Saturday, 8 February 2014

Manchester City Women's Football Club Relaunch

After the recent Manchester City Women's FC relaunch, I managed to speak to a handful of City players regarding their upcoming season and the club's new signings.

Jill Scott is a central midfielder, recently signed from Everton Ladies FC in 2013. Jill started her professional playing career at Sunderland in 2004 and since then has gained over 70 England caps and 5 Team GB appearances. Jill's past experience as Everton's captain and her versatility on the pitch will be a huge bonus to the team.

Q. What was it that made you sign for Manchester City after such a long time being a key player at Everton?

It was difficult for me to leave Everton after being there for 7 years, also as I was captain last year as well. I just felt it was time for a change, obviously 7 years at a club is a long time, and then I heard that Man City were interested. I saw the plans they put in and it just blew me away really. The whole professional attitude of the club and they want to take the women’s team to where the men’s team are now, so it’s what attracted me.

Q. You’re joining quite a few fellow internationals at Manchester now, do you think it will strengthen the England team with a group of you all training and playing more regularly?

Yes, its great to see Toni, Steph and Karen here from England. Training everyday will only develop stronger partnerships between ourselves which will benefit man city and obviously if we keep getting selected for England it will have an impact on the international team as well.

Q. Who do you see as your rivals in the upcoming FA WSL season?

It’s difficult because as I've said its great having media days like this and inspiring young girls to play football. But at the same time, we haven’t yet kicked a ball, so I know it’s a cliché thing to say, but were just going to take it one day at a time. I do think we have a very strong team, but football is a funny game and sometimes matches can go either way. Obviously the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and even Chelsea look strong so I expect those to be up the top of the table.


Toni Duggan is a centre forward who also joined the club from Everton Ladies FC in 2013. After 6 years gaining positive recognition at domestic and international level, Toni is proving to be an exciting talent in front of goal.

Q. You began your adult playing career at Everton, was it difficult to leave your parent club and also hometown of Liverpool?

I was settled at Everton but I just felt it was time for a change and then Man City came and approached me. As soon as I saw their plans, I knew that was the decision I was going to make. I think seeing what’s gone on since and the signings they've made, it has just proved my decision as correct.

Q. You scored an impressive 13 goals last season, do you see yourself being able to knock Natasha Dowie from the top goalscorer position next season?

I don’t like to compete against others to be honest, I just want to score as many goals as I can and help the team.

Q. You’re joining quite a few fellow internationals at Manchester now, do you think it will strengthen the England team with you all training and playing more regularly?

It will, the more players training day in and day out together will only improve England, so we’ll have to wait and see. You obviously build relationships and partnerships with players and I think it shows on the pitch.

Q. Do you look to any of the men's team as inspiration?

Yes, I like Aguero, he's a great talent. I'd love to be able to play as well as him.

Q. It was mentioned today a lot about Man City going out more into the community, do you think you will be playing a big part in that?

Yes, hopefully we can get on board with that, as the men’s team do a lot in the community already. Wherever there is going to be the men’s team doing events, we’ll hope to send some players along too and get more girls on board. I think man city have made it clear that they want more women involved in the club, whether that be part of the women’s team, supporters at games or just generally more girls participating in football.

Q. What style of play is there within the team would you say? 

One thing I've noticed in the first week is that everyone at the club is sticking to the same philosophy. Whether it’s in the under-8 team, the women’s team or the men’s first team, we all have the same strategy, which I think is a great aim for the club to have. We've done a similar thing in the England team, we all know the system inside out and it’s proven to work. You've seen how well Man City have been playing recently, hopefully we can live up to that standard as well.

Q. How easy is it for new players like yourselves to gel with the rest of the team? 

In women’s football you know of each other anyway, whether it’s with the club or on international duty. There’s a few ex-Everton players I know from when I was younger here now at Man City. We've all gelled quickly and hopefully it’ll continue. We've worked hard both on and off the field and hopefully the results will show.


Steph Houghton is the new club captain and proves to be yet another versatile and experienced signing for City. With over 40 England caps and 5 Team GB appearances, Steph has played professionally for Sunderland, Leeds and Arsenal in her career.

Q. You've certainly had an interesting and experienced career so far, what tempted you to sign?

I think first and foremost it’s a new challenge. I've been at arsenal for 3 years now, but as soon as I spoke with Man City, I got the feeling it was going to be something special. I want to be here from the beginning, not come in 2 years down the line, so to be part of something so professional was a big draw to the club. Everything they said a few months ago has come into place. It's our first week here and being a full time professional, training everyday and being part of the club, everyone has made me feel very welcome. The decision I made proved to be the right one.

Q. How serious can MCWFC contend for the FA WSL title this year?

The plans for the club are long term, so this season will be about getting to know each other as a team and the staff, just taking one game at a time. There’s no pressure for us to win a trophy or the title. Of course we want to compete and win football games, but to say that we are contenders for the FAWSL title is too early.

Q. Are you excited by the prospect of one day possibly playing Champions League football in Europe?

Yes of course. Toni and I have both played in the Champions League before and those are the competitions you want to be involved in as a player, playing against the best teams in Europe. As players, we want to be playing the best players in Europe every week and that’s definitely an ambition of the club also. Maybe not necessarily this season or the season after, but we’ll be aiming to get there eventually.

Q. As the new captain Steph, what will you bring to the team?

I think I’m a bit quiet and let the likes of Toni and Jill do the talking in the changing room. I think it’s not going to change me as a player being captain, as I always try to lead by example and give 100%. In the dressing room, everyone’s got to be leaders really and take that on board if there is a problem or issue, I’m sure we can all speak about it and get it resolved.


Nicki Harding (Defender) and Andie Worrall (Goalkeeper) are two of City's most experienced players having started their careers in the late 1990's, they both manage full time jobs as well as playing for City.

Q. With new signings coming into the club, how serious do you think you can contend for the league title?

NH: I think anything’s possible, looks at men’s football, Man United were league champions last season and now they’re struggling. Anything is possible if you put your mind into it and work hard, then sure. If everyone puts that extra bit of effort in, we’ll get to where we want to be.

AW: I think a lot of teams have got similar signings and it seems a lot more of an open league this coming year, more than ever before. Its good to have possibly 6 or 7 teams competing for the title rather than 3 or 4.

Q. Whats the atmosphere like in the changing rooms at the moment with the excitement of new signings coming in and being part of the FA WSL this year?

NH: I'd say I’m a bit of a joker.
AW: we've only been together a week really so we've still got to see each others personalities as we get on. Were going away in a week so we’ll get a chance to bond more.
NH: Also training 2-3 times a week will makes tighter as a group.

Q. Some of you have full time jobs as well as playing and training, how do you find the balance?

AW: Nicky and I work full time 40 hours a week on top of training so it can be hard but the sacrifices are worth it.
NH: There’s no added pressure, as a team we all want to do well.

Q. Who do you see as your rivals in the FA WSL?

AW: Everyone will want to beat city this year.
NH: There are a lot of new players moving clubs so it seems more even now. If you look at the England team, its split between the 8 FAWSL clubs which is really good for women’s football.
AW: Nicky and I  remember the days when Fulham were the only full time club, so now it’s great to see more teams coming in and training full time.

Q. What's your view on the lack of media coverage in the women's game? Does it frustrate you as players when your games aren't covered?

NH: It has improves with the likes of Twitter, but I think it needs to be shown on a free channel. If the kids start watching it, they’ll want to go the games and it’ll start getting more publicity. Look at the Olympics on the BBC for instance.
AW: The legacy from the Olympics was amazing, even I wouldn't watch much women’s football. But to see all the games shown on TV and 30-40,000 spectators was great.

Q. Do you think it's time the focus shifted from men's to women's football now?

AW: I think the expectations should be different for example the physicality between a man and a woman is different so you’re gong to get a different game, which I think people should appreciate. A lot of players aren't full time either, if we all were, you’d see a different game. Professional men’s players have advantages like having chefs to cook there meals and they get to train more regularly and rest between games which benefits them.


Betsy Hassett has joined the club from New Zealand having also played in America and Germany. She was a key player in New Zealand's progress at the London 2012 Olympics.

Q. What was it that made you want to move across the world and sign for Manchester City?

Well I was looking to come and play in England anyway, especially for a club that has a good vision, good facilities and this seemed the best place for me to come.

Q. How easy is it for new players like yourselves to gel with the rest of the team?

I've got national duty soon, so it’ll take time to gel but its good, were starting pre-season early so everyone can get use to each other.

Q. Does you see different styles of women's football in other countries that you've played in?

Each country is different but from what I've seen, everyone looks pretty good. It’ll take some time for English football to get to the level USA and Germany are at, but players keep coming to the FA WSL because of the set up, so it is improving.

Q. Do you follow English football at all? Is there a player or team in particular that stands out for you?

I've watched a bit, but in no it’s not broadcast like the men’s. I like David Silva and want to play like him.


Thanks to all players involved and MCFC for the photos. Thanks also goes to my fellow journalist, Ruth Dacey, for her assistance with the interviews. Good luck to MCWFC for the coming season!

No comments:

Post a Comment