I was astonished and shocked recently when, engaged in a discussion about all things West Ham, a man (having found out I played) confessed that he did not know there was a Ladies team, let alone our league position.
Having played football for many years I have been pleased at the growth and support put into the women’s game recently, especially after witnessing the success of Team GB in the London Olympics. But sadly, there are still people out there who tarnish the women’s game and refuse to watch it, or are simply ignorant to its existence.
In a bid to promote and develop women’s football, the first English semi-professional women’s league was created in 2010. With the success of ‘The Women’s Super League’, permission has been given to expand to a two-tier league, and we at West Ham are hoping to drive our club into the spotlight. This isn’t to make money, as players’ earnings are zero, but to show the country that we are here and we deserve respect for chasing our dreams just like our male counterparts.
The WSL will emulate the men’s league in terms of gaining promotion and battling to avoid relegation. It is also set up to run across the summer months in the hope that those avid football fans will tune in during the men’s off season. With this in mind we hope to attract bigger crowds and generate more exposure as, unknown to some, we are a self funded club. But, tell me, did you even know we existed? Have you donned your claret and blue shirt and ventured to watch us?
Thankfully, opinions are beginning to change and most are respectful of our efforts to raise the club’s profile. Our twitter following is always growing, and for that we are appreciative. Most of our players have been contacted on twitter from respectful West Ham fans, with only a handful of inappropriate tweets to talk of. Despite not having the luxury of training everyday or huge sponsorship deals to speak of, I can promise you that my team mates play because they love football, and they have a passion that huge pay packets cannot buy.
A woman’s place is on the pitch – why don’t you come and see for yourself?