inside a cardboard box when you least expect it?

This weekend, she’s remembering her roots, returning to Yorkshire for the opening of a coffee shop called ‘The Daly Brew’ at the club where her football career began.
A post from Rachel Daly's Instagram story in which she's buzzing to open a coffee shop named after her. Watch out Jill Scott.
Aged eight, Harrogate-born Daly followed in the footsteps of her brother and her Dad as she joined Killinghall Nomads’ boys team.

“It became clear quite early on that I was better than a lot of the boys, so they’d be jealous and would tackle me even harder, but that just toughened me up,” she told the FA.

“My time at Killinghall definitely shaped me as a player. It helped me realise what competition was all about and it helped make me as competitive as I am today.

“I think that’s what your first club can do for you. If you enjoy your time there, it can help you form a lifelong love for the game.”

Daly has kept in touch with the Nomads, and is passing on the torch by sponsoring the kits of the Girls’ Under 7s and Under 11s teams.

After a weekend off supporting grassroots football, Daly will be back to Birmingham next week preparing to put more goals past Liverpool in Villa’s penultimate game of the WSL season.

Meanwhile in the relegation zone

Leeds didn’t get completely dicked by Manchester City in the Premier League, which was a pleasant surprise. But it’s all quite bleak at Elland Road so I turned my attention to writing about something happening 200,000 lightyears away instead.
Not quite galactic giants colliding, but it is Erling Haaland being banged into by Junior Firpo and Sam Greenwood

The fourth law of the Premier League

by Flora Snelson

When it comes to the vastness of the cosmos, romantics and philosophers will tell you this fear is fine, beautiful even, but the helplessness of this season hits differently.

Coming up

  • Chelsea play Manchester United for the FA Cup at Wembley on Sunday, kick off 2.30pm, broadcast live on BBC One
    • United have never got further than the quarter-finals, while the Blues have won it four times before
    • Big psychological leg-up in the title race, which is nip and tuck between these two
A tweet by a sports journalist quoting Emma Hayes who says that it's up to Chelsea to put pressure on Manchester United.
  • Fucking hell lads season’s nearly over
  • More big decisions to be made on Wednesday night, both on Sky Sports
    • Arsenal could pull further ahead of City if they win their game in hand away at Everton, kick off 6.15pm
    • Without a WSL win in 2023, you can’t imagine West Ham are going to be the team that put the brakes on Chelsea’s title charge, kick off 8.15pm
  • NWSL leaders OL Reign visit North Carolina Courage on Sunday, kick off 8PM BST, streamed on Dazn
  • Running 13.1 miles with my big sister in Bristol on Sunday

Things I'm digging this week

  • I want a cuddle with Declan Rice
  • Cambridge United escaped relegation from League One on the final day. With nine games to go it looked unlikely they’d make the seven point climb to safety, after winning just one in their last fifteen. AND YET... I hope the boy from my form who gave away his season ticket in a rage on Facebook mid-season found another way to get involved in the Abbey pitch invasion.
A tweet by Cambridge United with a picture of their players and fans celebrating staying in League One on the final day of the season.
  • In partnership with Chevrolet, Angel City are ferrying disadvantaged fans to and from their home games to make sure the whole of LA can enjoy the NWSL.
  • “We have a great friendship but he will point at me after a game and say, ‘Hey, don’t you go out tonight partying’. I just tell him to shut up and go and sit in his ice bath. But that’s us. Two different people doing well in our own way,” Jack Grealish on the difference between his and Erling Haaland’s post-match routines.


  • In 2013, Lucy Bronze completed her Sports Studies degree at Leeds Metropolitan University with a dissertation about preventing and rehabilitating ACL injuries in women’s football, as she revealed while collecting her MBE from Buckingham Palace this week. Ten years on, as Luce says, ‘it’s not funny’ that research has not significantly moved on from.
  • I got sunburnt at the weekend :)
  • The French film industry is still failing to do something, anything about its many sexual predators. Now Adèle Haenel has decided to retire in protest. Three cheers to her and many boos to them.
Thanks for reading! Don't forget you can get in touch with me anytime at [email protected] — and if you enjoy these emails, it's a great help if you forward them to everyone you know so they can read them too. Cheers!
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