Watford F.C. Women

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Watford F.C. Women
Full nameWatford F.C. Women
Nickname(s)The Golden Girls
Founded2014; 8 years ago (2014)
GroundGrosvenor Vale
Capacity4,085
ManagerGifton Noel-Williams (interim)
LeagueFA Women's National League South
2021–22FA Women's Championship 12th of 12 (relegated)

Watford F.C. Women are an English women's football club affiliated to Watford F.C., that play in the FA Women's Championship. They played in the FA Women's Super League (FA WSL) 2nd Division since the league's inception in 2014, after finishing runners-up in the FA Women's Premier League in 2013, until 2018–19. The club played in the third tier of the pyramid from 2018–19 to 2020–21, following a league restructure. They currently play their home games at Grosvenor Vale the home of Wealdstone F.C. in the FA Women's National League.

History[edit]

Back in 2013 the Hornets finished second in the FA Women's Premier League. On the pitch success was matched off the pitch as the club's application for a license to compete in the newly formed Women's Super League 2 was accepted.

The inaugural season got underway in April 2014, and the first game for Watford resulted in a 2–2 draw against Millwall Lionesses, with 330 in attendance. Impressive form away from home meant that Watford were in third place as the season approached the half-way point; however, some misfortune with injuries meant this form couldn't be maintained, and the club finished seventh.

The follow-up season ultimately proved to be a difficult one in terms of results, but there was success in other avenues. Watford's opening home league game against Aston Villa was held at Vicarage Road and attracted a fantastic crowd of 1,102. It wasn't the only impressive attendance of the season, as respective crowds of 465 (v Yeovil) and 514 (v Durham) saw the team play at Berkhamsted FC.

The team line up against MK Dons in 2020

Having taken over the managerial position in the 2011–12 season and the general manager role for the start of the WSL, John Salomon had plenty to do with the upward trajectory at the Hornets. He stepped down from both roles at the end of the season to begin a new role with the FA. It meant there were two positions to fill. Ellie Kemp came on board as general manager, while Katie Rowson took on the position of head coach.

The third season again proved to be a difficult one on the field, but back-to-back home wins were recorded against Everton and Oxford United. Most importantly it was a campaign where Watford Ladies came under the umbrella of Watford FC for the first time, with the men's set-up giving plenty of support. One of the big changes was the club moving away from the grassroots set-up and Watford Ladies Youth.

With the WSL transitioning from a summer league to a winter league, it meant a mini nine-game season took place at the beginning of 2017. It was a much better time on the pitch, as the Golden Girls led by new head coach Keith Boanas earned eight points in a five-game period, more than they had earned in the entirety of either 2015 or 2016.

Watford also moved to a new home ground, with Kings Langley becoming the home of the Hornets, a partnership that continues to be fruitful for both to this day. Ed Henderson had helped stabilise the club during the Spring Series, having taken over as interim general manager. His work continued in the summer as he secured several new sponsorships and continued to build the profile of Watford, with 823 turning up for the game against Arsenal. It was another challenging season, however there were plenty of bright spots in the second half of 17–18. Armand Kavaja and Clinton Lancaster were put in charge and handed a number of young players their opportunities in the first-team fold. The coaching staff had played a big role in developing the players and performances were much-improved towards the end, with a 2–1 win at Oxford United the highlight.

The new make-up of the Women's football pyramid was confirmed on 28 May 2018 and despite a strong application, Watford were put in the FA Women's National League (Tier 3) rather than the FA Women's Championship (Tier 2).

In September 2019, Clinton Lancaster took the position of head coach, with Kavaja taking up an assistant role.[1] The Golden Girls were on-track for potential promotion when the 2019–20 season was declared null and void due to the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.[2]

The name 'Watford FC Women' replaced the name 'Watford FC Ladies' in August 2020, with the club saying the new name was "representative of a modern view on language and equality and is in keeping with the way our governing bodies, supporters, squad and management regard the women's game".[3]

In the 2020–21 season, Watford were promoted back into the second tier after a three season absence, due to The FA approving the club’s application for upward movement.[4]

In the middle of 2022 Watford F.C. Women agreed to play the upcoming season at Grosvenor Vale the home of Wealdstone F.C..[5] and on 1 July they signed striker Bianca Baptiste from Crystal Palace to join them for their 2022/2023 season.[6]

League[edit]

Cup[edit]

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 20 August 2022

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 Georgie Ferguson
2 MF England ENG Nicola Gibson
3 DF England ENG Emily Wallace
4 DF England ENG Ylenia Priest
5 DF England ENG Anne Meiwald
6 MF England ENG Francesca Ali
7 FW England ENG Annie Rossiter [7]
8 FW England ENG Bianca Baptiste
9 FW England ENG Gemma Davison
10 FW Wales WAL Helen Ward
11 FW England ENG Adekite Fatuga-Dada
13 GK England ENG Jacqueline-Anne Goldsmid
No. Pos. Nation Player
14 DF Wales WAL Morgan Rogers
15 MF Cyprus CYP Andria Georgiou
16 DF England ENG Melis Mehmet
17 MF England ENG Megan Chandler
18 MF England ENG Poppy Wilson
19 MF Republic of Ireland IRL Allison Palisch
20 MF Wales WAL Scarlett Williams
21 FW England ENG Flo Fyfe
22 MF England ENG Jade Bradley
23 DF England ENG Kalani Peart
24 DF England ENG Lois Edwards
25 DF England ENG Grace Garrad

Former players[edit]

Club officials and support staff[edit]

Position Name
General Manager England Amber Wildgust
Football Secretary England Simon Wheeler
1st Team Head Coach England Clinton Lancaster
First-Team Coach Albania Armand Kavaj
First-Team Coach England Laura Dyer
Goalkeeping Coach Albania Ilirjan Memaj
Strength and Conditioning Coach Poland Mikolaj Pujdak
Club Doctor England Nishal Shah
Press Officer England Christopher Smith

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Staff Profiles: Clinton Lancaster". watfordfc.com. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  2. ^ "Statement: Ladies Season Ends With Immediate Effect". watfordfc.com. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Statement: Watford FC Women Name Change". watfordfc.com. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Women: Promotion To Championship Confirmed!". www.watfordfc.com. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  5. ^ "Watford Women to play at the Vale". 28 June 2022.
  6. ^ "Women: Bianca Baptiste Signs". www.watfordfc.com. Retrieved 1 July 2022.
  7. ^ "Women's Team Players".
  8. ^ "Meet Adekite Fatuga-Dada, who has spent HALF her life at Watford as the Hornets' longest serving player".