Newcastle United Women are one step closer to realising their dream of playing in the Women’s Super League (WSL) after achieving promotion from the FA Women’s National League Division One table. The Lady Magpies will now ply their trade in the third tier of the women’s football pyramid after their final day victory over Barnsley Women.
After coming so close to the title last season, Becky Langley and her team were relieved to get over the line on goal difference this time around. Durham Cestria matched Newcastle until the bitter end but fell agonisingly short.
Amanda Staveley has no made no secret of her desire to see the women’s side grow at the same rate as Eddie Howe’s men’s side. Significant time, energy and resources have subsequently been pumped in by the ownership to make sure Langley and her group have the best possible chance of quickfire growth.
Staveley has been a key figure in and around the team, offering words of comfort to the group after last season’s final day heartache, as well as celebrating the side’s recent St James’ Park win with a dance in the dressing room.
“The women’s team is very important. It is an integral part of our plans to develop talent within the Club and to ensure that the women’s game and our team continue to gain increased recognition and following everywhere,” Staveley told the i earlier this year.
“[The vision] is very much like our ambition for the men’s team which is to see it grow and compete for the top trophies from the top division.”
That vision of competing at the very highest level is matched by Langley, who has grand plans for her team in the years to come. “We want to be in the Women’s Super League as quickly as we can,” she said.
“There’s really no ceiling on where this club can go for the women’s and the men’s side, so we just want to get there as quickly as possible. We’re working really hard behind the scenes to make that happen.”
The women’s game is growing at a rapid rate and WSL clubs now bring in significant revenue, attract huge crowds and can spend vast sums of money on the world’s best players. Newcastle still have a long way to go before they are mixing it with the many international superstars who have travelled to the WSL from every corner of the globe.
A host of the Magpies side come from humble beginnings and haven’t featured at the same level as the privileged imports of the footballing world such as Sam Kerr and Vivianne Miedema. Anna Soulsby, for example, is a local lass from Gosforth who had grand ambitions of one day making it as a professional.
Katie Barker, Newcastle’s goalscoring hero, is another who has dramatically improved despite her relative inexperience. The young striker has now been given the ‘best day of her life’ twice in less than a year.
“(It’s) absolutely amazing,” she said after Sunday’s win. “It’s the best day of my life. I said that about St. James’ (last year) but this will top it as we are finally promoted. It’s been so hard this season.”
Tottenham chief Daniel Levy is reportedly keen to explore the option of a closed WSL league where relegation no longer exist. The response to such speculation was one of shock.
Newcastle have a way to go before reaching the top tier but will be hoping such rules won’t be implemented as they rise up the footballing pyramid.
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