Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Manchester united together...

...Manchester City, Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester City Council announce 10 year partnership

Manchester City FC (MCFC), Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and Manchester City Council (MCC) will work together for the next decade across a variety of programmes.
The wide ranging partnership will allow the organisations to share expertise in education, CSR, community relations, commercial knowledge and infrastructure development. The relationship builds on their existing strengths and will create a unique platform for elite sport development and community engagement.

Work will begin immediately to design new educational pathways for male and female City players and to develop career development programmes for MMU students. Projects in other areas will begin in the coming months.

Professor John Brooks, MMU Vice-Chancellor said: “This is an exciting relationship which reflects our shared values in the communities that we serve and build on of vision of a city of sport, health and opportunity.

“Working with an organisation like Manchester City FC will expand the university’s potential audience and allow both local and international students opportunities to improve their skills and employment outlook.”

Jon Stemp, Chief Infrastructure Officer at City Football Group, said: 
MCFC, MMU and MCC share a common set of values and priorities, which is what makes this partnership so special. We all believe in the value of education, as evidenced in our academy programmes and work with the Connell College, in developing good people, and in bringing world class sport to our communities.

“Manchester City has been deeply rooted in the city for more than 120 years, and the Club’s foundation for 27 years. This unique relationship allows us to continue and grow that commitment with our trusted partners.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said:
The contribution to the city made by Manchester City FC and by Manchester Metropolitan University is of great significance. We look forward to seeing this long term partnership build on the existing links between some of our world-class organisations and the communities that they serve.

"Manchester is a unique tourist destination, famous for its creativity, culture and sporting heritage and this agreement will further strengthen the city’s reputation as an international sports hub.”

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Manchester City WFC Paint The Town Red...

...and yellow, orange, purple, green, blue, pink.

More than 10,000 runners of all ages, shapes and sizes took part in The Color Run presented by Dulux on Saturday 5th July as the event returned to cover the Etihad campus in colour.

The Color Run went bigger, bolder and brighter than last year with runners taking to the streets to jog, walk and dance their way around the 5k course. At each kilometre, participants were covered in powder explosions before DJs and MCs entertained the crowd at the Colour Festival in an incredible party atmosphere of music and colour bursts. Known as the happiest 5k on the planet, The Color Run has no official times or winners. The focus is on healthiness, friendship and community spirit.

Joining the party atmosphere at the Etihad campus were players from the Manchester City Women's Football squad who swapped their football boots for running shoes to tackle a colour filled 5k training run. The Women’s Super League players ran shoulder-to-shoulder with four up-and-coming young footballers, who train at the player development centre with City in the Community (CITC), to help inspire their growth in the sport. 

Jill Scott, England and Manchester City midfielder, said: “What better way to inspire these talented young players than to run with them at the happiest 5k on the planet.

“It really is a true Manchester celebration of colour and gave the squad a new twist on a 5k training run. I’m not sure many teams in the Women’s Super League come back into the locker room looking quite so colourful!”

Event organiser Joe Rafferty said: “After last year’s success we knew we were in for another great party this time around. It was great to see some of the same happy faces from last year as well as thousands of new Color Runners making their debut with us."

He added: “We’d like to thank everyone who took part and look forward to seeing them at The Color Run next time we’re in Manchester!”

The Color Run was founded by Travis Snyder, who was inspired by the Indian Holi Festival, and decided to combine the idea with a 5km running experience. From the first event in the Unites States in January 2012 The Color Run has since spread across the globe leaving a trail of colour and happy runners. Given its American heritage, its name is spelt accordingly - ‘Color’ - throughout all territories.

Sponsors Dulux, are the world's leading premium quality paint brand. 'Let's Colour' is is the Dulux rallying call to motivate people around the world to use colour to make a change to their own lives and communities.

Through the 'Let's Colour' project, Dulux is transforming grey spaces right across the UK, from village halls, schools, nurseries, to community areas, aiming to colour 1 million people’s lives by 2020. Participants are encouraged to continue the colour theme by nominating a Let’s Colour Project – Visit

Ann Marie O’Riordan, Head of Marketing, UK & Ireland for presenting sponsor Dulux said: “The energy and enthusiasm on show at The Color Run has really shown us just how much colour can uplift and inspire the runners. That’s what we’re really passionate about – seeing colour have a positive impact on peoples’ lives and the places we live in.

“We’re proud to be presenting The Color Run in the UK for a third time this year and we look forward to a summer of colour with more runs happening across the UK.”

Following the success of the Manchester event, The Color Run will soon visit Sunderland (July 20th), Birmingham (August 16th), Belfast (August 23rd) and Brighton (September 20th).

If you missed out on The Color Run in Manchester this year, there are a limited number of places still available for future events or you can join our VIP list at to be the first to find out when the Happiest 5k on the Planet will return.

Check out the Color Run Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages for more pictures and videos. 

Well Done to all City players who took part or
supported the run! More official pictures of the run can be found HERE.

Manchester City Women’s next fixture is away to Durham in the Continental Cup and will be played on Sunday 13th July, followed by Notts County at home at the Regional  Arena on the Thursday 17th July. A full list of fixtures can be found here:

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Battle Of Two Cities...

SOTB took a trip down to Widnes' Select Security Stadium, home of Liverpool and Everton Ladies FC, to watch the FA Womens Super League highlight of the season-'The Battle Of Two Cities'. Over 1300 fans were in attendance overall as London-based Arsenal and Chelsea beat Merseyside duo Liverpool and Everton. It was a great afternoon for fans, who got two high quality matches for just a £5 entry ticket. As well as a junior fanzone section outside the stadium for children to enjoy a range of activities, there was competitions and freebies available throughout the day.

In the early kick off, Liverpool spent the first half on top, with their ability to keep possession for long spells clearly winding up the visitors. Natasha Dowie and ex-Gunner Gemma Davison both impressed and had a few chances to put their team ahead between them. Unfortunately for Liverpool, after the break, defender Casey Stoney put Arsenal ahead from a corner as an initial attempt on goal rebounded up against her nose and into the net. Both sides had chances to score throughout the scrappy second half, as Arsenal got into their attacking flow and Liverpool brought in some early substitutions. Liverpool's last minute replacement keeper Danielle Gibbons was on brilliant form to keep the score down in the later stages.

After the first game, we got a chance to catch up with Liverpool's captain, Gemma Bonner. At only 22 years old, Bonner bears the qualities of a player who has been in the professional game for decades. She is clearly an all round footballer-great defensively, a natural born leader and even scores the occasional goal. Originally she started playing for Leeds United from the age of eight, Bonner moved to Chelsea in 2011, where she first started playing under Matt Beard. In 2012, she then met back up with Beard who was now Liverpool's manager, by also joining the Mersey club. 

Did you feel any pressure going into the game today with Arsenal at the bottom of the table and seemingly a lot to prove on one hand, but then they've also enjoyed recent FA Cup success? 

Arsenal have always been a good side over the years, historically they've always been the best in women's football. Although they were bottom of the league before today, we knew it would be a tough test. It showed out there, it was a bit scrappy, the goal itself summed the game up really. For me, it's patience. Once we've conceded a goal, we've got to keep doing the things we are doing well. The patience in the play then once we do get into the final third, take them risks.

How does it feel having a player like Natasha Dowie on the team, a proven goalscorer, surely that's a relief as a defender having her on your side?

Yes definitely, it's not just Natasha though, we have got a lot of good players. Like out on the wing for example we've got Gemma Davison, all across the team we have got players that can win games for us. Once it does finally click for us, we'll score more goals.

Do you see yourselves being able to retain the title again with ease, or is the competition from other teams becoming more intense and open now?

We're expecting to be up there with the players we've got. With the league more competitive then ever, teams are taking points off each other all over. It's going to be tight this year, although we lost today,we've got to remain positive. Other teams will be taking points off them too, so we will keep positive and improve on today.

You have started writing a new column on Liverpool FC's website. How is that going so far and was it your idea?

It was the club's idea actually to push behind the women's side. Using the men's fanbase, puts a lot more knowledge out there into the game and gives people more insight. Matt Beard and I are going to take it in turns on a monthly basis and hopefully that will improve the fanbase for us.

Coming up in July, you have the Merseyside derby with Everton. Sharing the same stadium, does that increase the rivalry even more on match days?

It's great every time we play them, there is always going to be some rivalry. They're always tough games against Everton. We found out recently as they knocked us out the cup, and it then was a tough game in the league cup. The derby and rivalry adds to the occasions, so it's always hard against them.

Last season saw Liverpool beat Bristol Academy 4-3, with your 86th minute rocket of a goal securing all three points. How does it feel knowing that goal helped put you back on top of the league and ultimately contributed to winning the season, with it being so tight at the end?

It was a great feeling scoring the goal but more importantly for us it was getting the three points. If it hadn't of gone in and been a draw, it might of been different at the end of the season. I was just happy overall to help the team get the three points.

Well done also for making the PFA team of the year, alongside fellow team mates Lucy Bronze, Fara Williams, Natasha Dowie and Nicole Rosler. What does having that strong Liverpool connection in there show to your league rivals?

For us, if you look at the season we had last year, the positive about it was the great team spirit that we had. There wasn't just one focus in the team. It shows, the recognition of the players together, it's great to have so many LFC players in there.
Lucy won the player of the year award, she had a great season and has been a good attacking outlet for us.

You had quite the season, also being nominated for the 2013 North West player of the year amongst Everton's Nikita Paris and Toni Duggan, with the latter winning the award. These types of recognition must surely boost your chances in the England senior set up?

It's always nice to get nominated for these awards, but ultimately it's on the pitch where you need to prove it. Last season was successful for us as a club, but it's a totally different season now. We've got to forget last season in a way, learn from it, push on and improve even more.

Regarding the England set up, it's a smooth transition from club to country, as you get use to playing with the same players more and against them each week in the league. The standards are a lot higher in training, and as you go back to your club you want to take those standards with you.

As a club, Liverpool FC come across very tight nit and almost a family in a sense. Do you get support from the men's side and vice versa?

The men's side of the club have been a massive support to us, the column is just another way of them wanting to put us out there. The club has a 'one club' philosophy and to be integrated into that makes you feel proud to be part of the club.

Lastly, what does the future hold for you Gemma, any ambitions to play abroad one day or at any other clubs?

I'm happy where we are as a club, I think we're in a good place. We have got Champions League football to look forward to, but we're focusing on the league campaign for now. I think we're being placed in the last 32 of the CL, so training will increase and the schedule will be tough with more games. We have got a good squad and now the youngsters are coming through with more league experience.

If last season was anything to go by, this year's FA WSL will still have plenty of twists and turns still to go in the race to the top. Liverpool sit mid table with nine more league matches as well as Continental Cup fixtures. And of course, they get to rub shoulders with Europe's elite players in the upcoming Champions League. Many thanks to Gemma for giving her time to be interviewed and also to the FA WSL and clubs for a fantastic day.

Both match highlights can be found here: Liverpool vs Arsenal and Everton vs Chelsea