Feminism: Sexism in Football?

I keep taking photos of their arses.

Oh yes, bend over again.

Take your top off.

Imagine a man uttering these sinful words whilst spectating women’s sport. Outrageous, right? So sexist. They should ashamed of themselves, right?

So why is it OK for hoards of women to be saying these things about men? Yep, whilst watching Socceraid (and doing my own fair share of ogling) I overheard a group of women uttering these exact words and I’m fairly certain they weren’t the only ones.

Just another reason why I think feminism is an outdated concept.

James McAvoy

What do you think are men fair game to be ogled? How would you react if a man was saying these things about a woman?


Fashion, Football & Far Away Places

This is a post I’ve been meaning to to do for some time.

Do you remember in my unexpected Madrid haul video I said there was a second part to my haul? Well, here it is… eventually.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, Real, what have you done to me?

What do you think of my Spanish soccer purchases?








Far Away Places: Tour Bernabeu

Tour Bernabeu
The morning after the match we awoke to glorious sunshine and an excited feeling in the pit of our bellies. A very unfamiliar excited feeling, for me, at least. You see, we were about to embark on the Real Madrid stadium tour. The thought of spending hours tramping around a football ground wouldn’t ordinarily fill me with joy, but after seeing the mighty Madrid in action I couldn’t wait!

Oh Real, what have you done to me?

Our first stop was the uber-impressive Adidas club shop. Set over multiple floors this is a seriously slick lesson in branding. We searched for mementos to take back for football loving family members and, at one stage, I even found myself feeling quite disappointed that they didn’t have a replica shirt in my size!

Erm, if someone could please find the real Sam and return her, that would be appreciated.

Tour Bernabeu Queue

If you go the day after a match (like we did) expect to queue at the ticket office (and try to avoid the loitering beggars). To be honest the queue moved fairly quickly and before we knew it we were off up one of the corner towers on a series of escalators until we reached, what can only be described, as a serious vantage point. Make no mistake, the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is huge and there’s no better place to appreciate its size (it has a capacity of 84,454) than from up top.

Real Madrid trophies

From there it’s off to the museum, where there are so many trophies that you actually get a bit blase after a while, and instead of appreciating the team’s talent and achievements, you start thinking yeah, yeah, yada, yada another trophy – how awful is that? But seriously there is so much bling. Make sure you take in stand-out pieces though: the FIFA Club of the Century award, the Ballon D’or which was awarded to Di Stefano (if, like me, you’re painfully unaware of who this is spend some time watching the film about him in the section of the museum dedicated to him. I assure you will be suitably impressed by his talents) and the Trofeos Singulares cabinet, which is as bizarre as it is blingy.

Real Madrid museum

Sliverware is interspersed with iconic memorabilia, like the boots Zidane wore when he scored that goal at Hampden Park in the Champions League final back in 2002. There’s also a fantastic bank of TV screens showing highlights from the clubs history and its amazingly talented players. Loiter a while and soak up the atmosphere. There’s something enchantingabout hearing dozens of Spanish football fans (of all ages) excidetely exclaiming “Raul, Raul” every time the legend appears on screen. Some of the displays are more interesting than others, but even I (as a non-footbally type) only found myself bored once and only for about two minutes. Impressive!

There’s trophy cabinets for Real Madrid’s Basketball team too, because being good at one sport apparently isn’t enough. And, if you like those – let’s Photoshop you in with this player/trophy/randomly related football object and sell it to you in the gift shop later – type things. You’re in luck as there’s stacks of those too.

Real Madrid VIP seats

After the museum it’s back out into the stadium, walking around the lower tiers of seating to the V-VIP area. Seriously, we thought our padded seats were comfy until we saw these super-luxe cream bad boys. Then there’s the VIP room, where I couldn’t help but imagine a host of Tanya’s and Chardonnay’s (or whatever the equivalent Spanish names would be) gossiping whilst their men played kick about.

Real Madrid dressing room
Then it’s back into the bowels of the stadium for a look at the dressing rooms. Yes, they’re nice – the photos of each player on their respective locker is a great touch – but they’re nothing special. It seems no matter how big the club, a sports changing room is a sports changing room. I loved silly things, like seeing the white board with projector nestled in the corner of the dressing rooms and imagining Jose scribbling erratically over match footage at half-time during the previous night’s match.

Real Madrid dug out

Exit the dressing rooms and you get to take a walk up the tunnel, emerging in the dug out. Doing a Jose impression here is mandatory. As is having a bit of a rest – gosh, those seats are comfy!

Once your legs are rested head back inside to the away team’s dressing room (much the same as the home one, but without the photos on the lockers, presumably that would put the away team at some kind of psychological disadvantage), then continue to the humongous press room (more Jose impressions) before exiting through the mah-housive Adidas gift shop.

To be honest, I’ve been sucked in by Real Madrid. Whether it’s just a holiday romance, or something more, I don’t know. But I’ve come away as a fan. That said, even if you’re not, there’s still something tremendously interesting about seeing the inner workings of one of the world’s biggest and wealthiest football clubs. And if you work in marketing and want a lesson in branding? It’s a must see! Definitely worth a visit if you’re in Madrid.

Admission to Tour Bernabeu was €19 each when we visited. Check the website for more details and opening hours.

Find out more about my Madrid trip in these posts:

Part 1: Our Journey to Madrid
Part 2: My Unexpected Madrid Haul – Part One: Beauty Products
Part 3: My Unexpected Madrid Haul – Part Two: Clothing
Part 4: Madrid: The Reason For Our Trip – Real Madrid Vs Real BetisPart 5: The Real Madrid VIP Experience

Read my review of the Lonely Planet Guide to Madrid here

Far Away Places: Real Madrid Vs Real Betis Pre-Match Experience

Me at Real MadridFeeling slightly more human following a shower, change of clothes and application of make-up (me) we headed out for lunch. We were staying at the Rafaelhoteles Orense in Northern Madrid, just a few blocks from Real Madrid‘s superb stadium. Following our morning of shopping we were now well acquainted with the various shopping areas of Northern Madrid (note: much more than the guidebooks give the area credit for) and headed to the Cafe Mallorca inside one of the nearby shopping centres for a civilised pre-match bite to eat. Already the Real fans were starting to stream into the area, some lunching in the same classy cafe as us, others perusing the shops.

After our well-deserved late, lazy and long lunch we headed to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu to soak up the pre-match atmosphere. I’ll admit I was a little nervous. Having been surrounded by UK footie fans on public transport on numerous occasions and always feeling mightily intimidated (although joyously learning ‘the garden shed‘ song on one train trip down to London which I shared with a whole host of Baggies fans) I felt certain that being surrounded by a bunch of footie fans singing and chanting in a foreign tongue would have me quivering in my Next trainers (hey, they were all the shoes I had to wear). I couldn’t have been more wrong…

As we approached the stadium there was no sign of trouble. Families, couples, groups of men, groups of lads, groups of girls (all wearing shirts emblazoned with Ronaldo’s moniker) buzzed around the stadium. People dressed in imitation Minnie and Mickey Mouse costumes tried to earn a quick buck by posing for photos with fans. I think the most intimidating aspect of this was the guy who had decided that dressing as Chucky out of Child’s Play would be a good move. I’m not sure who in their right mind would want their photo taken with him, but hey. Maybe I’m a wuss, but it creeped me out!

We walked to the side of the stadium, where the sun was beating down, and stood in the sunshine watching people purchase pre-match drinks and snacks from the make-shift stalls that had set-up along the road. A group of Real Betis fans stood at the bottom of the street chanting and waving their football scarves in the air. It could have felt intimidating, but it didn’t. In fact, I’d say the atmosphere outside Soccer Aid at Old Trafford is more intimidating and that’s mostly made up of Robbie and Olly Murs fans… The Police stood guard, but you got the feeling they were there ‘just in case’ and they seemed relaxed and smiling, as they soaked up the afternoon sun. A group of horse mounted Police Officers oversaw the Real Betis fans, but seemed to be acting more as deterrent than peacekeeper.

Real Madrid Team Coach

A quick de-tour back to the cafe where we’d had lunch to rescue Hubby’s glasses which he’d accidentally left behind, and we headed around the other side of the stadium. It was getting closer to kick-off time and the streets were getting busier with fans, but still no trouble. We walked past one pre-match bar and noted that they had white linen cloths on all of the tables. This was posh football. And then, the team coach arrived and zoomed past us. We waved frantically at the team. Pepe sitting up front with his (probably) Beats by Dr Dre on smiling away and waving back to the fans. Ripped up paper was thrown at the coach by way of confetti. A short while later the Real Betis coach could be seen arriving at the end of the street to cheers from the away fans.

We made our way back around to the other side of the stadium and waited for the gates to open. The day had gotten progressively warmer. I eyed up the bottles of water at the nearby stall.

Are we going to get a drink inside? I asked Hubby.

Yes, I’ll probably just get a water, I’m so thirsty he replied.

Hmm, I might get a water and then have a beer I mused.

And then within a few minutes the gates were opened. We held back for a short while before making our way in through the metal gates (no pesky turnstiles here) and up the concrete steps. I held our stuff whilst Hubby popped to the toilet and noticed a very nice looking VIP bar.

Look, that’s where the proper VIPs go I said to Hubby and we made our way to our seats.

Here’s a short pre-match video which I took…

To be continued…

To find out the back story check out these posts:

Part 1: Our Journey to Madrid
Part 2: My Unexpected Madrid Haul – Part One: Beauty Products
Part 3: My Unexpected Madrid Haul – Part Two: Clothing
Part 4: Madrid: The Reason For Our Trip – Real Madrid Vs Real Betis