Liverpool Football Club would really like you to know that the women’s team is joining the men for their preseason tour of the United States. Across the club’s website and primary social media accounts, Liverpool are making a point of showing LFC Women training in the States and preparing for a couple of friendlies.
Day two in the states.— Liverpool FC Women (@LiverpoolFCW) July 17, 2019
Ready for tomorrow's first US #LFCPreSeason game.
Yesterday, on the club’s Instagram story feed, there was some video content showing the women preparing for their friendly against Cleveland Ambassadors today in South Bend, Indiana, one day ahead of the men’s preseason clash with Borussia Dortmund at Notre Dame Stadium.
At the end of a string of short videos, the presenter reminds fans of both friendlies this week and to swipe up to get their tickets.
Except, if you did swipe up, you’d only be offered tickets for the Men’s game.
In fact, there’s no information on how to attend either of the women’s team’s friendlies— today in South Bend or their clash against New York Athletic in Boston. (There is no friendly scheduled for the club’s third stop on the tour; the women are scheduled to be in the stands at Yankee Stadium dutifully watching the men take on Sporting Lisbon.) Per the official club announcement, attendance for both games will only be open to “specially-invited guests.”
Indeed, the only way you would really know what the women’s team are up to on their tour of the US is if you followed them on social media.
On the surface, this seems a bit self-defeating. Why would you go through all the trouble and expense of flying the women’s team to the US for Instagram content? Why not let fans come see the team since they’re already here?
But for anyone who follows Liverpool Women, none of this is particularly surprising.
Just ask Jordan Keeble, a regular contributor with our friends at The Liverpool Offside who covers the women’s team extensively. Keeble, like a lot of both Liverpool supporters and fans of the women’s game in England, was stoked to hear that LFCW were coming to the US. But those initial feelings of excitement quickly subsided.
“The more I thought about it,” Keeble said, “the more it felt simply like a promotional stunt, a pretty veiled attempt at looking like they support the team. By not allowing fans to actually watch the games feels cheap - what’s the point of even bringing them if you’re not going to let fans watch?
“It just feels very slapdash, not very well thought through, and almost an insult to those of us who do support the Women’s team and want to see them play.”
I asked her, essentially, if Hanlon’s Razor applied here. Is this malice or stupidity?
“Both?” Keeble said. “Let’s go with both.”
Keeble pointed out the short lead time (the club announced the Women’s team’s involvement with the tour three weeks in advance), combined with the invite-only attendance policy and the choice of venues, makes the whole thing feel “very amateur.”
With all that in mind, I asked Keeble if the tour could be salvaged as far as the women’s team were concerned— and, more broadly, what success would even look like.
“I think that the club, and [Liverpool CEO] Peter Moore, are going to deem it a success simply because they like patting themselves on the back for doing the bare minimum. As far as I’m concerned, if the team feel like they got something out of it, then great. As a fan of the women’s team, and someone who wants them to succeed, it’s disrespectful.
“If they want to claim that not enough people care about the women’s game for them to invest in it, this is the perfect chance to nurture the fans and show them that you want their support. Right now, it doesn’t feel like that’s the case.”
Liverpool Women are wrapping up their game with Cleveland Ambassadors at press time and will travel to Boston with the Men’s team. From there, they’ll prepare for their second and final friendly of the tour. Don’t feel too disappointed if you’re not in the area— there will be plenty of #content on the Gram.