Words by Kevin Palmer, who you can follow on Twitter @RealKevinPalmer
The world came to a grinding halt back in March and those involved in the football industry had to quickly adjust to a life without the sport that is such a prominent part of their lives.
For BT Sport and Football Ramble podcast presenters Jules Breach, the last few months were laced with so many highs and lows, as she told Female First in an exclusive interview.
How did you deal with the period of lockdown?
It was tough at the start because I was pretty sick. I think I had Covid-19 as I had all the symptoms and it was rough for a while. I couldn't get out of bed for a while and it was horrible. The unknown of not knowing how bad it will get is the worry when you are lying in bed. With other illnesses, you can take something and get better, but this is such a new virus and we don't know how to treat it. There is that fear that you will become one the statistics, but thankfully I am feeling better now.
How did you deal with life without football?
Of course, the safety and health of everyone was of paramount importance, but we all missed football and sport so much. It was a weird time, but there was still so much to talk about in our sport from a business perspective, how it will affect the players and it made sure that the Football Ramble podcast was more important than ever before. People were craving football news and debate, so hopefully we helped a few people to get that when there was no live sport on TV.
What was your view on football without the fans?
It was strange. I remember when this started and they said we might have to play some Champions League games behind closed doors and it felt so wrong. Football is all about fans and you couldn't imagine games without fans, but we also could all see how serious Covid-19 was and we needed to get the season finished. That meant playing without fans and it was a great spectacle on TV, but until the fans are back, football won't be back for real.
Where does this crisis leave women's football?
The women's game almost feels like it has been forgotten when we are talking about football coming back and that's a shame. Since the women's World Cup last year, it has been amazing to see how much the women's game has grown, but this feels like it has put a bit of a dent in it and the momentum has been lost. Hopefully, when the women's matches return, the interest that was really building will still be there. We have seen some incredible crowds in the last couple of years, but I am convinced that can return when we get the women's game back.
Do you feel the barriers are being broken down for women working in the football media?
Over the last 10 years that I have been working in the media, I have seen a positive change and hopefully that will continue. There are more opportunities for women now than there was 10 years ago and people can now see that it needs to be a more level playing field. Just because we are women and have not played the game at the highest level, it doesn't mean we cannot be passionate and knowledgeable about football and I think people can see that now. We are there to ask the right questions and get good responses from people who have played the game. There are so many amazing role models for young women who want to work in sport and that is great for the next generation coming through.
Is there still room for more doors to open when it comes to women and football?
Of course, but ask if anyone woman working in the game and they do not want to be given a job just because they are female. We want to be there because we are just as good or better than a man. As long as we are asking good questions, getting a good debate going and making sure you don't feel you are the star of the show as a presenter, then you are on the right track. The presenter is not there to give opinions. We are there to get the best out of the pundits and as I've never played the game at that level, I could never be a pundit.
Has the pandemic changed the way you've recorded the Football Ramble podcast?
We started doing all the programmes from home before the official UK government lockdown came in. It has changed the way it feels to make the podcast, but we have an amazing technical team behind the scenes to make it sound as if we are in a studio together, but you do get the odd moment of silence because you cannot see the reaction of the people you are working with and that can be tricky at times.
The Football Ramble podcast is available here - https://stakhanov.studio/shows/the-football-ramble/
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