Now that title may come as a shock to many people out there, but Liverpool have won a league title, only in the Women’s Super League. This was the third year of the WSL and it keeps going from strength to strength. And this year saw something we’ve not seen in 8 years, a league winner that wasn’t Arsenal. We were also treated to a final day, winner takes all, title decider between Liverpool and Bristol.
In fact we were treated to a great three way battle at the top of the league, between the previous holders Arsenal, new champions Liverpool and surprise package Bristol Academy. A lot of the increased strength in the league came because of a significant increase in the number of Women’s teams tying into their corresponding men’s team, much like Arsenal have done for years. For instance the Liverpool Ladies team have done several training sessions with the mens team, and have access to a lot more resources, which were previously unavailable. The fact that nearly all the teams are now affiliated with a men’s football club have meant that nearly all the teams had access to these increased funds/resources which has made the league far more competitive.
Nowhere is this more obvious than with the league winners Liverpool. With this increased backing from the club they had a near overhaul of the squad bringing in 12 new players including all 10 outfield players. So radical was this change that it took them from the team who had finished bottom in both the first 2 of the WSL seasons and made them league title contenders. It’s great for the women’s game that there are now 5/6 teams of really quality playing in the WSL who could all potentially win either the league or the cup, although Everton and Birmingham underperformed this year. There was also a good showing by Arsenal in the Champions League as they made it to the semi finals only to be beaten by a very strong Wolfsburg team.
We’re also seeing some positive signs internationally. Despite a very disappointing Euros for the only British team in England, there has been immediate reactions from both them and Scotland as both went on to score 14 goals in their first 2 qualifiers, so there is a high chance for good British showing at the next world cup. There was also the great showing of the Team GB Woman’s football team with the undoubted highlight a 1-0 victory over one of the favourites Brazil in front of 70,000 people at Wembley, myself included.
This shows that there is now unquestionably an interest in the women’s game as the Wembley semi final and the final drew crowds of 62,000 and 80,000 respectively. This growing interest couple with a developing grass roots game, I’ve witnessed first hand the quality that some of our young players have, means that the future of Women’s football in this country has never been brighter.