7 articles Articles posted in Football

Still Nil Nil – A Football Lover’s Perfect Gift

As you’ll know if you’re a long-time reader of Mum’s the Word, we’re fans of Liverpool Football Club. Husband has been a fan his whole life, and when we met I adopted LFC as my team, too. That means that there are many historical games from LFC’s football past that we revisit from time to time, and we’ve been to Anfield as a family for a special day of Liverpool FC hospitality (we also saw Luis Suarez score his first ever Home hat-trick while we were there, which made it extra special).

Perhaps one of the most relevant games to current Liverpool fans is the night of the 2005 Champions League Final, where Liverpool came back from 3-0 against AC Milan to win on penalties and become European Champions. It was an amazing night, and although it happened before I became a Liverpool fan, it was a night that Husband has rewatched with me MANY times, and one in his life that he’ll never forget. A Football Lover's Perfect GiftThat’s why, when I received an email about Still Nil Nil, I knew it would make an incredible gift for Husband. You see, Still Nil Nil have taken these special nights in sporting history and created beautifully illustrated books, containing original poetry, describing the events in detail. There are currently three titles available, costing £12 each; The Treble, based on Manchester United’s historic 1998/99 season, Invincible, revisiting Arsenal’s unbeaten 2003/04 season; and The Miracle of Istanbul, retelling Liverpool’s epic Champions League final comeback in 2004/05.

The Miracle of Istanbul

Josh Clarke, founder and director of Still Nil Nil, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to finally unveil a true passion project, Still Nil Nil. Millions of parents and children bond over their football club – and our books represent the perfect way for parents to pass on their passion, and memories, to their children with an incredible shared experience.

“With Christmas fast approaching, the response to our initial three books has already been overwhelmingly positive. We are delighted to be delivering gifts that football-mad children (and, probably more so, parents) are going to love.”

I can’t wait to give Husband his copy and I think it will be something he’ll cherish. The books are aimed at kids, but I truly think they’re perfect for football fans of any age, and for Liverpool fans young and old, the night in Istanbul will be something they want to remember forever.

There’s still plenty of time to order your copy of a Still Nil Nil book from the website, so head over there and grab one now.

Soccer for Children: A Guide to Getting Started at Different Ages

One of the very best things about soccer for kids is that they really can start at any age. It’s a very inclusive sport and is suitable for anyone regardless of height, strength or speed. Soccer is a relatively easy sport to learn when you’re just starting out, and it involves a lot of continuous action and running, which means it’s a great way for kids to exercise. Communication and cooperation are key skills on the field, which makes it a really nice way for kids to learn about teamwork (for more resources on teamwork and becoming a great footballer, take a look at Soccer Gap)

In fact, soccer is officially the most played sport in Australia, so they’ll always have friends to play with. According to a survey conducted by the Australian Sports Commission, 1,104,815 Australians participated in soccer in 2016. That’s over 400,000 more participants than AFL, and four times that of Rugby League.

There’s no ‘right’ age to start soccer, but here you’ll find some of the basics in terms of what you can expect in each age bracket, from 5 years old to 12 years old. Take a look…

5 – 7 Year-Olds

It’s really all about getting out and having fun at this age. Teams will be smaller, with usually only four players on the field, and each half of a game will only go for around 15 minutes. They also probably won’t have a goalkeeper. While they’ll start to learn the rules, they probably won’t be very strictly enforced – it’s more about getting familiar with the basics and giving them a chance to develop a love of playing.

Starting at this age can set up a great foundation for building skills and understanding the fun that can come from exercise. It also gives them an opportunity to develop strong friendships across their years of playing.

8 – 9 year-olds

By this age, there’ll be more players on the field, and there’ll be a goalkeeper too. The length of each half will probably be more like 20-25 minutes. Of course, it’s still mainly about having fun, but with more of an emphasis on preparing them for higher levels of the sport. Additional rules will be introduced, and some of that earlier leniency with enforcing them will start to reduce, giving them a chance to fully understand the details of the game. Some experts believe that 8 years old is the ideal age for kids to start playing soccer in a competitive team environment.

10-12 Year-Olds

This is when coaches will really start to focus on skills in order to provide them with a solid foundation of technical competence. At this age, children are ready for a more structured approach to training too. The number of players allowed on the field increases to 9 a side (at 10 years old) and then to 11 a side (at 12 years old). The length of the game also increases, with 12-year-olds playing full 30 minute halves.

While things are more focussed at this stage, the emphasis will still be on having fun and building positive experiences.

All children are different and it’s hard to say whether there is an ideal age to start soccer. But, whatever their age, there are many benefits of choosing soccer. It is a contact sport, but it’s not a collision sport, which means its relatively safe compared to a lot of other team sports (especially other forms of football).

Beyond that, it’s well known that there are a lot of benefits for kids who play sport – it contributes positively to their physical health, can give them a great range of social experiences and can give them a great sense of achievement as they build their skills. If your child is interested in sports, soccer may well be a great place to start. You could also get involved and help out the team once you’ve got some basic disclosure from CRB Direct.

A sports camp can be a great entry point and there are many soccer school holiday programs in Sydney or your local surrounding area that your kids can get involved with.

A Family of Football Lovers

A lot of wives hate the football season; at least once a week, they lose their Husbands to the TV or even stadium if they’re lucky enough to live near their chosen team and if their team isn’t doing so well, their moods can seriously suffer! However, here in the Mum’s the Word house, we’re a family of football lovers, so match days are a family affair, though sadly our team is Liverpool FC which means that the commute from Essex is a little far to make a regular pilgrimage to Anfield.

Back in 2013, we were lucky enough to be invited along by Liverpool FC’s PR team to visit Anfield for a stadium tour, museum visit and family fun day, all before watching a home game against West Bromwich Albion. It was an incredible day; we got to see Luis Suarez score his first home hat-trick and we eventually won the match 4-1. I was 5 months pregnant with Burrito Baby at the time, so whenever we talk about that day, we always say that all four of us have been to Anfield! It was an amazing experience and something I’m SO glad we got to share with Sausage – she still talks about that day over a year later and would love to go back again now that BB is here. IMG_1557

Liverpool FC is a really family oriented club, so supporting our team as a family is really important to us. On days when the matches are on TV, all of us congregate in the lounge to watch together and on special game days, we often have Husbands’ Dad and his wife over as they’re Liverpool supporters too. We love nothing more than sharing a pizza together and watching the match…there may even be a beer or two involved on good days, too!

In return for telling you about our football watching habits, Betfair has sent us a gorgeous Pamper Parcel, a new company started by a fellow blogger, Rosie Shelley, and in the spirit of equality, Husband and I have been sharing the contents – of course, the chocolate was yummed down pretty quickly between us and the girls, and I’ve slathered myself in the rich, firming moisturiser included in the box, but as Husband is the bath-lover amongst us, the bath bomb is being saved until the next time he has time for a soak! HER2

Are you a family who watches sport together? Does your family all support the same team, or are there any major rivalries going on? Are you a family of pamperers who love nothing more than soaking in the bath? Do you make good use of match days by waiting until the footy is on to give yourself a pampering? Leave me a message below, I’d love to hear all about your sporting (or NON-sporting) habits as a family!

Domestic Violence and The World Cup

world cup domestic violenceI read a really disturbing report in The Guardian the other day which said that police forces are expecting the World Cup to have a negative impact on the levels of domestic violence across the UK. According to figures, “violent incidents increased by 38% when England lost – but also rose by 26% when they won”. What’s even more worrying, is that that figure has incresed with every tournament since 2002, with rates of domestic violence during tournaments at an all-time high. The combination of increased alcohol consumption, disappointment of losing or excitement at winning is being blamed for the spike in figures. 

The interesting (and I mean that in the gravest sense, obviously) thing is that the violence is not just ‘men hitting women’, but female on male as well as within gays couples. Husband was recently teaching Sausage about self-defence and he told her that boys should never hit girls, a sentiment with which I agree but I think there’s more to add to that statement:

1. Yes, boys should never hit girls, but girls shouldn’t be hitting boys, either.

2. If you hit a boy, don’t just expect that he won’t hit you back because you’re a girl.

3. If you hit anyone, you’re opening yourself up for retaliation.

As a mother to girls, it’s really easy to feel indignant about male-on-female violence, but I think it’s important that we also remember that violence works both ways. Yes, sexual dimorphism in humans means that men are generally bigger than women and have greater strength, but be honest – if you have sons, wouldn’t you be just as indignant about one of them being abused by a wife or girlfriend?

The other day, Husband and I were in the supermarket and we were mucking around, having a joke and a bit of banter with each other, when I jokingly said to him “I’m going to thump you when we get home!”. It was clearly said in jest and no-one batted an eyelid, but what if it had been said the other way around? If you heard a man, even jokingliy, say to his female spouse “I’m going to hit you later”, would you be able to take it with a pinch of salt, or would you secretly be wondering if he was a wife-beater? We’re hypocrites when it comes to domestic abuse, as the video below illustrates brilliantly:

What’s even more scary is that the experts now think that children who see domestic violence happening are perpetuating the behaviour as adults and continuing the negative cycle. A quote from an article in The Guardian said:

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said: “These trends are well established and the worrying thing is there is an increase from tournament to tournament. We have to ask – are perpetrators becoming increasingly confident? Are we seeing intergenerational abusers?

“One of the things that we are looking at is around learned behaviour and this is causing us concern. Are there now people who have seen their parent behave in this way during tournaments who now think it is acceptable for them to do the same?

Its got to the point now where concern over the rise in domestic violence during the World Cup (over 25% in Lancashire in 2010) is so significant that local authorities are running poster campaigns on bus stops and billboards, urging people not to be violent to their partners during this tournament.

I’ll just stop and let you absorb that for a moment.

We’re putting posters up to REMIND people not to abuse their significant other.

I’m sorry, but that scares the shit out of me. Has society really degraded to that point? Do we need to get the ladies in Waitrose to remind us; “Here’s your change, receipt and little green token, sir. Enjoy the match tonight and DO remember not to beat the living daylights out of your wife!”

I’m not making light of domestic violence or being glib about such a horrible situation but there’s no denying that the figures speak for themselves. What makes this even worse is that the increase is still only representative of the incidents which are actually reported…it’s estimated that 70% of domestic violence actually goes unreported, which means that the figures are nauseatingly higher than we really think they are. People are reluctant to report things because they think they won’t be taken seriously, or put themselves or their families in further danger. I have a good friend who used to be a constable in the Metropolitan Police and they’ve confided in us on more that one occasion that it’s unbearably disheartening to charge someone for a horrible, violent offence only for judges to hand out piffling, insultingly short sentences – is it any wonder people are too scared to report things when they know their abuser will be a free person within a matter of days?

I don’t know what the solution is here – I truly wish I did. All I know is, any kind of violence is wrong and we need to be doing more to teach our children this.

If you’re suffering any form of domestic abuse, be you male or female, straight, gay or anything else, you MUST get help. Refuge are an amazing charity which helps victims of domestic abuse and there are also lots of other charities working in specific areas who can help with emergency housing needs and much else besides. 

Role Models for Girls

The 2012 Olympics was a fantastic event which really hailed some positive changes in the UK. As a mother to (almost) two girls, I’m pleased with the coverage that female athletes received and that names like Jessica Ennis, Victoria Pendleton and Katherine Grainger are now known to many. Of course, there are plenty of highly successful female athletes out there but with football, rugby, cricket, and golf dominating the TV coverage, it’s easy to think that sports are for men only.

Two of my Husband’s cousins are female and in their tweens. Both are excellent at football, though they couldn’t be more different in other ways. The eldest is into girlie stuff and loves nothing more than clothes, make-up and having her hair and nails done. The youngest…well, I think the last time I saw her in a skirt was when she was a bridesmaid for my sister-in-law in 2007, but either way, they’re promising little sportswomen. There seems to be a preconception though, that ‘girlie girls’ can’t be sporty and that anyone who’s sporty has to be a total tomboy, which is rubbish – did any of you see Jessica Ennis is that dress?!

Jessica Ennis Red Dress

For one of Husband’s cousins, we decided that we’d start the indoctrination early and get her a Liverpool FC shirt for Christmas. We didn’t have time to do it in the end, but we had planned to get ‘Bonner’ printed on the back – Gemma Bonner is currently the captain of Liverpool Ladies team, and we’re also proud to say, part of the Senior England Women’s Team. Aged just 21, she captained Liverpool to the 2013 FA WSL title, which is an incredible achievement for a woman of her age.

I’m so much happier for my daughters and female relatives to be looking up to sportswomen and people with genuine talent than the type of so-called “role-models” we see churned out of the X-Factor machine every year, or on the pages of fashion magazines with their hideous messages about body image.

All I’m saying is, next time you write a girl off as a ‘Tom Boy’ or think that girls should be ‘girlie’, try and bear in mind the example that our sportswomen are setting, think about the fact that it’s more than possible to be both accomplished and radiant, like our Jessica, and think about letting our girls be exactly who they want to be. When I was little, I was constantly told that I couldn’t do certain things – I wanted to do drama at University and was told what a waste it would be because I was ‘too intelligent’ to waste my brain on a creative subject (let’s not mention that the vast majority of British actors started at Oxford or Cambridge…). As an adult, I wish I’d done exactly what I wanted because I’m now without any higher qualifications at all and have no real idea of what I should be doing. I’m happy, but I wish I’d been allowed to follow my own ideas.

It’s not just our girls who are benefiting from seeing strong women in the media, either. When boys see women as strong, successful and capable, it adjusts their perceptions too and will hopefully mean a progression towards women being taken more seriously on all platforms.

What do you think? Who do your kids look up to? What does ‘strong woman’ mean to them and you?

Our Liverpool Experience – Part One #LFC

If you read this post, you’ll know that last weekend we were invited by Liverpool Football Club to attend a match at Anfield, as well as taking in their new Family Fun zone, Stadium Tour and Museum. We’re all huge Liverpool fans, Husband having been a life-long supporter, and we were all so excited to have this opportunity.

Our trip started on Friday afternoon, as we decided to travel up early and stay in a nearby hotel before the match on Saturday. One EPIC 8 hour car journey later (it’s supposed to take 4-5 hours from where we live. M6 toll road of a Friday night? Awful!) and we finally arrived at our destination, tired and achey, but excited about the events ahead. We got our heads down at the hotel (review to follow later) and woke up bright and early the next day to travel to the stadium.

Shankly Gates Shankly Gates

Although the game against West Brom didn’t start until 3pm, we arrived at the stadium for 10.30am to start the tour. We parked in the Stanley Park car park which was really well staffed and just a couple of minutes walk away from the stadium, so we didn’t have far to go. The day started for me when we got out of the car – Liverpool is an iconic city for more than one reason, a hive of political importance, and drinking in the sights on the way to the ground amplified my excitement.  I’ve seen pictures of the rows of boarded up houses in pictures before, but seeing them in real life was both humbling and surreal.

Hillsborough MemorialHillsborough Memorial

Walking past the Hillsborough Memorial and into the Main Gates, we made our way to the museum entrance and joined our tour group. We were taken into the Players Entrance of the stadium, where the teams disembark from their coaches and go through to their changing rooms and one thing that strikes you is the size of the corridor – it’s tiny! We walked past all of the filming areas where the players stand to give their post-match interviews, and they’re literally just a couple of alcoves with the sponsorship on the walls!

On non-match days, tours are taken into the players locker room, but as it was match day that was off the cards. However, the West Brom kit man Pat Frost (who’s also England’s kit man) was kind enough to let us take a look around The Baggies locker room. It was a lot smaller than I’d imagined (although the tour guide told us that it was roughly the same size as the home team’s room) and we saw all the kit that West Brom were wearing on the day, laid out for them – including a pile of pants in the entryway!

West Brom Locker RoomWest Brom Locker Room

Next on the tour was the legendary ‘This is Anfield’ sign – something I’ve seen on the tv literally hundreds of times. Walking through the tunnel, onto the pitch side and touching the sign was a dream come true for Husband and me. Anyone who supports Liverpool or follows the premier league will know how iconic and important that sign is to Liverpool FC – Bill Shankly put it there during his time as manager as a way to remind the oppositions that they were in the best stadium in the world. As the tour guide pointed out, it’s not a ‘Welcome to Anfield’, it’s ‘THIS IS ANFIELD’, a powerful statement which gives you one final jolt of nerves before walking out onto the pitch to face The Mighty Reds.


We sat in the dugout while the guides gave us some history of the ground, before moving over and sitting in the Kop, another iconic place in the world of Liverpool FC and football in general. The tour guides were so warm and welcoming and all of the information they gave was interesting and accessible. The tour group consisted of 5 year olds and 65 year olds, as well as everything in between, and they all managed to stay engaged during the talks.

The Spion KopThe Spion Kop – named for a battle in The Boer War, in which many Scousers lost their lives

After the tour, we made our way to the museum, which is packed with memorabilia from the 116 year history of the club (a particular favourite of mine being the huge Robbie Fowler board which simply proclaimed his as ‘God’!), and got our photos taken with Stevie G and a replica of the European Cup (not the real Stevie, obvs, but almost!). There were optional headsets that we could have all used, but Husband and I opted to take it all in for ourselves, while Sausage took full advantage of the extra information available on the headset unit.

Once we’d done the tour and museum, we made our way to the Fun Zone, which is just across the road from the main gates of the stadium, and were really pleased with what we found. Entry was free and the area was filled with food stalls, picnic benches, and lots of fun set up for the whole family. We were peckish by this point, so we grabbed some burgers and sat and watched the Silky Skills man do some amazing things with a football and a keepie-uppy challenge. Sausage got her face painted with a Liver Bird and we bought some souvenirs (including two newborn LFC babygros for the baby!).

Soon, it was time to take our seats…

Tune in for Part Two of our Liverpool Experience to find out how the rest of our day went!

Thanks to the gorgeous Laura at Tired Mummy of Two who put us in touch with the LFC team.

We’re Going to Anfield!

You may or may not know (especially if you follow me on Twitter and happen to notice my tweets on match days!) that us Crammonds are fans of Liverpool FC. Husband has been a life-long fan of the club, following in his Dad’s footsteps and I started watching LFC when we became a couple. I’d always been a football fan; my Dad used to take to me to watch our local Ryman League team, which meant standing in the concrete stands of the teams’ tiny ground, freezing and eating pies, but I loved every minute of it.

Once I started to watch Liverpool FC with Husband back in 2006, I fell in love. The team had such a rich history and a real family spirit, and I now consider myself to be a proper fan. The first time I ever held Sausage, after she’d been in the NICU unit for a few days, I wore a Liverpool shirt and once she was big enough she had an LFC babygrow all of her own!

A few weeks ago, the people at Liverpool Football Club got in touch and asked if the three of us would like to travel to the ground to attend a match and take a look at their Family Fun Zone, and obviously I said a BIG FAT YES! We’re going on Friday, travelling up to a hotel and staying overnight so that we can get to the ground bright and early on match day – we’ll be watching the Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion. (Don’t worry, we have someone coming to stay with Chuck overnight!) The three of us are SO excited. Husband has been to Anfield a few times but Sausage and I have never been and it’s going to be such an amazing experience for all of us to share. We’re going to the museum and stadium tour too, which will be a first for even Husband.

Steven Gerrard

This week, as it’s half term in a lot of parts of the UK, the LFC channel is running a special ‘Kop Kids’ week, full of fun programming for kids who love the club, including interviews of our top players by the kids, as well as a special today which sees Martin Kelly and Jon Flanagan battling it out to determine who knows the most about their teammates.

To tune in and to watch for FREE, head to Sky Channel 429, Virgin Channel 554 or LFC TV Online from 21st October. Kop Kids will be shown at 10am, 3pm and 6.30pm everyday throughout half term.

There’s be a full post about of visit early next week, but in the meantime I’m just hoping I can contain all the excitement!