Manchester City W.F.C.

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Manchester City Women
Full nameManchester City Women's Football Club
Nickname(s)The Citizens, The Blues, City, Man City
FoundedNovember 1988; 35 years ago (1988-11)
GroundAcademy Stadium, Manchester
Capacity7,000 (5,000 seated)
DirectorNils Nielsen
ManagerGareth Taylor
LeagueWomen's Super League
2022–23WSL, 4th of 12
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Manchester City Women's Football Club (formerly Manchester City Ladies F.C.) are an English women's football club based in Manchester who play in the FA Women's Super League. They are affiliated with Manchester City who play in the Premier League.


National League[edit]

1988–1996: Early struggles[edit]

Manchester City Ladies Football Club was formed in November 1988, the brainchild of Manchester City Community Officer Neil Mather – who would become the side's first manager – plus several others involved in the club's community scheme.[1] Their first match was a friendly against Oldham on Boundary Park's artificial pitch, which City won by a score of 4–1.[2] Only able to play friendlies in their first season due to the late formation of the club, the team joined the North West Women's Regional Football League the following year.[3] In the hopes of increasing publicity for women's football, the Manchester City's men's first team defender Colin Hendry was appointed Club President in March 1990 during a period when it was receiving plaudits for being one of the first league clubs in north-west England to create an affiliated women's side.[4]

Manchester City Ladies initially struggled with the strength of the opposition in their first league fixtures, having been immediately placed in the second division of four due to the strength of the club's name alone, but managed to improve results enough to finish mid-table.[5] In their second season, they improved further and consequently achieved their first promotion.[6]

Although Manchester City Ladies established itself in the top division of the North West Women's Regional Football League, a lack of financial independence meant that the club's fortunes were tied to the men's side, resulting in a first relegation in 1996–97, the season after the men's team themselves were relegated from the Premier League. The club's support for their ladies' team was reduced, poor conditions at Platt Lane caused a series of fixture postponements and a shortage of players resulted in discussions on whether to merge the ladies' team into Stockport County Ladies.[7]

1997–2013: Growing strength[edit]

Manchester City's relegation coincided with the reorganisation of the club spearheaded by Derek Heath, a Stockport County Ladies coach who had transferred to the Manchester club owing to Stockport County Ladies' reluctance to affiliate with the male side of the same name.[8] Heath brought in a raft of new players – many directly from Stockport – and created the first-ever junior side when he arranged for Manchester City to adopt the Stockport under-14 team which his former club were no longer in a position to support.[9] Although Heath was to die after a brief battle with cancer barely a year after joining the club, Manchester City went unbeaten in the league throughout the 1997–98 season to win the second division title at the first time of asking – their first official silverware.[10]

Promotion in 1998 would start a period of success for Manchester City. After narrowly missing out on a second promotion in 1999,[11] they won the Premier Division in 1999–2000 and beat Barnsley in the promotion play-off to lift themselves above the North West Regional Football League for the first time.[12] The following season they won the Northern Combination and joined the WFA National League (renamed the Women's Premier League in 1992) Northern Division.[13] The step up to the WPL proved to be a large one, however, and the club narrowly avoided relegation on several occasions, never finishing outside of the bottom half for the first seven seasons. Only the appointment of Leigh Wood to the managerial position in 2007 was able to change the club from relegation battlers to title hopefuls.[14]

Women's Super League[edit]

2014–2015: Professionalism and early success[edit]

The English women's football pyramid was shaken up again in 2010 when the FA Women's Super League was created as a new top-tier competition to sit over the top of the Women's Premier League. The FA announced that entry would be based on application rather than promotion and that all members of the WPL National Division plus the top two finishers in the two regional leagues would be eligible to apply. Manchester City would miss out on the opportunity, instead finishing fourth,[15] but would seize their next opportunity to join the WSL some three seasons later when it was expanded into an 18-team, two-tiered league system - by which time the club had won the Northern Division and were contesting the National Division. To some surprise and controversy[16] on 26 April City Ladies were announced to have been given direct entry to the first division of the enlarged competition, at the expense of established team Doncaster Rovers Belles who were downgraded to the second division and were the only team to lose their top division status.[17]

In anticipation of their first WSL season the club began a complete renovation of the playing squad, signing a number of England internationals and promising players, including the likes of England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley,[18] 74-times capped midfielder Jill Scott[19] and new club captain Steph Houghton,[20] intending to make an impression on the league from the start. On 23 January 2014, the club was relaunched with a minor renaming to Manchester City Women's Football Club, ready for the new season.[21] Nick Cushing was appointed first team manager, with Leigh Wood moving to first team head coach.

Their first season of professional football would see Manchester City finish fifth of eight teams, at the same time winning their first-ever major trophy when they defeated Arsenal in the 2014 FA WSL Cup Final.[22] The following season would start poorly, but City Women returned from the summer break for the Women's World Cup a different side, with England's third-place finish seemingly rejuvenating both players and fans. Recording twelve wins in their remaining thirteen league games[23] the club entered a title challenge which they only lost on the final day of the season.[24] Although it brought them no silverware, their runners-up position was enough to secure them European football for the first time in their history.[24] As they embarked on their late-season surge, City also broke the league attendance record not once[25] but twice.[26]

2016–2020: Domestic dominance and Big Three[edit]

The following seasons would see Manchester City become one of the dominant sides of English women's football, winning the league in 2016[27] and claiming two Women's FA Cup[28] and two further WSL Cups[29] by the end of the decade.

2020–present: Injury crises, exodus and Big Four[edit]

Nick Cushing left his role as manager to become assistant coach to Ronny Deila at MLS side New York City, with his last match being against Arsenal on 2 February 2020.[30] Gareth Taylor took over as manager,[31] having a good start in his first year with the squad.[32]

The side saw various injuries to many of its first-team players from 2021 and into the 2021–22 season, struggling at times domestically and particularly in Europe.[33][34] It has been compared to the 2015 injury crisis that saw City under Cushing spring a late comeback and then dominates in 2016.[32]

Over the summer of 2022, Manchester City saw nine[35] of its high-profile and established players leave: Bardsley, Scott, and Ellen White through retirement; Janine Beckie to Portland Thorns; Karima Benameur Taieb to Marseille; Lucy Bronze and Keira Walsh to Barcelona; Caroline Weir to Real Madrid; and Georgia Stanway to Bayern Munich.[33][34] Described as an exodus from the club,[36][37] sports journalists questioned if the draw of European football was the only factor in big name departures, as well as debating the resilience of a club with so many new faces arriving at once and the "entire, world class starting midfield three" leaving.[34][38][39][32] The last to leave was Walsh, for a world-record transfer fee on 7 September; her departure from Manchester City (after the retirements of Bardsley and Scott) meant that Houghton was the last remaining 2014 season player at the club.

Sources close to the club cited by The Athletic felt that reasons for most of the departures were not individually concerning, besides that "last season's results were below what the club expected, and some players were not happy with the feedback received from the backroom staff". Additionally, the high number of departures at once and the club's seeming lack of sufficient recruitment to cover the calibre of these players were seen as potential matters of concern, with fans decrying the management on social media.[35] The Sportsman also worried that losing so many starting players would make the club's evolution under Taylor less visible and effective.[40]

After a rough start to the 2022–23 season,[34] including a first-ever loss to Aston Villa in their first league match,[41] Manchester City re-found their footing and took enough wins to end 2022 fourth in the league, unable to defeat any of the other "Big Four" (the Big Three and newly-improved rivals Manchester United) teams but holding strong to retain a position among the title contenders, with the new signings said to have gelled surprisingly quickly.[34] Despite the regained form, following Manchester City defeating Leicester City by the usual wide margin in October 2022, ESPN felt that the team had "a certain sparkle lacking from their football, and the unquenchable je ne sais quoi the top teams manage to cultivate through their star-studded teams remained absent", again asking if Taylor would be able to bring the team silverware.[32]


Since the opening of Academy Stadium directly across the Ashton New Road and Alan Turing Way from the City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester City Women have been based at the training complex's 7,000-capacity stadium in tandem with the men's academy's senior side. The stadium has on three occasions since the middle of 2015 set an attendance record for a FA WSL league game.

Prior to moving into Academy Stadium, the women's side was based in the Manchester Regional Athletics Arena.

On 14 Sep 2023 Manchester City announced baby gear brand, Joie as the Official Stadium Naming Partner.[42]

Affiliation with Manchester City F.C.[edit]

Throughout their history, MCWFC has had an affiliation with Manchester City, being established within its corporate structure in 1988. Replica kits of the men's team were still worn and the professional side financially supported the team, yet organisationally it managed itself for much of its existence. They were established as part of City in the Community in 1988 with its development during the 1990s and beyond relying on the dedication of a number of Manchester City Ladies officials, individuals and volunteers.

Following an announcement on 28 August 2012, Manchester City Ladies' position as an official part of the club became formalised under a new agreement. Consequently, the women's side shares not only corporate links and resources with the male team but also their training facilities, as well as being included in the marketing and social media of the Premier League side.





  • Doubles

Season to season record (since 2014)[edit]

Season League FA Cup League
Europe Other Top scorer(s) Goals
Division (tier) P W D L F A Pts Pos Competition Result
2014 WSL 1 (1) 14 6 1 7 13 16 19 5th QF W Toni Duggan 11
2015 WSL 1 (1) 14 9 3 2 25 11 30 2nd SF QF Toni Duggan 12
2016 WSL 1 (1) 16 13 3 0 36 4 42 1st SF W SF Jane Ross 13
2017 WSL SS (1) 8 6 1 1 17 6 19 2nd W Lucy Bronze
Jill Scott
Toni Duggan
2017–18 WSL 1 (1) 18 12 2 4 51 17 38 2nd SF RU SF Nikita Parris 18
2018–19 WSL 1 (1) 20 14 5 1 53 17 47 2nd W W Ro32 Nikita Parris 24
2019–20 WSL 1 (1) 16 13 1 2 39 9 40 2nd W SF Ro16 Pauline Bremer 22
2020–21 WSL 1 (1) 22 17 4 1 65 13 55 2nd SF QF QF Community Shield RU Chloe Kelly
Ellen White
2021–22 WSL 1 (1) 22 15 2 5 60 32 47 3rd RU W 2QR Lauren Hemp 10
2022–23 WSL 1 (1) 22 15 2 5 50 25 47 4th QF SF 1QR Khadija Shaw 31
Champions Runners-up

Record in UEFA Women's Champions League[edit]

All results (home, away and aggregate) list Manchester City's goal tally first.

Season Round Club Home Away Aggregate
2016–17 Round of 32 Russia Zvezda Perm 2–0 f 4–0 6–0
Round of 16 Denmark Brøndby 1–0 f 1–1 2–1
Quarter-final Denmark Fortuna Hjørring 1–0 1–0 f 2–0
Semi-final France Olympique Lyon 1–3 f 1–0 2–3
2017–18 Round of 32 Austria St. Pölten 3–0 3–0 f 6–0
Round of 16 Norway Lillestrøm 2–1 5–0 f 7–1
Quarter-final Sweden Linköping 2–0 f 5–3 7–3
Semi-final France Olympique Lyon 0–0 f 0–1 0–1
2018–19 Round of 32 Spain Atlético Madrid 0–2 1–1 f 1–3
2019–20 Round of 32 Switzerland Lugano 4–0 7–1 f 11–1
Round of 16 Spain Atlético Madrid 1–1 f 1–2 2–3
2020–21 Round of 32 Sweden Kopparbergs/Göteborg 3–0 2–1 f 5–1
Round of 16 Italy Fiorentina 3–0 f 5–0 8–0
Quarter-finals Spain Barcelona 2–1 0–3 f 2–4
2021–22 Second qualifying round Spain Real Madrid 0–1 1–1 f 1–2
2022–23 First qualifying round Kazakhstan Tomiris-Turan 6–0
Spain Real Madrid 0–1

f First leg


First-team squad[edit]

A photo of the first-team before a Champions League match against SKN St. Pölten on 4 October 2017
As of 31 January 2024[43]

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 Ellie Roebuck
3 DF England ENG Demi Stokes
4 DF Spain ESP Laia Aleixandri (3rd captain)
5 DF England ENG Alex Greenwood (vice-captain)
6 DF England ENG Steph Houghton (captain)
7 MF England ENG Laura Coombs
8 FW Australia AUS Mary Fowler
9 FW England ENG Chloe Kelly
11 FW England ENG Lauren Hemp
12 MF Sweden SWE Filippa Angeldahl
14 DF England ENG Esme Morgan
15 DF Spain ESP Leila Ouahabi
16 FW England ENG Jess Park
No. Pos. Nation Player
17 FW England ENG Poppy Pritchard
18 DF Netherlands NED Kerstin Casparij
19 FW England ENG Laura Blindkilde
20 MF Netherlands NED Jill Roord
21 FW Jamaica JAM Khadija Shaw
22 GK Scotland SCO Sandy MacIver
25 MF Japan JPN Yui Hasegawa
26 DF Republic of Ireland IRL Tara O'Hanlon
30 DF England ENG Ruby Mace
33 DF Australia AUS Alanna Kennedy
35 GK England ENG Khiara Keating
36 MF England ENG Annie Hutchings
40 GK England ENG Katie Startup (on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion)

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
MF England ENG Jemima Dahou (dual registration at Blackburn Rovers)

Former players[edit]

For details of current and former players, see Category:Manchester City W.F.C. players.

Current technical staff[edit]

As of 4 May 2023[44][45][46]
Name Job Title
Denmark Nils Nielsen Director of Football
Wales Gareth Taylor Head Coach
Republic of Ireland Alan Mahon Assistant Manager
England Chris Williams



  1. ^ James 2019, p. 27.
  2. ^ James 2019, p. 32.
  3. ^ Mather, Neil (28 January 2014). "Guest Blog: Neil Mather on the original City Ladies". Manchester City F.C. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  4. ^ James 2019, p. 37.
  5. ^ James 2019, p. 62.
  6. ^ James 2019, p. 73.
  7. ^ James 2019, p. 78.
  8. ^ James 2019, p. 82.
  9. ^ James 2019, p. 81.
  10. ^ James 2019, p. 84.
  11. ^ James 2019, p. 85.
  12. ^ James 2019, p. 88.
  13. ^ James 2019, p. 126.
  14. ^ James 2019, p. 142-4.
  15. ^ James 2019, p. 144.
  16. ^ "Women's football: Doncaster Belles demotion 'scandalous'". BBC Sport. 26 May 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Manchester City to compete in WSL top tier after restructure". BBC Sport. 26 April 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  18. ^ "Karen Bardsley: Manchester City Ladies sign England goalkeeper". British Broadcasting Corporation. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  19. ^ "Jill Scott: England midfielder joins Manchester City". BBC Sport. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  20. ^ "Steph Houghton signs for City". 5 December 2013. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  21. ^ "Manchester City Women's Football Club re-launched". 23 January 2014. Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  22. ^ "Continental Cup: Manchester City beat Arsenal to win first trophy". BBC Sport. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  23. ^ "City 6 Bristol Academy 1". 27 September 2015. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  24. ^ a b "WSL 1: Manchester City Women 2–1 Notts County Ladies". BBC Sport. 4 October 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  25. ^ "FA WSL breaks attendance records after England's World Cup heroics". Sky Sports. 13 July 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  26. ^ "Christiansen ecstatic with 'exceptional year'". FA WSL. 4 October 2015. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  27. ^ Leighton, Tony. "Manchester City seal Women's Super League title with a 2-0 win over Chelsea". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  28. ^ "Manchester City Women 3 – 0 West Ham United Women". BBC Sport. 4 May 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  29. ^ "Women's Continental League Cup final: Arsenal 0-0 Manchester City (2-4 pens)". BBC Sport. 23 February 2019. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  30. ^ "New York City FC Names Nick Cushing as Assistant Coach". 9 January 2020. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  31. ^ Taylor, Louise (13 October 2022). "Manchester City's Deyna Castellanos: 'I want to change the world a little bit'". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2022.
  32. ^ a b c d "Is Gareth Taylor the right manager for Man City Women?". 19 October 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
  33. ^ a b Taylor, Louise (13 October 2022). "Manchester City's Deyna Castellanos: 'I want to change the world a little bit'". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2022.
  34. ^ a b c d e "Man City Women 2022/23 mid-season review: Standout performer, best signing & more". 25 December 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
  35. ^ a b Ballus, Pol. "Man City Women's high summer turnover: Changing of the guard or a lack of direction?". The Athletic. Retrieved 2 January 2023.
  36. ^ "Man City exodus continues with Bronze exit". 26 May 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
  37. ^ "Lucy Bronze adds to Manchester City Women's high-profile exodus". the Guardian. 26 May 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
  38. ^ "Man City exodus to impact title hopes in increasingly competitive WSL". The Independent. 26 May 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
  39. ^ "Women's Super League Preview: Can Manchester City Recover From Summer Exodus?". The Sportsman. 8 September 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
  40. ^ "Manchester City Need To Keep Hold Of Keira Walsh To Close Gap On WSL Rivals". The Sportsman. 22 August 2022. Retrieved 2 January 2023.
  41. ^ "Manchester City stunned as Rachel Daly inspires Aston Villa to 4-3 WSL win". the Guardian. 18 September 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
  42. ^
  43. ^ "Team". Retrieved 2 July 2022.
  44. ^ "GARETH TAYLOR APPOINTED MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN HEAD COACH". Manchester City FC. 28 May 2020. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  45. ^ "Nils Nielsen joins Manchester City Women as director of football". The Athletic. 4 May 2023. Retrieved 8 May 2023.
  46. ^ "Manchester City Women's Team Players". Manchester City F.C. Retrieved 8 May 2023.

External links[edit]