Former Poet Laureate champions women’s football in a rallying ‘Team Talk’ for the nation
- The first-ever female Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, releases poem to honour female football trailblazers and inspire a new generation
- It marks the launch of the second year of Three’s ‘WeSeeYou’ Network, a national platform with Chelsea FC that aims to recognise, reward and connect women in sport
- Nominations for ‘WeSeeYou Network’ are open now until 11th February 2024
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Video here: #WeSeeYou Network Season 2 | Three UK – YouTube
Dame Carol Ann Duffy DBE FRSL, famed for being the first-ever female Poet Laureate, has commemorated women’s football in a rallying ‘Team Talk’-inspired poem.
The poem, which marks her first in five years, has been released to launch Three’s ‘WeSeeYou Network’ for the second year – a platform in partnership with Chelsea FC which aims to celebrate and connect women in sport.
Carol Ann Duffy commented: “The poem is an ode to every woman from the pitch to the boardroom, the communities and grassroots who are helping to level the playing field.”
The Glaswegian poet, who spent a decade (2009 – 2019) as the UK’s Poet Laureate, was renowned for capturing the passion of the nation at pivotal historical moments.
Inspired by the more recent events in women’s football, Carol Ann’s latest work shines a light on female football trailblazers – past and present, as well as inspiring a new generation.
The 14-line sonnet, titled, ‘We See You’, represents a ‘Team Talk’ to the nation and pays homage specifically to Lily Parr, Mary Phillip, Katie Chapman, Carly Telford, Millie Bright, Pat Dunn, Emma Hayes, Eni Aluko and Karen Carney.
We See You – by Carol Ann Duffy
That rain-heavy, leather ball your left foot smashed a century ago
has reached us here, and so we see you, Lily Parr,
in hindsight’s extra time; linked to our female, family chain
of passing forwards… to Mary Phillip, first black Captain
of the Pride, Katie Chapman, Carly Telford, Millie Bright.
We see you too, Pat Dunn- you blew your whistle
and the game kicked off for women referees. Red card for misogyny,
Free kick for progress. We’re all onside. Team-sheets are the dreams
of managers- shout out the golden days of Emma Hayes – which make us visible
to thirty, forty, fifty thousand fans… so good, so good, so good…
from grassroots team to League to Euros to the World. Now.
Women’s voices- Eni Aluko, Karen Carney – tell the poetry of play
We’ll find you- 10 years old, girl with ball, incredible to be you.
So here’s our Team Talk: We’re right behind you. And we see you.
The poem has been unveiled today and brought to life through a wonderfully moving video featuring female football role models Fran Kirby, Maren Mjelde, Sophie Ingle, Eni Aluko as well as nominees and mentors from the first season of the ‘WeSeeYou Network’. The video can be viewed on Three’s social media channels – @ThreeUK – from today.
Carol Ann Duffy went on to say: “I grew up in a footballing family; my father was an amateur manager and my brothers played with the local teams. It was ever present in my life growing up. The recent success of the women’s national team has helped bring mainstream interest to the women’s game, however there is a rich history of triumphant trailblazers to be explored. That’s why I wanted to get behind this campaign.”
Launched last year in partnership with Chelsea FC, the ‘WeSeeYou Network’ is a platform that aims to recognise, celebrate and connect unstoppable women in the sport. This year, Three is rallying the nation to recognise and nominate influential women to be a part of the 2024 community, across three categories – Passionate Players, Community Champions and Media Masterminds. Nominees will have the chance to connect and share insights and support with a wider network of experts, as well as the chance to take part in some extraordinary opportunities including mentoring programmes, networking events and specialist training.
Last year’s ‘WeSeeYou Network’ received over 800 nominations before the finalists were chosen – Annabelle Gray (Passionate Player), Varsha Bailey-Gunputh (Committed Coach), and Febimara Sey (Business of Sport) – and rewarded with one-on-one mentorships with Chelsea Women’s players, Eni Aluko as well as Chelsea Women’s coach, Emma Hayes.
Aislinn O’Connor, Director of Marketing at Three UK, said: “At Three, we feel passionate about shining a light on amazing talent and providing women with opportunities to help encourage and aid them in reaching their full potential. This year we are proud to build on the connections we made last year – creating a bigger ‘WeSeeYou Network’ community and platform which aims to promote accessibility and growth across all areas of women’s sport.”
Zarah Al-Kudcy, Chelsea FC Women’s Commercial Director, commented: “It’s great to see Three launch its second year of the ‘WeSeeYou’ initiative for fans and players to build their own network of recognition. It is a fantastic platform that supports and recognises the amazing things that women are doing in their sporting communities. We’re thrilled to be involved in such a progressive campaign and look forward to reading some of the inspiring stories that women have to share. As someone who studied Dame Carol Ann-Duffy, I’m also thrilled that Three have delivered the ultimate team-talk with her.”
To get involved in the ‘WeSeeYou Network’, be inspired by the community and nominate a future female trailblazer, visit the hub – www.weseeyounetwork.co.uk