“I want us to show what we’re made of. We’re not an underdog. We can shine and develop Lewes, and what it stands for. And of course, I want to win the league!”
Words well said from new Lewes FC striker Emily Kraft, who has joined the Rooks this summer from FFC Frankfurt with two eyes firmly on securing promotion this season.
Kraft is one of six players to have signed up to the Rooks this summer as part of new boss Scott Booth’s efforts to revamp the squad, and have it ready for another high-octane Women’s Championship.
Booth himself is a new face in the Dripping Pan dug-out after we said goodbye to interim boss Craig Gill, who has now headed to coach in America.
The manager arrives in East Sussex with plenty of experience in energising teams in search of trophies. The former Aberdeen striker led Glasgow City to six straight titles during his first big job in management, and moved to WSL side Birmingham City last year.
Now at the Pan, Booth is looking to build on the foundations Gill left.
“The players have been fantastic this summer and I couldn’t have asked for more,” Booth says. “They’ve been completely professional, desperate to develop and improve, and have gelled really well as a new squad.
“We kept a core of players from the previous squad and introduced new players – and the way everyone has led the situation with getting to know each other has been phenomenal. It’s been a pleasure to be involved in this development.
“We’re always ambitious and we want to succeed. We want to make a success of this squad and develop the players as best we can. There are various levels of success but ultimately we just want to make sure the players are given the platform to succeed. That’s the big thing for us.”
Booth and Kraft aren’t the only new faces at the Dripping Pan. Goalkeeper Sophie Whitehouse has come in from Bristol City, Amber-Keegan Stobbs from Watford, and Nat Johnson from Coventry United.
The Rooks have also managed to secure the services of highly-rated Chelsea teenager Emma Thompson on loan for the season. Emma chose to come to Lewes despite interest from a wealth of other clubs, in the UK and abroad.
And Libby Copus-Brown became the most recent arrival at the Pan when swapping Australia for the shores of East Sussex.
So, plenty of new faces to get accustomed to when watching the players in action this season. And there are new figures on Booth’s bench too. Daniel Matraszek, Lydia Woodland, Ivi Casagrande join Adam Chilcott, Christos Andreu and Stefano Montanari in Booth’s backroom staff, while the club is delighted to announce this week that Nat Haigh is our new assistant manager.
Discussing his backroom team, Booth adds: “Our staff have been incredible. A lot of us are new here but everyone’s worked really well together, worked selflessly for the players, and they understand and see that.
“It’s really helping us forge our single ambition which, as a group, is to do the best job we can. If we do that then we’ll generate success. We’re all pulling in the same direction.”
And the new arrivals just keep on coming in the form of a new pitch and additional stadium facilities at the Pan!
Many of you may have walked past the ground over the summer and seen building work going on. Thanks to a grant, the club has been able to relay the old turf with a fresh, hybrid pitch that provides a much smoother, more consistent surface.
We’ve already seen the Lewes men’s team take advantage of the improved pitch to beat Carshalton 2-0 on Tuesday night. And the new, improved surface means we can feature more games at the Pan throughout the year, particularly in the winter.
In the stands, you might notice work is going on in the Ham Lane end of the ground, where our new partners Only With Love are preparing a service area for food and drink over the course of the season!
We’re delighted to have Only With Love on board for the campaign, and their incredible range of beers – plus local favourites and other beverages – can be enjoyed during games throughout the season.
What with the new pitch, there is now greater access to the entirety of the Dripping Pan thanks to a new concerted section that runs alongside the Mountfield Road side of the pitch.
Lewes kick off the 2022/23 Women’s Championship away to Birmingham City on Sunday 21 August. Our first home game is then a week later, when Southampton rock up at the Dripping Pan for a 12:30pm Sunday kick off.
And then the fixtures come thick and fast. Lewes play 10 games before the winter break, and restart the new year away at Southampton in mid January. Mercifully for our grounds staff, we have just one Women’s home game at the Pan until March, and the season rounds off with a home clash against Durham on 30 April.
What’s more, we’re also competing in the Conti Cup once again this season. Our group stage opponents are Bristol City, Charlton and Crystal Palace – all from the Women’s Championship.
Individual match tickets for all Lewes home games start at £12 for adults and £8 for concessions (65+, students, people with disabilities), when bought online in advance. And our beach huts are back once again, and can be booked out for six people for just £110!
Meanwhile, you can still buy a Lewes FC season ticket and make big savings across the season. Our Super Season Ticket (Men and Women) costs just £260 and gets you access to every home game of both the Women’s Championship and the Isthmian Premier League.
Adult Women’s Season Tickets start at £105, while Concessions Women’s Season Tickets are just £70. Kids, as you know, go free!
Lastly, we would like to welcome any new fans we have made over the past few months. Beating Liverpool 2-1 on the final day of last season seems like a lifetime ago. Since then the stadium has had a revamp, the squad has changed, and we’ve got a new manager. What’s more, women’s football is firmly in the spotlight thanks to the incredible success of the Lionesses during Euro 2022.
We know for many Lewes supporters being able to watch England play at Brighton and Wembley was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
But here at Lewes supporting women’s football with all we’ve got is nothing new. Equal pay, equal opportunities and equal respect is still a long way off for women footballers. But we will not stop striving for equality!
So, if you’re new to the club and are looking forward to supporting the Rooks for the first time, then welcome! You’ll find the Pan is a wonderfully communal place, safe for kids and comfortable for families – a positive, progressive home. Of course, if you’ve been before then you already know this!
And manager Booth is planning to deliver entertaining football at the Pan all season long.
“I hope the fans see players enjoying themselves, working hard and giving absolutely everything,” he says. “But also enjoying the style of football that we want to play.
“We’ve got some really good football players at this club, who want to play good football, want to keep the ball on the ground and ask questions of the opposition – no matter who they are. We just need to make sure that as a squad we continue over the course of the season to develop together.
“Remember we’re brand new as a squad and there’s a lot of work to be done, but so far, so good. The players have been attentive to everything. They’ve been sponges for information and I couldn’t have asked for any more.”