Twelfth Man Tonight at Arc
By Robert Nichols
Wednesday 03 Apr 2019 16:42:00
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No, not that Twelfth Man but this... a show starting at 7pm tonight at ARC, Stockton and it is Pay What You Decide.

According to statistics, 25% of all fans who attend men’s football matches are women. Andrea Scrimshaw goes to see Newcastle play nearly every week. There are 52,000 fans that go with her. This should mean a quarter of them are women. As far as Andrea can see, this is definitely not the case.

Part sketch comedy, part Andrea sharing her personal matchday experiences, The Twelfth Man is a funny and thought provoking look at what it means to be a female football fan.

I was intrigued so asked Andrea a few questions.

Q: How long have you been going to matches? How did you start going, was it with mates, or family. And so was it in your blood?

A: I first went to a football match with my uncle when I was about 5, but football was always a big thing in our house. I lived very close to St James' Park so we'd always see people going to the match, and me and my family would often end up in the pub to watch it. I suppose it is in my blood.

Q: You quote 25% of fans at men's football are supposed to be women. In your own experience is this true?

A. In my experience, I would say there are a lot less women than 25% of fans. That's just based on Newcastle though, so I maybe it's better at other clubs? I'd really like to be proven wrong.

Q: Do you think young women are less likely to start going to football in groups, like lads? Is there a different culture here?

A. I think that groups of lads going to the match is an image associated with football, and isn't going to change. I think it's seen as more normal for lads to do this than lasses right now, but I don't see why women can't enjoy a day out at the match with the girls... if they're into football, of course!

Q: Is it an environment that is accepting or not to girls and women?

A. I sometimes feel like there's this kind of barrier up between male football fans and myself but I think it is an inviting environment for a woman - once she's proven she's really a football fan.

Q: Do you detect any changes with regard to women and girls going to games?

A. I think the Kick It Out campaign has really helped with diversity of football fans, and I hope this can continue and I think within the ground has become a lot more inviting to women. But I still wouldn't watch a match in a bar full of men and I know many women who feel the same way.

Q: As a woman watching men's football do you need your sense of humour?

A. I think anyone watching football needs a sense of humour, but as a woman definitely. There are a million chants that I could easily be offended at... something to do with celery comes to mind... and sometimes they do go too far, but I think most of the times things can be laughed off.

Q: I was also wondering whether being a Newcastle fan you need a sense of humour with all that has gone on off the field and around your club?

A. As a Newcastle fan... if we don't laugh at ourselves, then it'll just be everyone else laughing at us. That's just a bit sad really. So yeah, I think we do need a sense of humour to get through.

Q: Could you give us a little flavour of your show, please?

A. Well, there's free pie for a start, that's already a win. I'd say it's a bit of a mix between sketch comedy and storytelling. I encourage audience to get involved... it's not just a sit in the dark and watch quietly kind of play. I want you to bring the same with you that you bring to the stadium. Oh, and I apologise in advance for the Teesside accent... any pointers after the show are very welcome.

So, come along tonight at ARC, Stockton for Twelfth Man, wear your scarf, wear your shirt. Unless you have burned both after last night and it seems there is a pie on the menu. And it is Pay What You Decide – good job it wasn't Pay What You Decide last night at the Riverside.

http://arconline.co.uk/whats-on/theatre-dance/the-twelfth-man



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