TV View: Women really making the grade as McCabe gets whoOOOooooOOOoosh treatment

Sky Sports News opts for BREAKING NEWS alert on Chelsea bid for Irish star as nation unites to curse Fabinho for gruesome ‘tackle’ on hot prospect Ferguson

It’s always hard to gauge the progress of women’s football. Do you go by the quality of the game, the size of the crowds, the telly viewing figures, the meatiness of the salaries, or what?

Probably a combination of all those things, really, but maybe the ultimate sign that the game is kicking on is when it gets a – whoOOOooooOOOoosh – BREAKING NEWS alert on Sky Sports News.

“CHELSEA MAKE “SUBSTANTIAL” BID FOR KATE McCABE.” Or words to that effect. Because, to be honest, the vision blurred a bit at that moment, largely due to the absolute cheek of Chelsea.

Now, look, granted, “substantial” in this case means a quarter of Mykhailo Mudryk’s left earlobe, but you have to start somewhere, the current world record transfer fee for a lady person is the £400,000 Barcelona paid Manchester City for Keira Walsh last September.


The lads reached that mark 55 years ago when Juventus signed Pietro Anastasi from Varese (thank you interweb), so there’s ground to be made up, but one thing Anastasi didn’t get was a Sky Sports News whoOOOooooOOOoosh.

What this told us was that McCabe is a Grade A superstar and, while devotees of the Irish international women’s team might have long since known this, it’s probably time for everyone else to catch up.

She belongs in the same company as Katie Taylor, Rachael Blackmore and the like. Why is she not on our tellies urging us to switch our mortgages, buy electric cars, eat granola and that class of thing? Because if Katie McCabe ordered this couch to eat granola, we’d be overdosing on the stuff.

But Sky, for all the slagging we give them, are doing a mighty fine service to the women’s game. Take their Championship Show. Who should pop up on it last week only Peamount United ‘old’ girl Eleanor Ryan-Doyle, currently on loan at Coventry from Birmingham.

It was a highly lovely chat with an evidently highly lovely person, now trying to get herself some first team football after spending too long on Birmingham’s bench. Although she came over over as less lovely when she struck an ageist note.

“I’m not getting any younger, I’m 24,” she said.


The only more offensive note struck on the telly over the weekend was when John McEnroe turned up on Eurosport to salute Novak Djokovic for winning a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam when he triumphed at the Australian Open.

“I thought seven was pretty good, but it sucks,” he said to Mats Wilander (seven Grand Slams) and Tim Henman (zero Grand Slams).

Tim stared mournfully at his feet in Eurosport’s London-based Cube, while New York-based bleary-eyed John chuckled, signing off, a bit curiously, with “GOD BLESS AMERICA”, when he should probably have been doffing his cap to Serbia whose number one son had just emerged victorious in Australia. It was, safe to say, a global affair.

But at times, to be honest, it was a little ugly, the crowd a touch on the rowdy side, almost like Djokovic had some history with Australia, although it paled next to the violence we witnessed at the Dubai Desert Classic when Patrick Reed flicked a tee at Rory McIlroy. That no paper used a “TEE-SHOCK” headline will never not be disappointing.

Nothing, though, was more shocking than Fabinho’s ‘tackle’ on our Evan Ferguson. The magic of the cup? Altogether now: my arse.

The lad is only 18, but already we’ve invested our entire international future – at least the next 15 years, anyway – in the fella, the hysteria over his mightily promising start to his Brighton career leaving you wanting to place the hype merchants in to one of those dog washing facilities at your nearest petrol station just to cool them down.

How good is he? Sort of a cross between Cruyff, Haaland, Mario Kempes and Tony Cascarino. Perfect, like.

And then Fabinho downed him with a challenge that deserved, oh, at least five years in Mountjoy, but only earned him a yellow card, at which point all of Ireland said to the ref ‘bad cess to you’, while recalling the finest curse this land had ever produced: ‘May you marry a wench that blows wind like a stone from a sling’.