Arsenal Ladies v Djurg’rden/’lvsj’, UEFA Women’s Cup, Boreham(space)wood FC

There were a whole world of firsts for me at Boreham(space)wood* on Friday, here they are in some sort of numerical order:

1. First women’s football match I’ve been to.
2. First european club match I’ve been to.
3. First floodlight failure I’ve seen.
4. First terrace violence I’ve seen.
5. First game I’ve left before the end (mainly due to 3 and 4)

It wasn’t the best of games, Arsenal going down 0-1, having drawn the first leg in Sweden and they were pretty much outclassed throughout (10 of the D/A squad are in the national team, the other being a Finnish international, so they are pretty handy). Unfortunately I missed the goal as it was scored just as I was ordering my cheese burgers having stood in the queue for 20 minutes. The crowd were also very odd. OK, so you don’t expect kids to make much noise (under 16s got in free, rather than the ‘2 adults pay), but even their parents/guardians looked like they had never been to a match at this level before, almost embarrassed to applaud or gee up a player who was only five foot away rather than a small dot in the distance. We positioned ourselves by the noisiest bit of the ground, the 30 or so Swedish fans who’d come along to support their girls, and what a great job they were doing, they even managed a couple of chants in English. Unfortunately a small knot of local teenagers took exception to this (no segregation of course) and started swearing at them which degenerated into pushing and eventually a scuffle, with no sign of a steward within 100 yards to step in. This ugliness combined with two of the floodlights failing about ten minutes into the second half as well as the cold and rain led to us sneaking out before the match re-started.

Also, probably another first, there wasn’t a single off-side given during the match, but I wouldn’t stoop so low as to make a joke about women and understanding the offside law, oh no, that’d be right out…

*everyone else calls it borehamwood these days, except the football club, for no apparent reason