‘WSL1 – we are coming for you’
AFTER Reading lifted the WSL 2 title last weekend captain Kirsty McGee had a message for the teams in the top-flight: “We’re coming for you!”
The Royals have been supreme this season and a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa on the final day was their 14th in 18 league matches – ensuring they pipped fellow promoted side Doncaster Rovers Belles to first place thanks to goal difference.
And when you consider that shining star Fran Kirby departed for Chelsea midway through the season, their record of 61 league goals this term is all the more impressive – with former Aston Villa star Emma Follis and Wales international, as well as WFW columnist, Helen Ward more than filling a Kirby-shaped void.
Manager Kelly Chambers has quality in all corners of the Reading dressing room and skipper McGee believes Reading are capable of “doing a Sunderland” and making waves in WSL 1 immediately.
“We’ve already shown this season that we can compete with the best up there,” said McGee, whose team were the only second-tier side to reach the Continental Tyres Cup knockout stages.
“I think with the squad that we have got we can only go one way and get better and better.
“We’ve sent out a message that we are now one of the top teams in the country, and next season we want to be able to compete at the highest level.”
Such has been the growing interest in Reading, Chambers’ team played at the Madejski Stadium against Millwall Lionesses in May – a game that attracted a crowd of almost 900 before the post-World Cup hype saw attendances boom everywhere.
And McGee believes the level of support shown, coupled with the “all-for-one” attitude, has been the recipe for success.
“The togetherness that we have got as a squad has been the most important factor in winning the league,” added the midfielder, who spent a decade with Portsmouth before moving to Reading last year.
“It is not just Saturdays, Sundays and Thursdays when we go out and play matches, it’s every night in the week when we turn up and put in the shifts on the cold nights and it’s the long hours of training that the staff put on for us.
“After the togetherness I have to say that the sheer belief we have had all season that we can achieve this has gone a long way, and in the end we have achieved exactly what we have wanted too.
“The support we have had has been absolutely fantastic, week in, week out and to also receive the support that we get from the men’s team has been brilliant for us.
“We can now say that we are one of the top teams in the country and we thank every supporter who has been to watch every week.
“We appreciate absolutely everything.”
A CLUB UNITED: Reading celebrate winning the WSL 2 title on the final day of the season CHAMPIONS: McGee celebrates with manager Kelly Chambers