Ljungberg is a woman!

Hanna Ljungberg – a familiar name to you? Nothing to do with Freddie other than a Swedish passport, but Hanna is a footballer credited with 196 goals in 227 games for Umeå IK in Sweden. In case you are unsure, Ljungberg is a female footballer who retired in 2009 due to injury.

Like Ljungberg, another lady footballer called Birgit Prinz was one of the names on a long list of bizarre transfer deals in 2003 when Italian boffin, Luciano Gaucci, frankly went a bit nuts. Consider yourself lucky if you’re a Leeds fan; the topsy-turvy years under Gaucci has seen Perugia, the club in question, fall from Serie A and ultimately out of existence – hardly surprising really.

For the record, also on that shortlist was Al-Saadi al-Gaddafi, son of current Libya leader (although for how long remains to be seen) Muhammad al-Gaddafi. ‘Daffi Junior was soon banned for testing positive for a banned substance, and needless to say his football career was short-lived.

Although it appears I am slating the Gaucci’s reign, the more I read about it and consider the sexism rows that have been prominent more recently, how long will it be before we do see a lady pulling on a jersey to compete in the men’s game?

It would be interesting to see how far apart the two games are. I mean if England’s women played England’s men, would it be a contest? Of course strength is the obvious difference but in terms of ability on the ball, surely it’s just the same? You have to admit it would be funny to see Karen Carney spank one in past a stranded Joe Hart.

Neither Ljungberg nor Prinz to my knowledge made a competitive appearance for the Italians, but the deal was never far away if what you read is to be believed. Perhaps this was what intrigued Cardiff and England striker Jay Bothroyd to make the move to the Italian Riviera?

Whatever went wrong with the deal, or right depending on how you look at it, it would be a very interesting contest to see women V men on a footy pitch.

One day… could it happen? I’d swap shirts… [boom boom]

Simon Bourne


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