Whereas going out and enjoying a tipple or two with a few friends might seem like a distant memory in the current climate, when things get back to a (sort of) normal, you might just want to grab your favourite footie fan pals and boogie the night away at Murder on Zidane’s Floor.
A club night held at The Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick, it began with the hope of fundraising for Goal Diggers FC, an inclusive football group who still run the event. “We were fed up of our fruitless attempts to apply for grants which had so many strings attached. Strings which resulted in the club losing its own agency – in exchange for a very low sum on money.”
The football team itself was born out of the sheer annoyance of being told ‘football is a man’s game’, so Fleur Cousins founded the club officially in 2015. “The main aim of GDFC is to show that football doesn’t need to be gendered – football is a sport for everyone.” With Barclays stating that 34% of the UK were interested in watching women’s football back in 2019, this suggests that as a society we are now more open to the idea of, goodness gracious me, women being football fans and players.
“It feels really empowering to bring together a group of sport loving women who are stripped of the toxic masculinity present at so many men’s football matches”
Keeping it inclusive and as accessible as possible, people can play for the team no matter their ability, with membership prices staying low, and team matches being on a first sign up basis. “The importance of keeping membership prices low is central to the inclusive ethos of GDFC – we are determined to put the all back into football. However, it is very hard for a non-profit team to survive in the profit driven world of football without financial support.” This is also driven into their club night ethos, with everyone from the photographer, DJs and to those on the door, are all volunteers from within GDFC. “This creates a special atmosphere as everyone who is working there is uniting behind a common goal: to make women’s football accessible and inclusive.”
Even though the club night began as a fundraiser for the team, the anticipation for the event has become greater considerably fast. “The speed to which its popularity has grown is a testament to the importance of having more nights with a direct focus on providing safe spaces for women.” The event is a quarterly affair, which sees football lovers dance the night away with it coming to an end singing Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home) all under one roof. “It feels really empowering to bring together a group of sport loving women who are stripped of the toxic masculinity present at so many men’s football matches – but instead are supportive and non-judgmental people united behind a love of football.
“The aim of the night was to transfer the inclusive, safe space environment we had created on the pitch to the dance floor – or Zidane’s Floor. We wanted to create a space where all women felt safe to dance away in an environment which was created for them.”
Another string to their bow is to encourage those who have never DJ-ed to give it ago during the first slot of the night. “This has been integral to the creation of the special atmosphere at MOZF. It is so exciting to see the birth of so many great queer DJs as a result of this platform.” When their friends and family stand at the front by the DJ booth to watch them, it creates a unique buzz and sets the tone for the night.
So what does a typical night at MOZF feel like, I hear you ask? “You can expect to dance the night away to a fiery mix of pop bangers and camp classics brought to you by our amazing queer DJs. One MOZF attendee messaged us to say: ‘Last night was so fun. Thank you for organising it. In Shrewsbury we don’t have club nights that feel like a safe space, so I love coming to London throughout the year and dancing with a bunch of women that don’t mind what I wear or how I dance. Shrewsbury also does not play Robyn or Carly, ugh. Thank you.’ We think this is a perfect summary of the night.
“One day we hope Sophie Ellis Bextor and Zinedine Zidane will join us.” My goodness, what a night that would be.
Photography by Edi Whitehead