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Good evening and welcome to a new series of the Women's Football Show.
Manchester City were crowned WSL champions for the first time in
their history last season. Will they want again be the team to beat
domestically and in Europe? -- will Baby once again the team to beat?
Yes, Manchester City aiming to prove unstoppable as they chase a travel
Champions League, FA Cup and the Spring Series. A one-off competition
created to bridge the gap between seasons as the WSL transitions from
a summer league to a more traditional football calendar. We
have got our on unstoppable forces denied, Alex Scott and Rachel. We
will be checking in with Manchester City shortly, but we begin with the
news that on Friday morning Notts County Ladies players and staff were
told the club were financially unable to stay afloat and would fold
on the eve of the new season. Having only come into existence
three years ago after relocating from Lincoln, local businessman Alan
Hardy, who purchased Notts County's men's and women's clubs November,
has reluctantly admitted defeat in his bid to restructure the 6-figure
debt incurred by the previous owner. In March, a winding-up petition was
adjourned for a second time, giving Notts County until July three to pay
debts owed to inland revenue and Customs. With projected revenue from
attendances and sponsorship are set against operating costs of
approximately half ?1 million, Hardy said continuing would have been
little short of financial suicide. It is a very sad day for me
financially, he said, and supporters should rest assured I left no stone
unturned in my quest to save the club.
It doesn't seem real. Yesterday we were training. We were looking
forward to playing Arsenal on Sunday. Today the club does not
exist any more. People were upset. Livelihoods have been ruined. It is
pretty heartbreaking. We are all kind of left in a boat that is
sinking very quickly. Speculation emerged that two Premier
League clubs were interested in buying the WSL license but the FA
responded with the following statement.
Notts County have officially withdrawn from the Spring Series,
which will be contested by the nine remaining teams, with an
announcement about their replacement for 2017-18 to follow at a later
date. Of more immediate concern is the uncertain future faced by the
staff and the players from Notts County.
Devastating news for everybody involved. A big blow for women's
football. The FA say their priority of the players and they will work
closely with them, the PFA and wider stakeholders to support them through
this time, the most important thing being the players and staff. What is
your reaction, Rachel? The timing seems to be the key thing. A lot of
people shocked at it happening two days before the start of the Spring
Series? It seems crazy. Few months before a number of these players
will be stepping out to play for England in biggest tournament coming
up. Alan Hardy, the chairman, didn't even tell the players themselves.
They found out five minutes before it went public. So many things were
wrong about the announcement, yet alone -- let alone the consequence,
which means Notts County are no longer in existence. A lot of anger
on social media. Alex, you were supposed to play in Notts County.
Have you spoken to the players? What can you say, you can only show
empathy of what they are going through. It is the hard situation.
One moment they are preparing to play us and then their lives are
turned around. They are left without a job, some are homeless and they
are preparing for the European Championships, some of them. The PFA
say they are hopeful players will be granted special dispensation to move
outside of the transfer window, but it is a fluent situation because
liquidators need to assess assets. It is complicated and it could take
some time. The players of any professional clubs are assets. When
liquidators come in, they worked out what the acids are and what they are
worth. Who knows how long that process will take? Until that
happens, players can't Mike Sherman -- players can't move on. Where did
they move to due clubs have already budgeted for the next year. Do they
have room in their squad? Do they have money left to pay these
players? Summoning unanswered questions. This is a unique
position. I just hope the welfare of the players is paramount. That these
players can find a club and get back on the training pitch. It does sound
like they are the priority. But going back to the money, if you look
at the projected revenues, ?28,000 coming in but half ?1 million in
operating costs. The figures don't add up. What does this mean in terms
of progress? In terms of ticket sales, yes. We want the game to be
open to families. It is different to the men's game. With that, you will
not generate a lot of revenue from ticket sales. Where clubs need to be
smart, where they need to generate income, you will use the girls as
commercial assets, market them and use them in the wider community to
generate money from a different strain. An extremely difficult time
for everybody involved. We wish them all the best. Manchester City have
signalled their intent to secure more silverware with the signing of
Carli Lloyd on a short-term deal from Houston. Ahead of city's
Champions League semifinal tie against Lyon, Sue Smith sat down
with her. She has won two Fifa player of the year awards, two
Olympic medals, and a hat-trick in the World Cup final in Vancouver.
It was one of those -- those moments where I was in the zone, I was super
focus, I wanted to win. You dream of doing something like that.
What a goal! Carli Lloyd has a hat-trick inside 16 minutes.
It brings chills to my arms still thinking about it. I was waiting and
waiting and waiting and when it went in I was like, oh my gosh. I ran
back to hope and she has our arms around me and she said, are you even
human? Are you superhuman? No. It's called just working extremely,
extremely hard. My life changed completely after the
2015 World Cup, which was great. It took some getting used to. President
Obama, what was he saying to you when he was holding your hand?
Everybody seems to be laughing. He was talking about the moment I
scored the third goal. I remember he asked what I ate for breakfast that
morning. If you had to pick three words to sum yourself up, what would
they be? I would probably say relentless, professional and German.
I don't ever switch off. It is one of those things where, if the
football aspect of your life is going well, the rest of your life is
going well. But if the football isn't going well, it drives me
insane off the pitch. I look at all these moments and
these are all glorious moments. What isn't up here is the hard, tough
moments that I had to go through, the struggles, the obstacles. Those
moments have helped me propellant to the biggest stage. -- propel onto.
You nearly turned your back on the game in 2004? I was cut from the
under 21 national team by Mike coach and I figured I would quit because I
didn't know how to overcome that. I was going to finish out my
collegiate career. That is when my dad reached out to James and said,
my daughter really needs somebody to work with. Can you train her?
James, my trainer, he is the wizard, the brains behind how fit I am, how
strong I am, how I deal with certain situations. If it weren't for him, I
wouldn't be standing here. I would never have accomplished all of this.
I think what's amazing about James is he never had announce of doubt. I
had some doubt. I asked my self over and over, can I really become the
best player in the world? Is it really going to happen? When is it
could happen? If I had to do it all over again, and weighed 13 years to
stand on that stage receiving my trophy as Fifa's best player in the
world, I would probably do it the same way. It takes is that much
sweeter that you had to work so hard to reach a point like that. I was
probably more nervous at that moment wedding to have my name called and I
was in the world Cup final. I was super nervous because you can
control what you do on the pitch. But this, it is voting. You just
don't know. I obviously train to win team events, but for an individual,
this is something I was going after for some time. Who is the best
player you have played with? With? You know, Kelly Smith. I actually
got to play with her when I was young, in my high school days. She
was someone I thought to myself, wow, she is great. You still as
hungry for success? I am. There are still people out there and look at
my age and say, she is 34. But bring it on. People have died of me ever
since I started and I have made them eat their words and I will continue
doing that. I still have a lot in me and I think my best is yet to come.
It has been amazing. The girls have been amazing. Great. Lots of
characters. Weird acts and is? May be the Scouse accent! -- accents.
They speak a different language, that is for sure. When they are
speaking with one another I'm like, what did you guys say? I don't know
if it is something I will ever learn. Some of your team-mates have
come across as well. Heather O'Reilly, Crystal Dawn. Karen Hauer
league get to the level it is in America, a world-class league? I
definitely think so. The biggest thing is the funding. At Manchester
City they treat the men world-class and they treat the women world-class
as well. I have been impressed. There are some great players. We
play really good soccer, or football. It's great. Do you think
you may come back to women's Super League or finish in America? I don't
know. It is a really good question. That is the first question I have
been asked as far as that. I'm not sure. I'm open to all possibilities.
As we get closer to the 2019 World Cup and the 2020 Olympics, that will
pretty much, if all goes well, be the end of my career. But I'm just
taking it as it comes right now. I am really loving it. Is there a
possibility of coming back and re-signing? Absolutely? The
Champions League, is that one of the main reasons why you came to
Manchester City? Yes. With Nick reaching out, that was one of the
big draws. He wanted someone of my stature who could help with the
experience. Just be a good role model here. Do you think you will go
in against Lyon and take the game to them? What I have always done with
my career is it is not about the opponent, it is not about any one
particular player. Yes, Alex Morgan is on that team. But at the end of
the day I'm competing against myself. And I'm competing against
being better than I was in previous games. It will be tough. France has
some amazing players who play for Lyon. At the end of the day we just
have too worry about us and what we can do and what we control. We will
be OK. Kylie Leuluai was in the starting
line-up at the academy Stadium on Saturday afternoon, where City phase
told as Lyon in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal.
COMMENTATOR: Swung in and headed off the line by
Tenor stokes was that a handball? Yes it was. Lyon have a penalty. The
arm was raised from the USA captain. Against Bardsley, and scores. The
worst possible start for Manchester City. Lyon take the lead from the
spot. Bardsley going the wrong way. Dispossessed by Walsh.
Birgen fans. Equalisers for Manchester City. Eight minutes after
Lyon take the lead comedy Sweden international makes it 1-1. Uses her
pace to drive away. Good finish as well. Asllani gets a foot in. Morgan
retains possession. Most touch, lasered off. Lyon retake the lead
and it is an excellent team gold. Bardsley was now chance. Lyon coming
forward again. Looking for Morgan. Bardsley out well to smother. Again,
Lyon showing plenty of verve and vigour attacking the Manchester City
penalty area. The England goalkeeper does well. The ball in, looking for
Le Sommer. Lyon take real control in this tie. Eugenie Le Sommer shows
her quality with a cracking finish. Can Manchester City haul themselves
back into this game? It is off the post, the initial effort from
McManus. Christians and will try to play this on. It goes behind and it
will be a mountain the Manchester City to climb in the second leg in
France -- Christiansen. We heard Carly telling some part of the major
attraction for moving to Manchester City was playing in the Champions
League, so I can only imagine she would have been really unhappy to
concede a penalty in the first few minutes without handball. It wasn't
the ideal start. Whether she was a bit hyped up, she has been in
high-pressure situations before. She does have her arm raised as the ball
was played and it hits her arm in a none position. The referee has no
option other than to give a penalty. Not a great start for City at all.
But we see for the second goal, Maroszan, Carly Booth is best to be
marking her. -- Carly Lloyd ASBOs to be marking
her. She would be disappointed. Lyon have won three in the Champions
League. Alex, your team were the last British team to make a European
final decade ago, were you playing them? A decade ago! Showing my age!
It will be a huge task for them to climb, not a start they wanted, but
it has taken a team of Lyon's calibre to exploit the City defence
because we haven't seen that in the WSL. I would like them to show they
have nothing to lose was the batting lower spaces in Lyon's defence,
which result from the girl. How important is the presence of Carli
Lloyd, not only of the pitch but on the pitch as well, where she heard
her described herself as relentless, professional, driven. I loved that
interview with Carli Lloyd. The words she uses, for every young
female and male players watching that interview, it is not about
talent, you need more than talent, it gets you through the door but it
is not enough to stay there, it is about your mentality and drive to
stay there and do it consistently. Like she said, it has taken her 13
years to become the best player in the world and jackets working and
she wants more. And to think she nearly gave it all up at one point.
That was the turning point. That switch. That is robust calibre of
player brings to the WSL, because she has won World Cups, she has
captain, bringing other players over, the likes of crystal done,
Heather O'Reilly. Coming back to the WSL, but those US national women's
team players they are winners, that is something England players don't
have and can learn from. Despite defeat to Lyon, there was some good
news for Manchester City after Lucy Cammack were bronze was named
women's players Player of the Year for the second time. -- Lucy Bronze.
Deserving of that win? Absolutely. She has been phenomenal for both
club and country. Alex has a great knowledge of what it takes to be a
wonderful right back. Lucy has good defensive quality. It is her
attacking prowess that makes her stand out and has probably won her
the representation from her fellow players. She sees the space, the
12s. That was the blueprint that Manchester City had all last year
and was really why I believe they won the league and have been so
successful. She just exploit space over and over. That attacking tactic
was why there were so good. She really does live up to her middle
name, Tough. Did you vote for her? She was another one, yesterday when
I was speaking to her, but like Carli Lloyd, it occur 13 years, but
I told her she needs to do that and have the time because I believe
Lucie Kankova on to be one of the best players in the world. A good
night the full-backs with just Carter named young Player of the
Year after a superb debut season in 2016. We can have a look at the tomb
of the year as well. Rachel, do you think there's anyone missing from
that list? We were debating this before. Kira Walsh with Man City was
excellent. I think Nikita Parris had a fabulous season for Man City. She
broke into the senior side. She is tenacious and her play. She might
feel hard done by that she is not on that list. Kelly Smith gets a second
shout out. Carli Lloyd says she is the best pleasures are played
against Antonacci has won a special achievement award. Rightly so. 117
caps, her career spans longer than probably most people. Phenomenal
player. When you have players like Lucy Bronze saying it was her dream
come true just to be on the same pitch as Kelly Smith, it shows how
much Kelly Smith has been such a role model for the young players
coming through. Caroline Weir made it into the tomb of the year. She
was involved for Liverpool as the spring series got underway. They
face newly promoted your Poole Town, aiming to build upon glasses and's
extraordinary achievements. Jamie Sherwood's side fired expectations
in 2016, in front of a record crowd on the final day of the season they
beat Sheffield FC to beat local rivals Bristol City WSL title. We
all do this part time, we are not here for the money, it is true
determination, true character, it is all about family and that is what we
are, we have come a long way and we deserve it. Yeovil Town will need to
draw on that unity as the club aim to compensate for having one of the
more modest budgets in the Super League, so could the Lady make an
immediate impact when they kicked off the made in top-flight campaign
against Liverpool? COMMENTATOR: An historic day for Yeovil Town, their
first match of the top flight of women's football after winning
promotion as champions from WSL2 glasses on. They have already played
once. They were knocked out of the FA Cup in the last 62. The big team
news, the return of striker Sarah Wiltshire, she gave birth to her
daughter Alexa in February and after a short loan spell at Cambridge
United she is back in the Yeovil Town squad and named on the bench
will stop Nicola cousins returns in the fence. Liverpool were knocked
out of the FA Cup semifinals by Manchester City last weekend, two
judges for them. Casey Stoney is out so Sophie Inglot lobsters at the
heart. Caroline Weir comes in and Laura clones, who signed permanently
for Chelsea after a successful loan spell last season, also starts. The
head of kick a bit of a mix-up with the Liverpool kit. It didn't arrive
in Somerset, so Liverpool will be playing in your Poole Town's away
strip, not their traditional red. -- Yeovil will be playing. Here,
Liverpool, played out the Hodgson. A bit of a clash. It will be a free
kick to Liverpool. Nicola Cousins on Caroline Weir. Alex Greenwood with
the delivery. Might fall here for Harding. Saved and off the line by
blizzard. -- by Blezard. Really good opportunity, this, for Liverpool.
Yeovil survived. Chance for Liverpool. Very close, can they get
the follow-up? Handball and it will be a penalty kick. Yeovil look at
salute Lee devastated with that. It was her son who had her hand in an
amateur opposition. -- Heatherson. Here is Greenwood. Really good
penalty. Haynes went the right way. 1-0 to Liverpool. She was not far
away from that, Charlotte Haynes. Van de Sanden with a nice ball
forward. Having forced wide. Lovely nutmeg by Harding. Oh so close!
Inches wide. Vital touch by Haynes to prevent Harding from making it
2-0. Into stoppage time. Yeovil made to stand strong. That is another way
through and that is a really poor bit of defensive work from Yeovil.
Jim Obama has got the decisive touch -- Gemma Bonner. She has made it 2-0
to Liverpool Ladies. Liverpool just try and pile on the misery before
the referee blows for half term. It is a shame because Yeovil have
looked better. That is really poor once again. Good saved by Haynes.
Will it be an own goal? Just cleared off the line. A decisive bit of
work. A chance for Yeovil to swing one in. You want a penalty. It was
cousins who went down. The referee unmoved. A nudge in the back there.
Zelem comes into the ball. Van de Sanden. She squares it, here's
Zelem. It will trickle over the line. Katie Zelem makes it 3-0 to
Liverpool. On target, and Haynes just couldn't give it out. Liverpool
heading for a very comfortable victory here. Picked up by Clark.
Harding. Van de Sanden with a little bit of pace. Shanice van de Sanden.
It might fall here for Zelem again and it is four. Two for Katie Zelem,
on as a substitute, and Liverpool now on their way to a very
comfortable victory. Here comes Sarah Wiltshire. Can she
give Yeovil fans something to cheer about? Not a bad delivery. Just
about gathered by Chamberlain. A bit over afters between Jones and Sophie
Ingle. It appears the referee has given a penalty kick. It is for this
altercation. Sarah Wiltshire on her return to Yeovil Town. She buries
it. She sends Chamberlain the wrong way. Yeovil fans have something to
cheer about. A good header. Jones! Not far away.
A comprehensive win. How pleased I you with the performance? We are
delighted. We knew it would be a tough place to come. Yeovil are
riding high. We knew they would be up for this. They made a big deal
out of it. We knew it would be a great occasion and one we had to
turn hold in. The game was there for the taking at 2-0. I do believe
there was a slight push in the back, potential penalty. We have to take
baby steps. We have to learn and enjoy what we have done today but
move forward quickly and learn. You played in Yeovil Town's away kit.
What actually happened? I thought we looked good in it. I thought we
played really well in it. There is no real comment on that.
It is one of them. Wrong kit. A bit like yours, but the wrong -- right
result? Jamie Sherwood says you get punished at this level for the
mistakes you make. Yes. Sunderland hit the ground running when they
came up. The Oval, simple stuff. In defence
they didn't track their markers. Sophie Ingle is free. Gemma Bonner
slots home. It is way too simple. Player takes her eye off and it is
an easy tap in. You get punished in the second division but in the first
division, you will find it difficult to get back into the game. This is
the third goal. Defenders looking at the ball, not the players. Katie
Zelem under no pressure slots home. Way too easy. The final one, the
fourth goal. Another run, no pressure on the ball. Katie Zelem
has time to have a touch. The keeper has to be forward so she is balanced
and can make a dive. Yeovil one of the to part-time teams
in the WSL. A crucial point in the game. Should they have had a
penalty? Absolutely. Yeovil can feel slightly aggrieved. Kate Longhurst
has actually lost our marker. Instead of going for the ball she
has gone straight through the player. That is a clear penalty.
Whether the player would have made contact with the ball is debatable.
But yeah, simple. It is a penalty. Even if they get the penalty, after
30 minutes you could see the difference in the fitness levels.
Liverpool were always going to win. Last season Liverpool finished
mid-table. What do you make of their recruitment? I have been impressed.
Casey Stoney was a fantastic signing. She is a leader at the back
and has partnered Gemma Bonner really well. Bringing in Jess Clarke
as a late signing has been fabulous. What they do have a fairly small
squad. Just thinking about Man City last season, they had the smallest
woman in the league and went on to be invincible.
Two more matches to catch up on. Bristol City Ladies took the field
shortly after the men. They face Reading ladies.
The opening fixture of the Spring Series saw newly promoted Bristol
City take on Reading in front of more than a thousand fans. They
almost got the perfect start, denied by the post. The teams went in level
at half-time. Two minutes after the break Rachel Furness gave the
visitors the lead. With only one win in the WSL campaign last season,
Reading were well on their way to matching the tally in their opening
game. Bristol City were left stunned when a quickfire third by Melissa
Fletcher put the game beyond doubt. Bristol will probably want to forget
the mix-up between defender and goalkeeper. Bristol did get a
consolation late on with arguably the goal of the match. Lauren Hemp
capped off a fluid move. A class between two new managers as
Marc Skinner's Birmingham took on Sunderland. It has been a solid
start for Skinner who has guided the blues to a first FA Cup final in
five years. Charlie Wellings headed over. Last season's strugglers
Sunderland had to stand strong against Birmingham pressure. White
came close to opening the scoring. This free kick was the closest
Sunderland came to scoring. No doubt Melissa Ray will be held the light
-- will have been delighted by the efforts of our team. The point could
prove precious for Sunderland. Very early days, of course. This is
how the Spring Series table looks. Man city and Chelsea not in action
because of city's European commitments.
No relegation and no promotion. Birmingham struggled with goals in
the early part of last season. Goldust today. How do you think they
will progress? They had a great season last year. I think they made
some wonderful signings in the transfer window. They brought in the
likes of the goalkeeper, Berger, and they have done the same in the
off-season. They seem to be ambitious. Bringing in Ellen White
was a fantastic signing. Page Williams as well. Really solid
signings. They are building on their progress. Onwards and upwards, along
with a new manager, Marc Skinner, a young, fresh attitude. Earning are
looking totally different outfit. They have an FA Cup final to look
forward to. -- Birmingham are looking totally different outfits.
Arsenal were supposed to play today against Notts County. I have still
been in training today! We have brought in new players. We lost a
lot of senior players. We need a core group of players. We don't want
an influx every season. It is a chance to give the younger players a
chance to see and they are capable of playing at this level. With no
relegation or promotion, will teams be more experimental? I do,
definitely. There is nothing to lose. It gives them the opportunity
to possibly bring players in ahead of the new season in August,
September. So yeah, it is an opportunity for young players. They
can really make their mark, impressed their managers and
possibly get those contracts. Going into every game, you want to win it.
Newly promoted teams get to play a lot of games? They do. They get to
see what they are going to be up against. Newly promoted teams like
the will have nothing to lose. They will learn a lot of lessons. It
was St George's Day yesterday. We have got just enough time to focus
on England's Lionesses. Mark Sampson made the unconventional decision to
announce which 23 players would be requiring their passports for the
European Championships this summer, three months ahead of the
tournament. I think there were probably a few
people thinking it was a good coal and other people thinking, what is
this Wally doing? Is important we make the big calls at the big -- big
times. We are the best prepared team in Europe and we can focus on the
things we can improve on and make sure that every areas covered by the
first game. It takes away dead. It gives us togetherness to build on
the plans and the game plans, our structure. The reason we named the
squad early as the players will get some clear plans and guidelines
about where they need to be come July. We are now in a place where
this team is ready to win. We are going to this tournament expecting
to go all the way. Even personally speaking, I feel a lot more
confident going into this tournament than the World Cup. There are not
many things that will be thrown at us in the summer that we have an
experience. Particularly if we look at the teams in our group, Scotland,
first major championship, Portugal the same, a Spanish team that's
traditionally disappointed major championships. We have been there,
we have done it, we have won on the biggest stage and we know what it
takes. We can definitely be confident.
Alex, you have made the squad, good news! Mark Sampson talked about
making the big calls at the right time. Does the decision to announce
that the squad early create unity and security for the players?
It is easy for me to say it is the right decision and I understand why
people have been debated it, but I know there are plans already in
place. We're working on fitness, game plan tactics, and things away
from the field. It gives players like Casey Stoner, who has a family,
time to put plans in place. I get the debate. People are saying that
players who have been picked may take their foot off the gas in the
WSL. That is not the case. We don't want to embarrass ourselves. We have
even more work to do to show everyone we deserve our place.
Expectations are very high. Interesting that Mark said form is
not that important. I think sometimes Mark throws things out
there. I wouldn't say it is for a fact but he has these buzzwords.
Maybe that is one of his buzzwords. I think he will look at form.
Players will want to impress and they will want to be absolutely
flying. They will not take their foot off the pedal. I'm sure all of
the players will be fine and be on form. Four of those players from
Notts County are in the squad as well? That is massively unfortunate.
I hope they can find clubs soon as soon as possible. They are losing
days right now not having a club and team-mates to train with, will not
been able to build on the tactical building blocks. All these things
Alex was talking about. They are not getting the day-to-day contact time.
I am sure they will have -- will be trying to bridge that gap.
Let's look at the fixtures. Are you looking forward to England and
Scotland? Already smiling. Everybody wanted to see this happen. As soon
as Scotland qualified, everybody was wishing for this fixture. This is
where rankings go out the window. We know this is more than England
versus Scotland. It is that rivalry. An exciting way to get the
championships way. Portugal and Spain also in the group? Spain have
improved year-on-year. Some of the players who outplayed for Barcelona
are outstanding. They are the rise. Portugal is their first tournament.
You don't know what to expect. They don't know what to expect. It will
be exciting. European teams play the same and are hard to break down.
Given England's World Cup finish, third, what are your predictions?
Not this bit! In England. I'd like to go out with a win, of course.
There will be full coverage of the European Championships in Holland.
We will be back next Sunday night talking all things Arsenal and
Scotland with Kim Little. Thank you to our guests, Rachel Brown-Finnis
and Alex Scott. The WSL is back and Liverpool started the new series --
series with a spring in their step. Bye for now.
MUSIC: Pure And Simple by Hear'Say It's like old times!