Tag Archives: football

Women on the Ball is BACK!

After an 8 month break, cheers pandemic, I got back into the podcasting hot seat for a chat with Everton Women, for The Blue Room.

Our last ‘Women on the Ball’ recording session, on a particularly chilly night at Goodison, was 8 months ago, cheer pandemic. Chatting with former Everton Women keeper, Kirstie Levell, The Blue Room supported Everton in the Community at the charity’s annual ‘Sleep Out’ event. Watch that interview, here.

It’s taken some serious graft, from all concerned, to be able to secure another opportunity to chat with another member of the squad. My thanks to all who have participated in many weeks of email tennis. Bang in the middle of Internationals, we managed to score 30 minutes with Everton’s number 7, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah.

Homegrown, passionate, Everton through and through, and a player who has truly come through the ranks and proven herself to be an incredible asset to Willie Kirk’s determined blues, Chaney answered questions from girls at AC Hoylake, talked candidly about life as a pro player, equality and swapping the pitch for the dance floor.

You can watch Women on the Ball, from The Blue Room, here.

Everton fan? Find out more about what’s coming up from The Blue Room, this week, here.

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Summer Loving

It’s officially July. This makes me happy for many reasons. A fresh start on my Everton calendar (oh hi Tom & Dom), a fresh start in my diary and it feels like summer again, which to me, means great music and good times. 

I’ve just updated the Mixtape section of the blog with 31 of my favourite tunes for the month ahead. As usual, it’s a real mixed bag in there. Everything from Beyonce to Al Green, Doves, Nick Ellis, Sinead Harnett, Earth Wind and Fire, and the King himself. Give it a listen here and send over any new music recommendations to katereillyjames@gmail.com.

Elsewhere, it’s set to be a busy month. I’ve just had a second art commission confirmed, which I’m mega excited about, more on that soon. Having just gotten into the swing of things in my new job, I’m finding managing working from home difficult.

The kids are home all day and crave structure and while I’m learning all kinds of medical terminology and working out marketing strategy, they’ve been spending way too much time on their ipads. Back to homeschool planning and prep for me!

We discovered the most awesome Nintendo Switch game earlier today. Untitled Goose Game is bloody hilarious. You play a goose, let loose on a local village and the aim of the game is to be as annoying as possible at all times.

There’s a dedicated honk button and your to-do list consists of tasks such as ‘grab a pint glass and chuck it in the canal’ or ‘lock the little boy in the phone booth’. Honestly, I’ve howled laughing playing it with my very impressionable 5-year-old. I was slightly mortified when he asked me what a phone booth is?! God, I’m so old. Check out Untitled Goose Game here.

Absolutely chuffed for the Toffees today (COYB!) and a home 2-1 win against Leicester and our first penalty of the season, at Goodison. Still not loving the fake crowd noise but a win is a win! Bring on Spurs on Monday.

Had white chocolate Coco Pops for dinner (thanks again to @Kelloggs for the fab nutrition advice for HHT patients) while emailing the European co-chair of the VASCERN HHT group for some advice about setting up HHT Kids on Instagram. If you don’t already know my HHT story and why it’s so important to me to raise awareness of this rare, vascular disease, you can get the low down here.

So after a 3 mile, 9pm walk with the little ones, I’ve blitzed the house, prepped homeschool for tomorrow (for me and them), and flopped into bed to get my first blog of July done – only to realise it’s already the 2nd…bugger!

Happy July Everyone, hope it’s a cracker for you.

 

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Unholy

Getting by on half a Kinder Bueno for breakfast isn’t ideal, but Ellie had forgotten the last time she ate anything normal before midday.

Coffee, chocolate, and the endless supply of biscuits on offer in the newsroom kept her going most days. It also kept her waistline expanding. As she walked towards the Town Hall, she wondered if that was the root of Nick’s problem? Maybe she should make more effort to get some exercise and knock Greggs in the head for a few weeks?

“I don’t see why we have to have these meetings at this unholy hour.” a councilor complained to Ellie as he ambled into the meeting room laded down with files. She smiled and shrugged. Is 9am really that early? Or had all the daily grind of council bureaucracy gotten too much? She suspected the latter for this time-served civil servant. 

“Ellie!” 

The City Mayor, Anna Carvell caught Ellie’s attention and strode over with a broad, photographer-pleasing smile. 

“Lovely to see you again, thank you for coming down. I know these weekly meetings are pretty hard going but it’s important our constituents know we’re dedicated to discussing the issues that matter to them.” Spoken like a true pro. That entire spiel was straight out of PR 101. 

“Good morning Anna, it’s a pleasure really. Like you said, it’s all about the readership.” Ellie was about to take her seat when Anna stepped closer. 

“Will you be covering the press conference at the training ground this afternoon?” Anna tried to keep her tone light, but Ellie could tell there was something there. 

“Yes, of course. I’m hoping for some good news for Daley, that was a horrendous tackle.” Ellie had seen the challenge with her own eyes and gasped along with the press box as the right-back crumpled to the floor in the dying seconds of last Saturday’s game. 

“Yes me too, but I hear the recovery is going well. I’ll see you there.” With that Anna took her seat, shaking hands and offering smiles to everyone around the room. 

Why is she going to the press conference? Ellie wondered. It was no secret that the city mayor was a blue and was regularly seen in hospitality at home games. But the slog up to the remote training ground was an unusual diary booking for the Mayor. 

“Ellie took out her laptop, set up the voice recorder app, and readied her pen and paper to take notes, her stomach rumbling.  

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The Sound of Silence

The phone alarm signaled the start of the day at 7. Naomi knew she shouldn’t keep her phone charging and stashed under her pillow, but it was never out of reach.

Even through the cracked screen, a 15-minute trawl through Facebook and that fit
footballer’s Instagram story had become a morning ritual. Having the bedroom next to the family bathroom was a curse if you ever fancied a lie in.

The shower ran with a squeak as Naomi’s mum got ready for work. The hairdryer and kitchen radio would soon follow. The bin men were making a racket outside and already Naomi’s phone was beeping with constant messages from the WhatsApp group after last night’s drama. That could wait.

She went through the motions, got dressed, brushed her teeth, appeased her mum by
grabbing a croissant from the kitchen and waved it with a half-arsed shout of goodbye as she shut the front door.

The exams weren’t going well, too little too late. Feeling the panic rise in her throat, she fished out her earpods, hit shuffle, and dumped the croissant in the wheelie bin.
As much as she liked Mrs. Rhodes, the last thing Naomi needed this morning was another
pep talk, the last one hadn’t gotten her through more than half of yesterday’s physics paper with any confidence.

“Morning Nomi, you got this okay, just remember…”

“Yep, I hear you miss.” Naomi took out her ear pods and shrugged her off mid-sentence.

At least arriving early meant she could get into the exam hall before having to deal with Chloe and the barrage of questions about disappearing with Ben last night.

Naomi dropped her bag at the back of the hall and walked down the neat rows of exam desks. Sitting close to the window, she stared out at the passing traffic on the ring road. As the test paper was laid on the desk in front of her, the panic began to set it.

Enveloped by the sound of silence, Naomi breathed deeply and put her head on the desk.

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Women On The Ball

This brand new venture, from hugely popular podcast and Youtube channel, The Blue Room, shines a much needed light on Everton Women and life as a female pro footballer. 

It’s just shy of a year since I made my debut on The Blue Room. The Everton FC dedicated podcast and Youtube channel has been discussing all things Toffee for almost a decade now. The brand was created by Sports New Journalist Dave Downie and Football Writer and Broadcaster, Matt Jones (obvs both massive Everton fans), The Blue Room produces an incredible amount of quality, engaging content across the website, Patreon podcast, Youtube and social media – on a daily basis.

the blue room podcast

Podcast episodes cover all manner of current EFC news, players, signings, managers (CARLO FANTASTICO), fixtures, results, former players, historic games, cultural connections, you name it, if it’s even remotely related to the club, we’ll gab about it. The contributers are global blues. From Australia to the US and the Wirral.

Aside from reliable, daily content, The Blue Room also offers the likes of Mailbag – this weekly show gives fans the opportunity to ask questions for the panel to discuss. It also starts a totally unique conversation on social media among fans too, sometimes with absolutely nothing to do with Everton whatsoever. We’re never going to agree on what constitutes the perfect Christmas dinner! Onions in vinegar? Seriously Jack?

As a first generation blue, I was nervous to join ‘the lads’ in discussing the game. These lads are devout. Between them, they go to every game, home and away. They can recall results, handballs, unbelievable reffing decisions, away fan clashes, international escapades, last minute screamers and last minute screaming. It’s pretty incredible.

the blue room

I began my Everton fan career age 18 when I met my husband and started going to the game with him. Sat behind the goal in the Lower Gwladys Street, my first game was against Sunderland. I almost missed the winner because I was so preoccupied with the fella sat three rows behind me who spent 80 odd minutes simply shouting ‘You’re shite’.

My lack of confidence aside, the lads invited me over to the Radio City tower to record and a new passion was born. We had a good laugh and still do. They’ve taught me so much and I’ve taken a real stand on topics I’m passionate about, such as Sam Allardyce and the brilliance of Dominic Calvert Lewin. I think I take a lot more stick than I give, but that’s subject to opinion.

The Blue Room has had a desire to cover more of the womens game for a while. I was truly blown away when Matt and Dave offered me the opportunity to host a new strand of the podcast focussing entirely on Everton Women.

women on the ball

Women On The Ball was launched in November 2019 with WOTB Episode 1 and featured an hour long chat with Everton Women captain Lucy Graham, Simone Magill and Maeva Clemaron.

The podcast gave us the chance to get to know the players, how they got started in football, what the team dynamic is like behind closed doors, who the jokers are (Simone for one!) and the challenges that lay ahead as these girls pave the way for a new generation of girls who can now visualse a career in professional football.

We had a good laugh and WOTB Episode 2 followed in December with equally good viewing/listening figures. Stories such as the one from Everton Women defender, Kika Van Es genuinely shocked us. With no provision for school age girls to pursue football, in her native Holland, Kika took extreme measures to follow her passion. Watch here to find out more. 

Everton Women are flying this season. Currently sitting 5th in the Barclays FA Womens Super League and with a FA Cup fourth round draw game against London Bees tomorrow (Sunday 26th January 2020), the girls are back from the Christmas break and ready to battle. There’s also the small matter of a historic Merseyside derby taking place at Goodison Park on 9th Feburary, but that fixture is deserving of a blog post all of its own.

Just 14 months after taking the reins, Everton Women Manager Willie Kirk has steered a successful January transfer window to futher strengthen a team that has shown ambition. In a recent interview for Women On The Ball, he said: “It’s been a great January. I think we’ve maxed out, we did exactly what we wanted to do in terms of ins and out. I don’t think it could’ve gone any better to be honest.”

With three players incoming, including a return to USM Finch Farm (Everton’s training facility) for Goal Keeper Sandy McIver and Midfielder Izzy Christiansen, plus a transfer backed by former blue, Tim Cahill, in Hayley Raso from Portland Thorns via the Gold Coast, the second half of the season is looking bright and blue for Everton Women.

There’s loads more to come in the weeks ahead. To find out more about The Blue Room and to catch up on WOTB episodes so far, head to the official Youtube channel here, and get subscribing to the podcast, here.

 

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Foul Ball

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks but its official, I’m a trainee journalist. I’ve spent my days immersed in short hand, public affairs, media law and news reporting. I’ve learned abbreviations such as IPSO and PCC and I can recite all 16 clauses of the Editors Code of Practise. Among the intense learning I also ran my first ever half marathon, The Great North Run and somehow managed to get three kids into childcare by 8am every day for a fortnight….and I’ve loved every minute of it.

I wish I could go back in time and visit 17 year old me and say ‘Stop being a gobby show off, embrace your love of English language and literature and focus on carving out a career for yourself….oh and lay off those Bacardi Breezers’  Would I have listened? I doubt it very much, I knew everything back then. 17 year old me

Fast forward 16 years and I’m slowly starting to feel like I’ve got my life together. I have a natural flair for chatting to people and engaging with businesses, so my next challenge is…..local sport! Tomorrow I’m spending the afternoon at Sefton RUFC to learn everything there is to know about rugby union (or proper rugby as my Dad calls it). I’m currently sat listening to the first match of the Rugby World Cup, England Vs Fiji in an attempt to naturally soak up some of the terminology and international players names! It’s not really working. I’m also making an appearance at not one, but two Liverpool golf clubs this weekend, again an attempt at on-the-job learning! I’m taking bets on how many injuries I’m going to sustain by Sunday dinner time?!i heart footy

The reason I’ve taken on sport it because it’s totally out of my comfort zone. I’m happy to sit and watch premiership games at the weekend, but (dare i say it,) I’m neither red nor blue. I really enjoy F1, Athletics and international Cricket. But Rugby, Golf and Snooker…….zzzzzzzzz. So I’ve gone way out of my comfort zone and I kind of figured that if I can accurately write up a 90/80 minute match while its unfolding right in front of me, I should have no problems with an equally fast-paced Fashion Week catwalk show…right?

I’ve resorted to watching some Youtube video’s on match commentary to help calm my nerves….that didn’t really work out either as most of them are hilarious. I must be more professional….. I wonder if I could get away with just shouting ‘a$$hole’ after each goal like this guy?https://youtu.be/wvnydzZXBEI

I’ll let you know how I get on!

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