It’s been a busy ten days for our women’s team: management moves, transfer windows, tactical changes, a massive game at home to London Bees; plus all the other business-as-usual stuff as we gear up to another intake of junior players in the girls’ academy and welcome an ex-England legend into our boardroom team.
Time for a recap…
(The first of what we hope will be a monthly series – sharing all the ups and downs and ins and outs of the women’s ‘Bootroom’ at the Pan.)
Bye Bye Fran, Hello Simon Parker
Early last week we accepted the resignation of 1st team manager Fran Alonso, as he moved north of the border to join Celtic Women. Although this was a tough one to process – Fran and his team have done so much to professionalise our club over the past twelve months, at every playing level – on reflection, the move made sense. It’s an excellent opportunity for Fran and a perfect time for a change.
Assistant boss Simon Parker steps up, chomping at the bit to build upon his fantastic managerial resume – an outstanding 88% win rate at Southampton Women FC – and to turn our losing streak around.
On Sunday he and the guys delivered. Our 0-0 draw at home to London Bees was one of our best performances of the season – full of attacking verve, a stack of goal scoring chances and relative peace and calm for our backline.
You can read the match report and get Simon’s reaction via our post earlier this week.
Next up we have Billericay Town in the FA Cup – this Sunday, 1pm at the Dripping Pan. Let’s be having you…
Transfer Window… Ins and Outs (and Injury Knocks)
* We’re thrilled to announce that goalkeeper Sophie Harris has joined on loan from Brighton until the end of the season. Sophie is an ex-England youth international and graduate of Arsenal’s academy, where she played first team football before moving on to first London Bees and then Brighton in 2018, where she made her WSL debut in February 2019.
* In December, former England U23 international Paula Howells joined us as a free agent – after a spell with London Bees and having recovered from a career-threatening injury sustained in September 2018. Paula made her debut as a late substitute against her old team on Sunday and we’re all super excited to see her wand-like left foot in action.
* Ellie Leek also joined us from Charlton earlier this month and, like Paula, made her debut as a sub on Sunday. Ellie is another bright attacking prospect, with two great feet, pace and poise and the ability to take players on. She’s sure to be lighting up our forward line very soon.
* This week we said goodbye to Amy Taylor, who has moved on to Crystal Palace. Amy joined us in 2017 and has been a leading proponent of defensive ‘dark arts’ ever since – never shy of a tackle and with a snarl and a bark to match, we’ll miss her.
Finally, on the injury front, ‘keeper Faye Baker will be ready for action again in the coming weeks following a nasty knock at Spurs in December; and Charley Boswell’s rehab is progressing well – she hopes to be back in action in February/March.
Some of you may be wondering what we mean by ‘Pathway.’ In simple terms, it refers to the links between our junior football teams, and the ‘path’ that they provide up into the first team.
As mentioned above, there’s been a lot of work happening behind the scenes over the past couple of seasons to make our pathway more professional and joined up. Not only are our teams excelling, but we’re also seeing some fantastic talent pushing its way into our highest ranks, including…
…and Tiggy Webb
(Take a bow please!!!)
We’re delighted to say that Tiggy has made the step up from our Girls’ Academy – solid proof that the pathway is paying off. We have another round of academy trials taking place on March 7th – so if you or your kids are interested in furthering education, playing skills and top-flight playing opportunities then check out the details here.
Meanwhile, earlier this month our U16’s went top of their league following a closely fought 1-0 win against local rivals Worthing, and our U14’s also topped the table following a convincing 6-2 win against Hollingbury Hawkes. Our U18’s are currently thriving, despite the majority of players being drawn from the U16 age bracket and playing adult football for the first time – we always knew they were good, but now we know they’re the real deal. And our DS (Development Squad) has been kicking on with an impressive win streak in 2019. The future is looking very bright – and we’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the coaches and backroom teams who push our juniors forwards each week.
Claire Rafferty Joins the Board…
After talking to a packed room of our junior players last week, ex-England international legend Claire Rafferty joined her first board meeting at the Pan. This was a big moment for the club – as the BBC said in a special news report, our board is now one-third female, and well on its way to being more diverse, balanced and (we hope) better at its job.
We’re incredibly proud that we’re making this progress – we’re ahead of the curve in the UK. Claire, meantime, is already rolling her sleeves up and pitching in with help for the club’s ground development and our pathway teamwork. It’s so good to have her on our side.
Gotta Catch ‘Em All
If you’re unable to get along to any of our women’s 1st XI matches, then you can always catch them via our live stream service at LewesFC.com/live
Meantime, you’ll find more match highlights, team news and previews over on our YouTube channel. And all the latest women’s team news (plus other fun and games from behind the scenes) can be found on Twitter and Instagram… Be sure also to tune in to James Boyes’ matchday photography Flickr stream. (Thank you, James – your pictures are always amazing!)
That’s it for now – more from the Bootroom next month.