‘Old en­emy’ made me so wel­come at Basil­don


CON­FES­SION: I was so ner­vous be­fore I joined C&K Basil­don Ladies I even asked the man­ager, Steve Til­son, if the girls would mind.

Hav­ing played for West Ham, we had a re­ally strong ri­valry. Ev­ery time I played against Basil­don, I didn’t get on with them.

I was re­ally wor­ried how the girls would take to me, but peo­ple are dif­fer­ent when they’re on the pitch to off it. The rea­son we clashed in the past is be­cause we’re so sim­i­lar. They wanted to win, I wanted to win. If you have to kick some­one to do that, you do it.That’s what it was.

They’ve made me feel re­ally wel­come. Now I get on with them all and we’ve been do­ing re­ally well.

As a West Ham fan, play­ing for the club and be­ing cap­tain was the ic­ing on the cake, but I wasn’t en­joy­ing my time any more.

I was un­happy from the start of the sea­son, but I was try­ing to see it out be­cause I’m not one to quit.

Then, ev­ery­thing hap­pened and I, and a few oth­ers, left. I didn’t play for about four weeks. My love just wasn’t there for it. A few of the other girls signed for Basil­don be­fore I did. I went down to watch them play. Stand­ing there watch­ing, I re­alised how much I missed play­ing. I was dy­ing to get back on the pitch.

It’s ac­tu­ally quite nice not to be cap­tain, too. I can just fo­cus on my game and not have to worry about ev­ery­one else.

When I was at pri­mary school, I didn’t re­ally play be­cause we didn’t have a girls’ team. I was re­ally the only girl who played foot­ball and I wasn’t al­lowed to play with the boys.

It was only dur­ing breaks and at lunchtime that I got in­volved. I played lo­cally for a team and, as I got older, I went on to bet­ter things.

I was at col­lege next to Arse­nal’s academy, but even then I didn’t know much about it. That’s one thing I wish I could go back and do again. Rather than col­lege, I would like to have tried to go through some­thing like Arse­nal’s academy.

But, back then, you didn’t re­ally have much idea.

Now it’s a big thing. There’s more in­vest­ment and more young girls have op­por­tu­ni­ties. That’s what it’s all about.

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