In their quest to become a dominant force in women’s football, Aston Villa may knock their noisy neighbours off their perch.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
For many years Aston Villa have enjoyed dominance over their bitter rivals Birmingham City in all areas but one – women’s football.
The clubs so-called ‘noisy neighbours’ have reigned over the women’s game in the Midlands for a prolonged period of time and host a similar honour to Aston Villa in that Birmingham City Women were founding members of the FA Women’s Super League just nine years ago.
They have won the FA Women’s Cup, during the 2011/2012 season, and have finished runners up in the same competition in 2017. The Blues have also finished runners up in the FA Women’s Super League, in 2011 and 2012, and in the Continental Cup in the same years.
A number of high-profile players have also enjoyed time at Birmingham City Women, including Rachel Yankey, Alex Scott, Ellen White and Aston Villa Women’s newly-appointed Sporting Director Eniola Aluko, all of whom enjoyed international careers.
Today, they are not enjoying the same successes and are currently the side in the Women’s Super League to have amassed the most losses across the season so far – sitting a singular point and two league positions above the relegation zone, currently occupied by Bristol City Women.
Just below them sit Liverpool Women – who Aston Villa Women were able to beat during the Continental Cup group stage, and just above them sit Brighton & Hove Albion who knocked Gemma Davies’ side out of the FA Women’s Cup in the fifth round just a few weeks ago.
Aston Villa Women have proven that they can match Women’s Super League sides over the course of this season – beating Everton in a pre-season friendly, losing against unbeaten outfit Chelsea in the Continental Cup but showcasing exceptional defensive ability whilst doing so, and fighting valiantly against Brighton.
Moreso, they have outgrown the FA Women’s Championship this season, showcased by their five-point lead at the top of the table (with a game in hand), whilst remaining unbeaten and with the second strongest goal difference in the league.
If Birmingham City Women remain in the top division, you would imagine that momentum would be on Aston Villa Women’s side across their first season at the peak of English women’s football – and with improved investment, knowledge and experience around the club – it won’t be long until the Boldmere St. Michaels outfit find themselves as the stand-out, exceptional side in the Midlands.
For this side, the concentration remains solely on achieving their promotion goal – but the added reward of potentially taking to the regional pedestal is sure to season their achievements a little.
First the Midlands, then Europe – eh, Ladies?