Pilgrims plea for funds can aid progress
PLYMOUTH Ladies have had a tough start to their WPL South campaign but their struggles go deeper than results on the pitch.
The club are bottom of the league – with just one win in their ten matches so far – but are on a mission to raise funds to help them stay in the league for another season.
In a bid to help cover travel costs and essential kit and equipment, Plymouth launched a crowdfunder that raised £1,750.
Club captain Katie Middleton has been at Argyle for 15 years and believes the problems on the pitch stem from the lack of resources available. The 30-year-old told Women’s
Football Weekly the club meant a lot to her and she would continue to help behind the scenes.
She said:“The bottom line is we don’t have enough money to survive as a club.All we want is to keep the club going.We decided, as a committee, to try to get local people involved and help us out.
“One of the main things is the travelling.We have always had to self-fund and we travel 4,000 miles a season. Being in the South West, there are a lot of miles to be covered, so we need to pay for petrol or even hotels if we need to travel up on a Saturday night.
“A few of the teams are in and around London and that is a long way for us to go.”
Kevin Taylor, the Pilgrims manager, has been in charge since the start of the season and is realistic about challenging the top teams. He believes their location plays a major part.
He said: “Our nearest away game is Forest Green – which is still 140 miles – and, due to our lack of funds, we can only train once a week. Brighton (who lie second in the WPL South) can train three times a week, which obviously benefits them.
“Right from the word go, I realised the difference between the top five or six teams in this division and the bottom teams is vast.We have only 24 players and this can take its toll with the travelling, injuries or if someone is unavailable.”
With such tough opposition, as well as the financial issues, coach and captain find their motivation through the future talent on display in their centre of excellence.
Middleton said: “What keeps me motivated are the young girls coming through. I want to help them get better and have always wanted to help youngsters play at the highest level. I spent a season with Bristol Academy, so I know what it is like to play at the top, but we are at an extremely high level in the Premier League. It’s an honour to represent Plymouth Argyle.”
Taylor knows the challenge that lies ahead to keep Plymouth up, but he is optimistic as their run-in is slightly less intimidating in the coming weeks.
He said: “Our first five games were against the top five and we lost them all. Now we must focus on the teams around us. Realistically, our season starts now.
“In our side we have a 16- and a 17-year-old who have been fast tracked to the first team due to our lack of reserve team, but we see this as a positive. They will get experience playing at a top level and can help secure our place in the league next season.”
TRAVELLING BAND: Katie Middleton and her teammates rack up 4,000 miles a season