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The Hoddle of Coffee: Tottenham Hotspur news and links for Wednesday, March 10

inclusion in English women’s football

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Brighton & Hove Albion Women v Tottenham Hotspur Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Hi, all!

At the top today is forward Angela Addison.

Ramble of the Day

At the end of last month, The Athletic’s Katie Whyatt wrote an article about the lack of diversity in the England women’s team’s player pool. The hook of the piece is England’s recent friendly against Northern Ireland, a match during which the entire England starting lineup was made up of white players. Naturally, it’s representative of a bigger and more layered problem, and Whyatt does a terrific job of exploring the many ways women of color are excluded from the game.

There are a lot of takeaways from the article, and if you have a subscription to The Athletic and haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it — like I said, it’s a layered issue and Whyatt gets into those layers. There are, as a result, a lot of notable stories from it, but I’d like to spotlight just one from former Charlton player and current Sky Sports journalist Jess Creighton:

[Creighton] remembers how she would eat Jamaican dishes on the bus to games and receive so many looks and questions. “I would rather not eat it than have to eat it around people that weren’t sure what was happening,” Creighton says. “And that’s because there was a culture where you didn’t really have to talk about race. If an incident happened, I didn’t necessarily feel empowered to be able to bring it up. It was a culture where I felt as though, then, I was very aware of my Blackness, my race. Little things would happen, but there wasn’t an outlet or channels to be able to discuss it in a way that is comfortable. So I’m not going to discuss it. I’m just going to pretend like it hasn’t happened. ...

“I did feel sometimes it wasn’t safe for me to express myself. There was sometimes a need to hide away and almost shrink, just so I could just go under the radar without my Blackness being seen as a problem. If I say something, as a Black girl, and a white girl says the same thing, the reaction to what we’ve heard is very different.”

Elsewhere in the piece, the point is made that parents do not send their children to places where a level of safety is not felt. It feels like a very basic truth for humans — most of us are unwilling to go to places where we don’t have a certain level of comfort; in Creighton’s case, it means the comfort of being herself.

I share this because this is the result of a closed football community. It was not enough that Creighton faced hostility for her food; she never had a place to share her experiences. It limits the opportunities people with power have to hear about the experiences of others, and act on it accordingly. It leads to a backlog on improvements, and causes so much pain in the meantime. Minimizing that pain must be a priority of those with the influence, but it cannot happen without a very harsh look at the limiting systems that already exist.

Links of the Day

Boca Juniors’ Cristian Pavón was charged with rape in Argentina.

A University of Glasgow neurologist said female footballers face double the risk of concussion.

Joachim Löw will step down as the Germany manager after this summer’s Euros.

West Ham’s Mark Noble will leave the club at the end of next season.

A longer read: Megan Armstrong interviews veteran MLS midfielder Warren Creavalle on retiring from the game to focus on designing streetwear and activism for GQ