There was further evidence yesterday that Manchester City Ladies intend to make as much of an impact on the FA Women’s Super League as City have on the men’s game since the Abu Dhabi takeover.
Fresh from luring England midfielder Jill Scott from Everton, the newly promoted club have signed Karen Bardsley, England’s US-born goalkeeper.
Bardsley leaves Lincoln Ladies, who have been renamed Nottingham Ladies and moved location, as part of the same WSL re-organisation that controversially awarded City a place in the top flight at the expense of Doncaster Rovers Belles. At the time City’s financial resources were seen as the key factor, and they do seem to be flexing them.
With Liverpool Ladies, following heavy investment, dethroning perennial champions Arsenal, and the latter losing Kim Little to Seattle Reign last week, a new era is dawning in the top echelons of the womens’ game. The Football Association hope this is the case at the grassroots too and have unveiled a £2.4m coaching scheme aimed at players aged 14-25 in conjunction with Sport England and the Premier and Football Leagues.
The news added to the bonhomie at yesterday’s FA Womens Football Awards at which Alex Scott and Gill Coultard both received special gold caps to mark a century of England appearances. At the event the FA general secretary, Alex Horne, said a new England manager would be named “within weeks”. Caretaker Brent Hills and Bristol Academy’s Mark Sampson, a Welshman, are prime contenders.
FA Women’s Football Awards (selected)
Players’ player of the year Natasha Dowie (Liverpool)
WSL manager of the year Matt Beard (Liverpool)
Club of year Bristol Academy
WSL top scorer Dowie
Goal of the year Steph Houghton (Arsenal)