It’s time for the Aston Villa Ladies to be funded at a level that can see a strong group of players, some of whom are internationals, play and train at the best of their ability. It’s ludicrous that a club the size of Aston Villa haven’t been doing so already.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
As Aston Villa Ladies bowed out of the SSE Women’s FA Cup this afternoon in a hard-fought game against full-time, professional side West Ham United Women, losing out by only one goal, it’s time to look at the funding available for the Ladies’ side.
In comments made by club CEO Christian Purslow this weekend as 18-year-old Jodie Hutton signed her first professional contract with the club, he remarked that the Aston Villa Ladies need more attention from the higher-ups at Aston Villa so that they can compete at the highest level – saying that the signing of Hutton was only the first step.
For a club of Aston Villa’s stature, the Ladies side should have been at the forefront of the women’s game – with clubs like Reading and Yeovil Town showcasing Premier League women’s teams, and our local rivals Birmingham City having one of the best teams in the country as their team sits fourth in the FA Women’s Super League table.
In the Women’s Championship, Manchester United has a full-time side, and their club’s investment into the players, equipment and more is showing as the side sit second, compared to the seventh place of Aston Villa Ladies. Tottenham Hotspur Ladies are a part-time side that have recently had their funding improved, and they sit at the peak of the league.
It begs the question of why the ladies haven’t received funding sooner, having been officially affiliated with the club since 1996. The side have lost some real talent in their history to ‘bigger’ teams because of their stature. It boils down to a severe lack of funding.
With international level players in the squad, and signings coming from abroad in the form of Dutch midfield maestro Nadine Hanssen, there have been improvements in the level of football being played and the sides footing in the game.
Investments have been made in regards to the coaching staff too, with new coach Gemma Davies arriving last summer. There’s a real belief in the current crop of players and management staff, and this belief is coming across on the pitch, as shown by a quality display against a full time side in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup today.
The side have a proud history – gaining promotion to the Northern Division of the FA Women’s Premier League in 1998, and then gaining promotion to the National Division in 2011 after thirteen seasons in the Northern. In 2013, they won their first ever trophy, the Women’s Premier League Cup, beating Leeds United.
They also run a number of sides at youth level, under the guide of Football Association approved Regional Talent Clubs, allowing the Aston Villa Ladies to develop talent from the local area from the ages of ten and up.
James Rushton of 7500 to Holte agrees with the sentiment, saying:
“I think we can see what this team can do and the talent within it. It’s got a home in Boldmere and it’s got a swelling support base.
They have made a positive move by signing Jodie Hutton, but this needs to expanded on. They need to go full time, giving the players a wage or at least the compensation and equipment to compete at the highest level.”
The Ladies side has such a positive impact on the local community, and inspires young girls to have an interest in playing, or at the very least watching women’s football – which is something truly special as the women’s game moves ever closer to the forefront of the modern game.
It’s not the case that Aston Villa Ladies need to get promoted, or do better on the pitch to warrant such funding. They’re already playing incredibly well, as showcased by the game today. Under new ownership, and with a new CEO, the plans should certainly be put into motion for the club to move forwards and reach a level that bequests a club the size of Aston Villa.