Just a few short weeks ago, we all witnessed a monumental sporting moment – football finally came home.
And it was the women’s game that did it, only a year since the England men’s team came so close to lifting the Euros trophy themselves.
The nation is bursting with pride for the phenomenal achievements of every player on England women’s team, affectionately known as The Lionesses, but we just had to give a little shout out to one of our local girls.
Ella Toone. The Wigan-born star has been called wonder kid and a golden girl, but she prefers to be ‘just Ella’.
The 22-year-old has built the bulk of her sporting career here in Greater Manchester.
Born in Tyldesley, she spent many years as a junior at Manchester United – but the team, until very recently, didn’t have a senior women’s team for her to move up to.
So it was off to Blackburn she went, then briefly she played for Manchester City, before finally joining Man Utd in 2018 for their inaugural season.
In an interview with BBC Sport, Ella – a life-long United (and Cristiano Ronaldo) fan – said: “It’s the best feeling in the world. Growing up a Manchester United fan, and then being able to play week in week out for the club that you love and support is really special.
“Growing up it was tough – I was in the United academy for seven/eight years, and there was nothing to look up to. There was no women’s team to try and get in to.”
But once news of a Manchester United women’s squad landed, Ella said: “It was home. I knew that my ambitions matched theirs. I’ve been happy ever since.”
Fast forward to 2022, and she has become a household name thanks to her stunning performance with the England Women’s team at the Euros.
Ella’s impeccable chip into the net had all of Wembley on its feet during the final, and it was one of two goals that saw England storm to victory.
Along with her teammates, she is now riding the wave of the team’s success to try and make changes that will last an eternity.
The Lionesses recently penned an open letter to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, demanding that young girls are given the opportunity to get into the sport and that women’s football is given proper investment from school age onwards.
They told the prospective PMs that only 63% of girls can play football in PE at school, saying ‘a generation of school girls deserve more.’
The letter stated: “Throughout the Euros, we as a team spoke about our legacy and goal to inspire a nation. Many will think that this has already been achieved, but we see this as only the beginning.
“We are looking to the future. We want to create real change in this country and we are asking you, if you were to become Prime Minister on 5 September, to help an achieve that change.”
The highly-praised letter went on to ask the Government to ensure all girls have access to a minimum of two hours a week of P.E.
The co-signed letter said: “They deserve to play football at lunchtime, they deserve to play football in PE lessons and they deserve to believe they can one day play for England. We want their dreams to also come true.
“This is an opportunity to make a huge difference. A change that will impact millions of young girls’ lives. We – the 23 members of the England Senior Women’s EURO squad – ask you to make it a priority to invest into girls’ football in schools, so that every girl has the choice.”
And as Ella Toone herself once said – “I was once just a little girl with a lot of dreams, and I’ve managed to achieve them.”
About Manc of the Month
We all know that Manchester is home to some special people, some born here and others drawn here, and after a bumpy two years that effectively amounted to one big lockdown, it’s these special people that have inspired and led us through the tough times – so we decided to start a series that shines a light on those who should be celebrated.
Wayne Rooney confirms he has had offers to take part in a boxing match
England and Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has confirmed that he has indeed had talks and been offered the possibility of taking part in a boxing match at some point in the future.
While most people know him as one of the greatest British footballers of all time, some might also be aware that Rooney was indeed a bit of a boxer in his younger days and even fought at his local amateur club to a decent little pedigree — that’s according to Eddie Hearn, at least.
The Matchroom Sports promoter got rumours that Wazza might get in the ring circulating after his own appearance on Gary Neville’s Stick to Football, claiming that he’d had calls from the retired footballer himself trying to set something up and now the retired striker seems to have confirmed it.
Speaking with the panel of ex-pro pundits on The Overlap’s latest show, the 38-year-old was quizzed by Neville and his Monday Night Football co-host, Jamie Carragher as to whether there was any truth in it — to which he simply teased, “You never know”.
Going on to explain the genuine discussions that have already taken place, Rooney said, “They’ve been in touch and have asked the question but at the minute I’m just focusing on getting back into management”.
When asked if it was an exhibition for charity or part of something else, he then went on to reveal that it isn’t just a case of one offer but multiple, in fact.
“There’s been a few and obviously that Misfits [Boxing] have been in [touch] and all of the news”, said United’s all-time leading goalscorer, but once again reiterated that his main focus is simply getting back on the touchline. Can’t lie, doesn’t really matter who he was fighting, we’d pay to see it.
Come on, we could hardly write this whole thing without mentioning that clip:
The Premier League icon insisted that he still loves boxing like his dad before him and that his “grandad still runs the gym in Crocky [Croxteth, Liverpool]” but making a prompt comeback as a manager is the first priority after being let go by Birmingham after just 83 days in charge.
As for who he’d faced up against, the likes of Logan and Jake Paul have both been banded about and given Misfits in the influencer and YouTube world — having been co-founded by KSI — who knows? All we know is that Wazza was a warrior on the pitch and we’re sure he’d be similar on the canvas.
You can watch Wayne Rooney’s full interview on Stick to Football down below:
Featured Images — The Overlap (via YouTube)/Sky Sports
Manchester City to host blockbuster Women’s derby at the Etihad Stadium
Man City Women are hosting one of the biggest fixtures in the football calendar and the third Manchester derby of this season already at the Etihad Stadium next month.
The Barclays Women’s Super League title race is seriously starting to hot up now. Both Manc teams went close to lifting the trophy in the 2022/23 campaign and have been setting record-breaking crowds every time derby day rolls around, so the excitement ahead of this huge fixture feels bigger than ever.
Blue vs Red is as old as it gets and simply cannot be missed.
Better still, as more eyes continue to tune into the WSL and matchdays at the Etihad and Old Trafford continue to deliver some of the best matchday atmospheres and value-for-money days out, with Man City set to make the pre-match excitement the best it’s ever been.
Gareth Taylor’s side took home bragging rights in both of the last two meetings between the teams, with an all-time record attendance for the derby at Old Trafford back in November 2023 and a huge win in the Conti Cup for the Blues last month.
The Joie Stadium has been a bit of a fortress for the home side but it goes without saying that playing under the lights across the campus at the Etihad itself, with what is no doubt going to be the largest and most pulsating crowd of the season, will serve as a huge motivation for City.
From the pyros and light shows, thumping music and drummers in the stands, to some of the best matchday scran and drinks you’ll find on-site anywhere in Greater Manchester for two-and-a-half hours up until kick-off at 12:30pm, we genuinely can’t wait for derby day on Saturday, 23 March.
City have now won eight on the bounce in the league but the big question is, can they make it three from three in the derby? A treble, if you will. Here’s how they faired in the reverse fixture in the Conti Cup:
The Etihad Campus fan zone has more on offer than ever too, taking the dedicated pre and mid-match festivities from league fixtures at Joie’s Stadium and doubling it at the men’s ground — there’s even going to be a dedicated kid’s fan zone this year too.
With soft play for the children and a dedicated kids’ fan zone on the indoor pitch at the City Football Academy itself; quizzes and interactive competitions where there are great prizes to be won, not to mention the chance to meet the much-loved Man City mascots, ‘Moonbeam’ and ‘Moonchester’, they’re going to have a blast and so are you.
Once again, even on derby day, watching Manchester City Women remains one of the most affordable ways to watch live sport and some of the best female talent anywhere in the region. It’s no wonder season tickets sold out but you still have time to grab a derby day seat on Saturday, 23 March HERE.