University of Bath researcher Dr Penny Miles is available for media interviews and comment this week, in advance of Wales’ next match in the Euros against Denmark taking place in Amsterdam on Saturday.
At the last European Championships in France in 2016, Penny followed the Welsh national team for a project telling the stories of travelling away fans. Every day of this year’s tournament she sharing one of those stories given to her by fans via this Twitter thread.
A key focus of Penny’s research relates to gender and politics and as part of this work she’s been keen to explore the stories of female travelling away fans and their experiences of following the national side.
She explains: "In 2016, I ventured to Wales’ first major footballing championships in my lifetime. Since then, I have been gathering oral fan histories of Euro 2016. My research explores both that historic moment for the Welsh team, and also the experiences in particular of the female fans who embarked on that journey.
“The project came about during Euro 2016 when my own participation as a female fan was questioned both in relation to my footballing knowledge and my role as a mother, having left my two children at home to support Wales in their match versus Russia in Toulouse.
“For the first time as a football fan, I felt outnumbered as a female among the male majority. The study therefore sought to explore other female fan experiences in the national footballing context, but also to celebrate those female fans who had participated in this historic Welsh footballing event, but who had been less visible in that participation.
"As women in football start to move from the margins to the mainstream, this has formed part of a broader project I have been researching about gender relations in Welsh football from its media coverage, to its players and within the Football Association of Wales.”
Through this work Penny is also exploring how former female players are finding newfound fame in TV and radio punditry, countering much of their previous invisibility as Welsh female football players.