For almost five years Goal Diggers have been campaigning for a review to the outdated “first come, first served” pitch booking system. A system that prevents teams that are new to the sport from getting a look in. These teams are predominantly womxn’s teams due to the FA’s 1921 ban on womxn’s football. We have raised the issue of pitch space with local councils, leisure centres, The FA, the Football Foundation and the press. For years we have been told all the midweek 11-A-Side pitch spaces in London are booked up. We have been told that we would be lucky to find a 9-A-Side pitch - so when we did find it (Holloway School), we clung to it, but we didn’t give up. We kept digging. We piled on the pressure and spoke to everyone and anyone in the press who would listen: from urging The Guardian to launch a nationwide investigation into the pitch issue - to countless articles in local papers - to Founder Fleur’s passionate Independent article.
It is due to these efforts that we have gained access to a new pitch space. Not only is this hugely important for us as a club on practical terms (the pitch is larger, more centrally located, better equipped and better surfaced than Holloway School) but also the visibility of us on this pitch space is of paramount importance. Until this block booking, no womxn’s teams were training on Haggerston Pitch. If pitches like this are used by men every night of the week, the effect is catastrophic. It means these spaces are seen as masculine and this simply re-enforces the harmful narrative that football is a man’s game.
We are ready to change this narrative. We are ready for our new training home.