Bristol Academy W.F.C.
|Full name||Bristol Academy Women's Football Club|
|Founded||1998 as Bristol Rovers W.F.C.|
|Ground||Stoke Gifford Stadium
South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, Filton
|Website||Club home page|
Bristol Academy Women's Football Club is a women's association football team from the city of Bristol, who compete in the FA WSL, the highest division of women's football in England. Formed in 1998 as Bristol Rovers W.F.C, they are now affiliated with the Bristol Academy of Sport, based at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, playing their home games at the purpose built Stoke Gifford Stadium. The club were runners-up in the FA Women's Cup in 2011, which gave them a place in the 2011-12 UEFA Women's Champions League. They were FA Women's Cup runners up again in 2013.
The team was founded in 1998, following a merger between the Bristol Rovers girls' teams and Welsh side Cable-Tel L.F.C.. This merger came about as Bristol Rovers only had girls teams up to the under 16 age group level, so when girls reached the age of 16 they were forced to leave the club. The merger with Cable-Tel meant that Bristol Rovers had a senior squad, and more importantly it gave them a place in the South West Combination league, only two levels below the top flight of women's football in England. This new merged team took the name Bristol Rovers W.F.C. and played their home games at The Beeches, the training ground and administrative offices of Bristol Rovers, located in Brislington.
The team, like their male counterparts at Bristol Rovers, were somewhat nomadic in their early days, having played home matches at The Beeches, Lodge Road (home of Yate Town), Cossham Street (Mangotsfield United), the Memorial Stadium (Bristol Rovers), Fry's Sports Ground in Keynsham, The Hand Stadium (Clevedon Town), Lakeview (Bishop Sutton), and Oaklands Park (Almondsbury Town). They finally acquired their own purpose-built home ground, Stoke Gifford Stadium, on land owned by Filton College (now South Gloucestershire and Stroud College) in time for the inaugural FA WSL season in 2011. Since then, all of their home games have been played there, with the exception of UEFA Women's Champions League matches, which have been held at Ashton Gate.
The name of the club was changed to Bristol Academy at the beginning of the 2005–06 season to reflect the added investment and commitment of the Bristol Academy of Sport.
In summer 2009 the club had a funding crisis. Manager Gary Green was sacked, Corinne Yorston left for Arsenal, Stef Curtis for Chelsea and Gwennan Harries for Everton. Without their star players the team finished bottom of the table in 2009–10.
It took just two seasons to gain promotion to the FA Women's Premier League Southern Division, when the club won the South West Combination in the 2000–01 season under the management of Dave Bell. After this Dave Bell left the club to join the academy set-up at Manchester United, and was replaced by Tony Ricketts.
Tony Ricketts also achieved league success, with the team winning the Southern Division in the 2002–03 season and earning promotion to the FA Women's Premier League National Division. The first season in the top-flight was a struggle, with the team narrowly avoiding relegation. However Bristol Academy established themselves in the National Division with two fifth place finishes over the next two seasons.
In the 2006–2007 season, they began as top contenders for the title, having reached the top spot in November (though defending champions Arsenal L.F.C. kept postponing matches due to European Cup, League Cup and FA Cup commitments, which might have been a factor in Bristol's recent success). As Arsenal restarted its League matches, however, Bristol Academy slipped, hovering between the 4th and 8th places.
Bristol Academy has established itself as one of the few top contenders, alongside Leeds United, which has never won the League before.
In the short history of the team they have reached the semi-final of the FA Women's Cup five times. The first was in the 2000–01 season when they were still playing their league football in the South West Combination, playing in front of a club record crowd of over 3000 at the Memorial Stadium against Arsenal L.F.C.. The match ended in a 3–0 defeat. Three more unsuccessful semi-final matches were to follow in this competition, against Fulham L.F.C. in 2002–03, Charlton Athletic L.F.C. in the 2004–05 season and Arsenal again providing the opposition in 2006–07.
In 2011 the club reached the final of the FA Cup after a 3–0 semi-final win over Liverpool. Bristol were beaten 2–0 by Arsenal in the final, before 13,885 fans at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. In 2013 the club reached its second FA Cup final after a 2-0 semi-final win over Lincoln Ladies. Bristol were again beaten by Arsenal 3-0 in the final at the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster.
The most successful competition for Bristol Rovers/Bristol Academy has been the Gloucestershire FA Women's Challenge Cup, which the team have only ever failed to win on one occasion since the team was formed. The single failure was during the 2003–04 season when Bristol Rovers were runners-up to Bristol City W.F.C., in what was their first ever defeat to their cross-city rivals.
Because of the new WSL, England's UEFA Women's Champions League places were allocated to the FA Cup finalists as a one time exception. Thus Bristol won a place in the 2011–12 UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32. They started in the round of 32 and were drawn against Russian side Energiya Voronezh and drew their home game 1–1 but lost the return leg in Russia 2–4 and didn't advance.
After having played at a number of different grounds, the team finally got their own home in 2011 when they moved into the newly built Stoke Gifford Stadium. It was the first stadium in the UK to be developed specifically for a women's football team, and is built on South Gloucestershire and Stroud College's WISE campus.
- Gloucestershire FA Women's Challenge Cup: 8
- 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07
- As of 27 January 2015
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- England: Alex Cottier, Justine Lorton.
- Ireland: Stef Curtis, Grainne Kierans, Claire Scanlan.
- Netherlands: Anouk Hoogendijk, Annemieke Kiesel, Hieke Zijlstra.
- Wales: Helen Bleazard, Jessica Fishlock, Michelle Green, Emma Jones, Kerrie Manley, Sharla Passariello, Emma Plewa, Katie Sherwood, Lauren Wells, Ellie Curson, Samantha Quale.
For further details of former players, see Category:Bristol Academy W.F.C. players.
- List of women's association football clubs in England and Wales
- Women's football in England
- List of women's association football clubs
- Bristol Academy v Cardiff City, 9 November 2006 from bristolrovers.co.uk. Retrieved 10 November 2006
- "Women's Champions League: Bristol reach quarter-finals". BBC Sport. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
- "Green loses Bristol Academy job amid funding worries". Bristol Evening Post. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "Lincoln Ladies FA Women's Super League bid success". BBC. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
- Baker, Adam (17 April 2013). "Free entry at Bristol Academy WFC". Bristol City FC. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- Tony Leighton (21 May 2011). "Women's FA Cup final: Arsenal 2–0 Bristol Academy". BBC Sport. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
- "Double first for Bristol". shekicks.net. 17 April 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
- "Bristol denied by alte penalty". shekicks.net. 30 September 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- "Bristol Bow out to Voroneh". shekicks.net. 6 October 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
- "FA Women's Super League Tournament". visitbristol.co.uk. Destination Bristol. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
- Tony Leighton (25 April 2010). "Bristol Academy builds Britain's first women's stadium". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
- "The Team". Bristol Academy Women. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bristol Academy WFC.|
- Bristol Academy club website
- Bristol Academy page on the South Gloucestershire and Stroud College/Bristol Academy of Sport website