Photographs by Liz Johnstone
Yesterday we proved to ourselves that all of our hard work to date is proving that we are on the right road and improving as a club.
Much has been said about the fact that we are a Tier 4 club and the only amateur club left in the Vitality FA Cup, but we don’t see it that way.
The standard of Tier 3 and 4 Clubs has improved immensely since the WSL came about and and with that the standard of football. Add to that the increase of FA Cup winnings and it only goes to prove how clubs can improve even more with some financial aid.
We see ourselves as a club rebuilding with targets to hit this season, one of which was to get to the last 16 of the FA Cup ( box ticked). Someone said to us last year that we are a club of the past, and in some ways we are! In the past we have been this far in this competition on 7 occasions, and have gone past the last 16 once before when we hosted Everton at home beating them 2-1 in the final minute before going out to Arsenal in the quarter finals.
And we were once one of the top 12 teams in the UK before the introduction of the WSL1 and Championship when we were relegated without kicking a ball because we are a Welsh Club playing in the English system.
But that guy’s statement couldn’t have motivated us more than if he had given us a million pounds!
We promised him that this season we would bring a big Women’s Club to Wales. Well – we may be drawn away in tonight’s draw, but it will be a big club whoever we play next (another box ticked).
We have used our FA cup winnings sensibly. We have ensured that we can pay our way for this season, tucked some away for a good pre season and next season, and treated our club people to a Christmas treat. Last weekend our squad travelled to Burnley on the same terms as any of the professional teams would travel, with our preparation being first class. The FA cup money means we could afford to do that. That’s the difference – to big clubs that comes as second nature. But to our squad, I wonder if perhaps it meant more because everyone of them knew the work that has gone into our club both on and off the pitch to give them every opportunity.
As for being professional, yes I can agree that everyone of us at our club from Chair right through to junior player is a volunteer. But in terms of Professionalism with a small ‘p’ we are, and always have been, one of the best.
So, that tag of ‘team of the past’? Forget it! We are not a team, we are a Club and one rebuilding – the rest of this season starts today, and yesterday as a club we took a big step forward.
We promised our squad winter jackets if they won yesterday. But we did that as a club and our squad includes our coaching and medical staff, and our team of volunteers. They too will have a jacket, as without each other both on and off the pitch we would struggle. We are all in this together and proud to wear the same badge. That’s us as a club, we do well together, and sometimes we are there for each other if we struggle.
I think that’s worth every penny of the £2500 of our winnings that we spend on our jackets – we all earned that and can wear them with pride. It’s more than a jacket, it’s a symbol of our promise, our success, our work ethic and our pride in who we are.
Finally I just want to thank all of our travelling supporters yesterday, all of whom spent hard earned cash to travel up and in some cases stay overnight. Just you being there made a big difference to us. And also for all of the messages of support and congratulations over the weekend from everyone including many Clubs in our league. Many thanks, we really do appreciate it.
We are Wales best kept secret in the Women’s game of Football, but perhaps not for long!
Michele Adams MBE
(A very proud) Club Chair.