Bristol City W.F.C.

Coordinates: 51°26′24″N 2°37′13″W / 51.44000°N 2.62028°W / 51.44000; -2.62028
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Bristol City Women
Full nameBristol City Women's Football Club
Nickname(s)The Robins (formerly The Vixens)
Founded1998; 26 years ago (1998) as Bristol Rovers
GroundAshton Gate, Bristol
ChairmanGavin Marshall
ManagerLauren Smith
LeagueWomen's Championship
2023–24Women's Super League, 12th of 12 (relegated)
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Bristol City Women's Football Club is a women's association football team from the city of Bristol. Formed in 1998 as Bristol Rovers W.F.C., they were renamed Bristol Academy W.F.C. in 2005 following the withdraw of support from Bristol Rovers and increased involvement and academy development from Bristol Academy of Sport (now SGS Sport), part of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College. A second change of name, this time to Bristol City was approved by the FA Women's Football Board in time for the 2016 WSL season. With their home games relocating from SGS College’s Stoke Gifford Stadium to the Robins High Performance Centre and now Ashton Gate Stadium. Bristol City Women won promotion to the FA Women's Super League (WSL), the highest level of the women's game in England in 2016 and stayed there for five seasons before being relegated to the FA Women's Championship in 2021.[1]


Early years[edit]

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.

Bristol Academy playing Birmingham City in 2006

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 Lawns (Cribbs F.C.),[2] The Hand Stadium (Clevedon Town), Lakeview (Bishop Sutton), and Oaklands Park (Almondsbury Town).[3] 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 were played there up until the end of the 2019-20 season, with the exception of UEFA Women's Champions League matches, which have been held at Ashton Gate.[4]

The name of the club was changed to Bristol Academy at the beginning of the 2005–06 season to reflect the increased involvement of the Bristol Academy of Sport with the club. The team continued to play in the blue and white quarters of Bristol Rovers however, and also retained the nickname The Gas Girls, an acknowledgement of Rovers' unofficial nickname of The Gas.[5] Bristol Rovers, now in the bottom division of The Football League, found themselves unable to continue financing a women's team in 2006 and withdrew funding. Bristol Academy of Sport agreed to bankroll the team for 12 months, but there were serious doubts during the 2006–07 season that the club would survive beyond the summer.[6]

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.[7] Without their star players the team finished bottom of the table in 2009–10.

The club were one of eight founding teams in the FA WSL in April 2011, when they moved into a brand new stadium at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College's Stoke Gifford Campus.[8]

In 2013 the club signed a sponsorship agreement with Bristol City FC and changed their home kit from blue to red,[9] and three years later the club was renamed Bristol City Women's Football Club.[10]

In July 2018, the club named Tanya Oxtoby its new manager, moving into the position from being an assistant with Birmingham City W.F.C.[11]

League history[edit]

Bristol Academy at home to Arsenal Ladies, May 2013

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, the club reached the top spot in November (though defending champions Arsenal L.F.C. had games in hand due to European Cup, League Cup and FA Cup commitments). Arsenal played their games in hand Bristol Academy, hovered between the 4th and 8th places.

Bristol City Women finished 2nd in FA WSL 2 for the 2016 season and won promotion to FA WSL 1 for their 2017 campaign.

They were relegated in the 2020–21 season to the FA Women's Championship where they finished third in their first season back in the second tier.

The 2022–23 season saw Bristol City win their first ever league title and, with it, promotion back to the WSL.

Cup history[edit]

Bristol City away against London Bees, April 2016

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.[12] 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 team dominated the Gloucestershire FA Women's Challenge Cup in their early days, winning the trophy eight times in their first nine seasons. The only failure to win the competition came in the 2003–04 season when they were beaten in the final by the original Bristol City W.F.C., their first ever defeat to their cross-city rivals. Following the 2006–07 win the first team stopped competing in the tournament, although their junior teams continued taking part.

They did reach the final of the Continental Tyres League Cup Final in the 2020-21 season but were defeated by Chelsea FC.

UEFA competitions[edit]

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.[13] 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.[14][15]

Season by season[edit]

Season League Position FA Cup League CupA Other Manager
Bristol Rovers W.F.C.
1998–99 South West Combination 2nd Gloucestershire Cup winners Billy Gornicki-Bond
1999–00 South West Combination 2nd Third round Gloucestershire Cup winners
2000–01 South West Combination 1st
Semi-final Gloucestershire Cup winners Dave Bell
2001–02 Premier League Southern Division 2nd of 12 Fourth round First round Gloucestershire Cup winners Tony Ricketts
2002–03 Premier League Southern Division 1st of 11
Semi-final Quarter-final Gloucestershire Cup winners
2003–04 Premier League National Division 8th of 10 Semi-final Semi-final Tony Ricketts
Ivor Gumm
2004–05 Premier League National Division 5th of 10 Semi-final Quarter-final Gloucestershire Cup winners Gary Green
Bristol Academy W.F.C.
2005–06 Premier League National Division 5th of 10 Quarter-final Quarter-final Gloucestershire Cup winners Gary Green
2006–07 Premier League National Division 4th of 12 Semi-final Second round Gloucestershire Cup winners
2007–08 Premier League National Division 4th of 12 Fourth round Third round
2008–09 Premier League National Division 8th of 12 Quarter-final Second round
2009–10 Premier League National Division 12th of 12 Fourth round Quarter-final Granted WSL licence[16] Mark Sampson
2011 Women's Super League 5th of 8 Runners-up First round 2011–12 Champions League: First round
2012 Women's Super League 4th of 8 Semi-final Semi-final
2013 Women's Super League 2nd of 8 Runners-up Group stage
2014 WSL 1 7th of 8 Fifth round Group stage 2014–15 Champions League: Quarter-final Dave Edmondson
2015 WSL 1 8th of 8
Fifth round Quarter-final Dave Edmondson
Lauren Smith[17]
Willie Kirk
Bristol City W.F.C.
2016 WSL 2 2nd of 10
Fourth round First round Willie Kirk
2017 WSL 1 8th of 9 Quarter-final N/AB
2017–18 WSL 1 8th of 10 Fourth round Quarter-final
2018–19 Women's Super League 6th of 11 Fifth round Group stage Tanya Oxtoby
2019–20 Women's Super League 10th of 12 Fifth round Group stage
2020–21 Women's Super League 12th of 12
Fourth round Runners-up Tanya Oxtoby
Matt Beard
2021–22 Women's Championship 3rd of 12 Fourth round Quarter-final Lauren Smith
2022–23 Women's Championship 1st of 12
Fifth round Quarter-final
2023–24 Women's Super League 12th of 12
Fourth round Group stage

^A League cup column shows results in the FA Women's Premier League Cup (2001–2010) and the FA WSL Cup (2011–present)
^B There was no WSL Cup tournament during the 2017 WSL Spring Series


Ashton Gate is located in Bristol
Ashton Gate
Ashton Gate
Ashton Gate shown within Bristol and the UK

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 at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College, WISE Campus in North Bristol. It was the first stadium in the UK to be developed specifically for a women's football team,.[18][19] They stayed here until the end of the 2019-20 season. After this league requirements saw a move to Twerton Park and a groundshare with Bath City FC. The robins only stayed here for one season before they relocated to the Robins High Performance Centre for the start 2021-22 season. Multiple games have also been played at Ashton Gate stadium.

The club record attendance came in April 2023 when 7,045 spectators watched Bristol City against Charlton Athletic in the FA Women's Championship at Ashton Gate.

The club announced that all home matches would be played at Ashton Gate for the upcoming season.[20]


Current squad[edit]

As of 25 January 2024[21]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK England ENG Fran Bentley
2 DF Wales WAL Ella Powell
3 DF Denmark DEN Sille Struck
4 DF England ENG Naomi Layzell
5 DF England ENG Brooke Aspin (on loan from Chelsea)
6 MF Republic of Ireland IRL Megan Connolly (captain)
7 FW Scotland SCO Abi Harrison
8 MF Scotland SCO Amy Rodgers
9 FW Jamaica JAM Shania Hayles
10 MF Northern Ireland NIR Rachel Furness
11 FW Scotland SCO Jamie-Lee Napier
12 DF Republic of Ireland IRL Chloe Mustaki
13 GK Wales WAL Olivia Clark
15 MF Scotland SCO Jasmine Bull
No. Pos. Nation Player
16 MF England ENG Emily Syme
17 FW Denmark DEN Amalie Thestrup
18 MF Canada CAN Sarah Stratigakis
22 FW Scotland SCO Lisa Evans
23 MF Wales WAL Carrie Jones
24 FW Wales WAL Ffion Morgan
25 GK England ENG Erin Foley
29 DF England ENG Mari Ward
30 GK United States USA Shae Yanez
38 MF Wales WAL Manon Pearce
39 FW England ENG Maya Kendall
44 DF Jamaica JAM Satara Murray
31 GK Wales WAL Yasmin Davies (on loan at Portishead Town)

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
20 DF England ENG Maddi Wilde (at London City Lionesses until 30 June 2024)[22]
27 FW England ENG Jesse Woolley (at Reading until 30 June 2024)
28 FW Wales WAL Tianna Teisar (at Cardiff City until 30 June 2024)

Club Staff[edit]

Position Staff Member
Chairman Wales Gavin Marshall
Head Coach Wales Lauren Smith
Assistant Coach England Natalie Haigh
Assistant Coach Wales Loren Dykes
First Team Goalkeeping Coach England James White
Lead Physiotherapist England Tom Cresswell
Sports Therapist England Jess Wells
Lead Physical Performance Coach England Erika Mole
Strength and Conditioning Coach England Jack Instrall
First Team Analyst England Calvin Strong
Academy Manager Wales James Thomas
U21s Head Coach England Charlie Mitchell
U21s Goalkeeper Coach
Republic of Ireland Rich Duffy
Club Chaplain England Esther Legg-Bagg

Team honours[edit]

  • Gloucestershire FA Women's Challenge Cup: 8
1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07

Club records[edit]

Highest league finish position: 2nd in Women's Super League 2013 as Bristol Academy W.F.C

Lowest league position: 3rd in FA Womens Championship 2021/22

Highest points total in a season - 48 (2022/23 FA Womens Championship)

Lowest points total in a season - 6 (2023/24) Women's Super League)

Most league wins in a season - 15 (2022/23 FA Womens Championship)

Fewest league wins in a season - 1 (2023/24 Women's Super League)

Most league defeats in a season - 18 (2023/24 Women's Super League)

Fewest league defeats in a season - 3 (2022/23 FA Womens Championship)

Most league draws in a season - 6 (2020/21 Women's Super League)

Fewest league draws in a season - 1 (2017/18 Women's Super League)

Most league goals scored in a season - 43 (2021/22 FA Womens Championship)

Fewest league goals scored in a season - 9 (2019/20 Women's Super League) * Season cut short due to Covid-19 Pandemic

Most league goals conceded in a season - 72 (2020/21 Women's Super League)

Fewest league goals conceded in a season - 12 (2022/23 FA Womens Championship)

Biggest win - 7-1 Vs Queens Park Rangers WFC, SSE Women's FA Cup, February 14, 2016

Biggest defeat - Arsenal Women 11–1 Bristol City Women - December 1, 2019

Highest scoring match - Arsenal Women 11–1 Bristol City Women - December 1, 2019

Highest transfer fee paid -

Highest transfer fee received - £25,000 Ebony Salmon to Racing Louisville FC (January 2021)

Most goals in a season by a player - Abi Harrison - 21 (2021/22 FA Womens Championship)

Youngest player - 16 years and 44 days - Lauren Hemp (Vs Watford F.C. Women, WSL 2, 10 September 2016)

Oldest player - 35 years and 352 days - Rachel Furness (Vs Manchester City.F.C.. Women's Super League, 28 April 2024)

Fastest goal - Chloe Bull - 38 seconds (Vs Crystal Palace F.C, FA Womens Championship, 5 February 2022)

Most goals by a player in a match - 2 - Grace Clinton - Vs (Vs Crystal Palace F.C, FA Womens Championship, 5 March 2023)

Youngest goalscorer - 16 years and 44 days - Lauren Hemp (Vs Watford F.C. Women, WSL 2, 10 September 2016)

Oldest goalscorer - 35 years and 139 days Rachel Furness (Vs Arsenal F.C. Women's Super League, 22 October 2023)

Most league matches won in a row - 5 (February 8 2023 to March 12, 2023)

Most league matches lost in a row - 9 (February 18 2024 to May 18 2024)

Most league matches without a win - 17 (November 12, 2023 to May 18, 2024)

Most home leagues games without a win - 13 (31 March 2019 - 30 January 2021)

Most away matches without a win - 16 (13 September 2020 - 21 November 2021)

Most league matches without defeat - 8 - (December 5, 2022 - March 19, 2021)

Most home league matches without defeat - 6 (17 November 2018 - 24 March 2019)

Most away league matches without defeat - 8 (May 1, 2022 - March 19, 2023)

Most league matches without conceding a goal - 4 (February 12, 2023 to March 12, 2023)

Most league matches without scoring a goal - 7 (March 17, 2024 to May 18, 2024)

Most matches without a clean sheet - 28 - April 30th 2023 - May 18th 2024

Highest attendance - 14,138 Vs Manchester United F.C. Women's Super League - 26 November 2023, Ashton Gate Stadium

Lowest attendance - 287 Vs Southampton F.C. Women - 11 December 2022

Highest average attendance - 6,366 (2023//24, Women's Super League )

Most appearances:

  1. Grace McCatty - 141
  2. Loren Dykes - 120
  3. Frankie Brown/Abi Harrison - 117
  4. Jasmine Matthews - 115
  5. Corinne Yorston - 96
  6. Siobhan Chamberlain - 93
  7. Sophie Baggaley - 90
  8. Flo Allen - 87
  9. Carla Humphrey - 86
  10. Aimee Palmer - 84
  11. Angharad James - 82
  12. Naomi Layzell - 80
  13. Gemma Evans/Jemma Rose - 74
  14. Yana Daniëls - 71
  15. Ella Powell - 71
  16. Ffion Morgan - 68
  17. Jesse Woolley - 60
  18. Laura del Río - 57
  19. Emily Syme - 54
  20. Fran Bentley - 52

All time top goal-scorers:

  1. Abi Harrison - 39
  2. Natalia Pablos - 22
  3. Laura del Río - 20
  4. Ebony Salmon - 18
  5. Millie Farrow/Natasha Harding/Shania Hayles - 14
  6. Lucy Graham - 12
  7. Claire Emslie/Lauren Hemp -11
  8. Corinne Yorston/ Ffion Morgan - 10
  9. Jess Fishlock/ Jemma Rose/Chloe Bull/Amalie Thestrup - 9
  10. Aggie Beever-Jones/Yana Daniëls/Charlie Wellings - 7

Most games scored in a row - 9 - Abi Harrison (October 10, 2021 - January 16, 2022)

Most Clean sheets

  1. Sophie Baggaley - 27
  2. Fran Bentley - 24
  3. Caitlin Leach - 9

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brighton and Hove Albion 3-1 Bristol City women: Matt Beard set to take over until end of season BBC Sport. 9 May 2021. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  2. ^ Bristol Rovers Women v Bristol City Women Matchday Programme. Bristol: Bristol Rovers Football Club. 23 October 2002. p. 3.
  3. ^ "Football for Women". Midland Combination. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  4. ^ "Women's Champions League: Bristol reach quarter-finals". BBC Sport. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Bristol Academy Women's Football Club (BAWFC)". Bristol Academy Women's Football Club. Archived from the original on 31 August 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  6. ^ "In the Visitors Corner Bristol Academy WFC", Bristol City WFC Matchday Programme (Vs Bristol Academy, FA Women's Cup), 2006–07: 13, 27 January 2007
  7. ^ "Green loses Bristol Academy job amid funding worries". Bristol Evening Post. 8 July 2009. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  8. ^ "Lincoln Ladies FA Women's Super League bid success". BBC. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  9. ^ Baker, Adam (17 April 2013). "Free entry at Bristol Academy WFC". Bristol City FC. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Bristol Academy to rebrand as Bristol City Women's FC". BBC Sport. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  11. ^ Crawley, James (4 July 2013). "Oxtoby appointed Vixens manager". Bristol City FC. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  12. ^ Tony Leighton (21 May 2011). "Women's FA Cup final: Arsenal 2–0 Bristol Academy". BBC Sport. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  13. ^ "Double first for Bristol". 17 April 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  14. ^ "Bristol denied by alte penalty". 30 September 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Bristol Bow out to Voroneh". 6 October 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  16. ^ "FA announce Women's Super League clubs". UEFA. 22 March 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  17. ^ "Bristol Academy: Head coach Dave Edmondson leaves club". BBC Sport. 23 April 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  18. ^ "FA Women's Super League Tournament". Destination Bristol. Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  19. ^ Tony Leighton (25 April 2010). "Bristol Academy builds Britain's first women's stadium". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 December 2010.
  20. ^ "Bristol City women can 'fill' Ashton Gate". BBC Sport. Retrieved 31 May 2023.
  21. ^ "Women's first team". Bristol City.
  22. ^ "London City Lionesses land defender Maddi Wilde on loan from Bristol City". London City Lionesses. 30 July 2023.

External links[edit]

51°26′24″N 2°37′13″W / 51.44000°N 2.62028°W / 51.44000; -2.62028