ENGLAND'S over-paid, over-hyped lads have been promising to bring football home for the past 60 years. Finally, the women, fed up waiting, have done it themselves.

And well done to them. What an absolute joy it was to vicariously experience the joy of others as the team celebrated its 2-1 victory over Germany at Wembley.

England’s first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup on the same big patch of grass drew a record crowd of 87,192 – to be precise – and it was the boost we needed.

Even Twitter, that bastion of negativity and sad griping, was alight with people delighted by the Lionesses and their historic win.

Let me say up front, I am no expert in these things but, to a highly untrained eye, this seemed like the way the game should be.

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These lassies appear to have no diva tendencies, no overblown egos, just a hell of a lot of talent and the passion to use it and this has captured the imagination of the four nations, bringing them together in united support for these lion-hearted women.

That image of Chloe Kelly birling her shirt around her head was glorious – a woman in a sports bra, celebrating like a man, showing a female body not being objectified or criticised but merely celebrated for what it can do. It’s the defining image of the tournament and a defining feminist image of women’s sport.

This was the most-watched Women’s Euros in history, the team’s superlative talent drawing in crowds as they climbed their way through the stages towards the final.

In fact, it had the highest in-person audience numbers of any European Championship final, both men and women’s.

What next, is the question?

Off the pitch, what’s really set this tournament apart is how mainstream it has been. People have been chatting about the women’s matches in the same way they would do with the men’s game, dissecting it in the office and down the pub, analysing the players’ skills.

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Both male and female pundits have been commentating on the team’s progress and the focus has been not on the women’s private lives or appearances but on their – exceptional – performances.

For the first time, in a very visible way, there has been little divide between men’s football and women’s football but a focus merely on football itself.

In response, over the past few days I’ve seen so many women of my age lamenting the fact they were never encouraged to play football at school, that it was very much a “boy’s sport”.

There have been tales of girls who wanted to play football being diverted to netball or of being allowed to play football but only at primary school. As soon as they hit a certain age they were urged to pick something else or give up sport entirely.

You have to wonder at all that lost talent, of all those could-have-been football stars who were never permitted to make it.

There are also tales of girls now still being discouraged from playing. Surely, surely this stops now, this roaring success from the Lionesses being a watershed moment in preventing any teacher or sports coach from denying girls access to football.

Last weekend in Dundee, Women in Journalism Scotland held an event to mark five years since the organisation was founded. As part of the line up we had a panel of sports journalists talking about the difficulties of encouraging women to become involved in sports reporting.

One of the panellists, Elizabeth McLaughlin, is the leader of the sports journalism degree programme at the University of the West of Scotland and she spoke about the difficulty in encouraging women to enrol for the degree, despite best efforts to get them involved.

You really have to see what you want to be and women are marginalised both in and around sport. Women’s sports are still not given the prominence of the men’s game, they are side-lined, undermined and undervalued. Without giving equal credence to women’s sport and to women commentating on both men and women’s sport, the situation is stuck.

England’s women have done a stellar job in luring people in and showing that the women’s game is just as gripping, just as skilled, just as football as the men’s game. Could it be too much to hope that this will be a catalyst for change?

The fans that have supported the Lionesses need to stick at it now. More than stick at it, they need to support their local teams and create a solid support for women’s football, from the school playground to pitches around Scotland.

The Lionesses have shown what we lose when we ignore women football players and fail to let them roar.