‘WSL1 – we are com­ing for you’

The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Adam Di­a­mond

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.

At­ti­tude

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.”

PIC­TURE: The FA

A CLUB UNITED: Read­ing cel­e­brate win­ning the WSL 2 ti­tle on the fi­nal day of the sea­son CHAM­PI­ONS: McGee cel­e­brates with man­ager Kelly Cham­bers

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