We’ve got to keep mo­men­tum go­ing

The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY -

IT FEELS as if ev­ery­thing has come to­gether for women’s football – the World Cup, the FA Cup fi­nal at Wem­b­ley and an ex­cit­ing Su­per League sea­son. The game is on the crest of a wave.

Be­cause I was out in Canada com­men­tat­ing, I was the same as a lot of the Eng­land play­ers; in a bub­ble and not re­ally sure what the re­ac­tion was like back home.We were just re­ally proud of the play­ers, how they were play­ing and pro­gress­ing in the tour­na­ment.

Of course, los­ing to Ja­pan in the semi-fi­nal was a mas­sive dis­ap­point­ment but then they bounced back and won the third/fourth play-off against Ger­many.

The na­tion took the girls to heart and re­ally backed them. I re­alised from so­cial media and from speak­ing to peo­ple back home how much sup­port they were get­ting.

I was even get­ting mes­sages from lit­tle girls say­ing how their mum and dad had let them stay up to watch it and that they want to play for Eng­land when they grow up. You wanted the play­ers to in­spire a na­tion, that’s the mes­sage the man­ager Mark Samp­son put across, and they did just that.


It was at­ti­tude chang­ing. I’ve got a cou­ple of lad mates who are re­ally into their football and go to watch Liver­pool or Ever­ton ev­ery week. They were hav­ing World Cup par­ties – I’ve never known that be­fore, even when I was play­ing in World Cups!

Things are grad­u­ally chang­ing. A lot of it is due to the team be­ing suc­cess­ful, which al­ways helps, and the fact they gave their ab­so­lute all.

A lot of peo­ple have got tired of div­ing and cheat­ing, and it was re­fresh­ing not to see that in the women’s game.The girls were lov­ing their football and proud to play for their coun­try.

It’s only since they’ve come back that they’ve re­alised how things have changed.

I spoke to Laura Bas­sett and when she got back home, her lo­cal li­brary had a book for peo­ple to put mes­sages of sup­port in af­ter the own goal against Ja­pan. Her next door neigh­bour came round to see if she was ok.

It just shows how ev­ery­body watched and felt dread­ful for what she was go­ing through. Nine times out of ten, that ball wouldn’t have gone in.

It meant so much to her but, the type of per­son she is, she was more con­cerned about how ev­ery­body else would feel rather than her­self.

For me, Bass was one of the best play­ers through­out the tourna

ment. She was con­sis­tently very good and it was so sad the way it hap­pened. She says, ‘I wish peo­ple didn’t know Laura Bas­sett’. But, along with her team-mates, she’s inspired a lot of girls to play football and come to the games. That’s what it’s about. We need to keep the mo­men­tum go­ing now. Eng­land are in their Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fiers soon and hope­fully peo­ple will keep watch­ing.

I said it was go­ing to change af­ter the Olympics, but it dropped away. I’m hop­ing it con­tin­ues this time. In my eyes, the next step is to have a com­pletely pro­fes­sional league in WSL1 and WSL2. The bet­ter the stan­dard, the more peo­ple will come.

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