After months of excitement building and weeks of prep at St George’s Park, the Lionesses were ready to take centre stage as England hosted the Euros. Along with 300 other UK based journalists I was ready to cover it; my first major tournament.
In the second year of my Football Journalism degree at the University of Derby, the only of its kind in the world, I never imagined I’d end up here so soon. Starting the journey on this very site Stu gave me my first opportunity to write about the women’s game, where I was able to find my passion.
Starting in the month before the tournament I was lucky enough to go on weekly trips to SGP. I watched the Lionesses train and interviewed them about the prospect of a major tournament on home soil.
Thanks to Dan Pentland and FAWSL Full-Time magazine I was able to experience first-hand what it’s like to attend England media activities in person after months of zoom press conferences. While it was daunting at first, I had the chance to work alongside some of the most highly regarded women’s football writers in the country.
I was lucky enough to be in the press box for both warm up games, helping Since 71 with their coverage, but when the tournament eventually rolled around, I was in the crowd at Old Trafford; my eyes welling up as the sold-out crowd roared when England took to the pitch. The start of a tournament that was years in the making, and was going to change the future of women’s football in this country.
Stadium MK was the setting for my first press experience of the tournament. Spain vs Finland in group B, a five-goal thriller where Spain had to come from behind to claim victory. Sitting in the press box, watching the fans fill the seats around me I felt like I’d really made it.
Writing for She Kicks Magazine I attended three games as press; the others, group A fixtures in Southampton and Brighton featuring Austria, Norway and Northern Ireland. Massive followings for each country, history making score lines and teams crashing post-match press conferences in song – those three games were everything I was imagining and also nothing like I was expecting all at the same time.
Enjoying twelve matches as a fan, I was there to witness a tournament bigger than anything I could’ve imagined. The cherry on the top of the cake… England’s incredible and inspiring run to the final where football FINALLY came home!
From the side-lines of a women’s game with fifty people in the crowd to Premier League stadiums with 10,000+ people cheering on their country at the Euros, July 2022 was a month I’ll never forget. Ever!