quote feed-section sponsor-promos cf show linkedin dugout

Club News

Video 1 Gallery

IWD 2018: Introducing ‘Girlfans'

JACQUI MCASSEY: “I felt female football fans were invisible and I wanted to put them into the spotlight."

JACQUI MCASSEY: “I felt female football fans were invisible and I wanted to put them into the spotlight."

“Twenty-six percent of the crowd watching live football are women. Maybe that could be fifty percent. This project has elevated female fans, bringing them into the realms of football culture.”

In 2013, a simple realisation heralded the birth of inspiration for Jacqui McAssey; the creation of fanzine ‘Girlfans.

As its name suggests, the fanzine focuses on female football fans of all ages and backgrounds at stadiums across the nation, designed to promote positive images of women at the match.

A football supporter herself, female fandom is a topic close to McAsseys heart and one she is deeply passionate about.

With some of her work residing in the V&A Art Library, the teacher of Fashion Communication at Liverpool John Moores University has earned merited acclaim.

Her idea for the fanzine arose outside her native Anfield. Curious to discover the facts and figures behind female attendance at live football games, she carried out the required research, discovering that 23% of the crowd were women. From that day on, while also keen to absorb from a fashion perspective, she decided to document her findings for the rest of the season.

Her ventures recently brought her to Manchester, where – along with Manchester Metropolitan University lecturer Zoe Hitchen and students from Liverpool John Moores – she captured City supporters outside the Etihad Stadium, awaiting kick-off.

Meeting hundreds of fans, she encounters hundreds of fascinating stories from long-term supporter Mary Kelly, who follows City across Europe despite her mother discouraging her years ago from attending games because she said it was for boys, to ‘Premier League junkieChristina from Ohio, and Louise, who flies in from Sweden with her husband and son.

There are single mothers, families of multiple generations, groups of friends and singletons and McAssey is inspired by them all.

If youre a person who goes to live games a lot, you probably wont even think about it but in 2013 on television, you dont often see women as football fans,” she explained. “I felt we were invisible and I wanted to put female fans into the spotlight.

In the four or five years since the project began, images of women are appearing more and more in vox-pops for example but before 2013, youd only see images of women in stereotypical roles. For example, I found a great photograph of a party for a cup final the men on the whole were at the match while women and children were decorating the houses and making the cakes. It was quite clear cut which role you had and now its not.

A lot has changed. Coverage on the TV has changed and other initiatives have started since then. There are now fashion and football magazines, targeting women, such as Season, plus other initiatives like Women at the Game, which I think is brilliant. Coverage of womens sport is general has also improved, which helps.

There are also a lot of influencers on social media females that are putting themselves out there, saying ‘Im into football but Im also into such and suchor ‘I have a career in this. I wonder if its giving females confidence to discuss it, put themselves out there and take a photo of themselves at the match and post it?

With thoroughly positive feedback from both women and men, even to McAssey’s surprise the fanzine has been very well received.

She added: A lot of female fans have said its long overdue and its great that somebodys championing females. Id say the fanzine has been bought equally by men and women. Thats really interesting. A lot of guys maybe from the creative industries as well as football are really curious to know what its about.

“Its designed to be in print. Its designed to be a publication that references that long tradition of fanzines, which have largely been produced by men. It could easily have been produced in other ways but its meant to last it might yellow; you might put it in your attic but its meant to denote a place in time.

The supporters themselves have always been amazing but surprised that anybody would want to photograph them. A lot often dont ask me where the photographs are going which I find very interesting. Its very trusting, especially by younger supporters who control their image quite a bit on social media.

Theyre really open to being photographed, which is incredibly positive. There is a diverse crowd within any zine. Were not targeting a particular age anyone from babies to women in their eighties have been photographed.

“Ive spoken to women who have been going to the match for seventy years. Imagine it: seventy years of knowledge about that Club! Its also been nice to ask fans for their own images theyve been sending me photographs from their albums, which have just been lying there in peoples homes, untouched. With social media now, so many images are edited but I have beautiful images of supporters abroad, at the Old Wembley and around the country. Im asking questions to unlock their stories. I love the idea of being able to explore them.

You get all kinds of diverse fans. Ive also spoken to supporters from South Korea who came as a bucket list thing, and children who are knowledgeable, living and breathing the game with their mother not necessarily their father. Thats been one of the bigger surprises. Young girls and boys are being taken to the match by female relatives, which I think is a huge change for someone of my age. When I was brought up, you would only be taken by a male relative or hear male stories.I went to games when I was in my teens and twenties. Some of my friends went with their dads. I was completely excluded and I was not allowed to play football in school, even though I was very sporty. I even told people I played for the ‘boysvolleyball teamwhen I actually played for the volleyball team!

I was also really encouraged to see women go to the game on their own. It just did not seem to be an issue. There are stadiums like the Etihad that are designed to make supporters feel comfortable and welcome, such as City Square-style areas, for example.

I met someone recently who had moved away for years and then came back and slotted right back into the matchday routine. Thats been one of the biggest issues for women in the past dealing with life changes. I take my hat off completely to women who are at the game with a child or children. As a mother, I have a newfound respect for mothers who go.

With the project intended to be a true reflection of women at the match, the images are completely unstaged and natural. its such a feel-good project and theres more to come. Im going to release a series of what I call GirlFans: the Prequel. It was the 25th anniversary of the Premier League last year and I want to reach out to supporters who have been supporting their club for 50, 60, 70 years, finding out about their experiences before the Premier League formed the differences, the attitudes and the environments.

“Its very exciting to see how the project has developed. Thank you to all of the supporters for being so generous, warm and welcoming. Thank you also to Kevin and Shirley Hughes who loaned Helen Turner’s famous bell for the launch exhibition at the Whitworth Art Gallery, and Julie Dolan and Cristina Emilia for their contribution of fan-art.

Everything is moving in a really positive way. The number of females going to games is creeping up. In 2015/16, the figure was 26%. Im always curious when that information comes out to find out.

If it creeps up steadily thats all good, and if the project helps encourage more women and girls to go then even better.”

You can follow Jacqui on Twitter @jacquimcassey, and 'girlfanszine' on Instagram and Facebook.

Club News

SkillCity winners visit City Football Academy

TEAM PHOTO: Skill City winners with the first team before kick-off at the Newcastle game.

Eight youngsters from the United States recently enjoyed a once in a lifetime trip to Manchester City after winning the SkillCity competition.

The group of young footballers, aged 6-14, travelled across the Atlantic for a memorable visit to the City Football Academy after being crowned national champions of the Club’s skills challenge.

Picture Special

Gallery: Supporters Club roadshow

Club News

City and Barclays begin US partnership

NEW PARTNER: Barclays.

Manchester City have announced a new regional partnership with Barclays, who become the Club’s Official Banking and Credit Card Tour Partner.

The Barclays logo will feature on the back of the team’s playing shirt when we return to the United States for our pre-season tour this summer.