This Sunday sees FGR Women back in league action as they travel to Liskeard Athletic for their opening fixture of the SWRWFL Premier Division season.
The match will be the first competitive fixture for Neil Moore as manager of FGR Women. You can read our recent interview with him here.
FGR Women have retained a lot of the squad from last season, with the like of Sam Morris, Hattie Jones, Louise Fensome and Charlie Rowlands forming a strong spine to the team, supported by younger players like Boyd and Rucker. There have also been some new additions to the squad with the likes of Caitlin Leach added to the ranks, having previously played for Bristol City.
Ahead of FGRs trip to Liskeard Athletic we spoke to Liskeard manager Lee Mann who gives us a fantastic insight on the Cornish side who won the Division One West title last season.
Lee, firstly, congratulations on your title and promotion – you had a successful season, could you sum up what it meant to the club?
Adding the women’s team to Liskeard was massive for the club and very well supported. Winning the league meant the world to the club as it meant that all the hard work behind the scenes paid off. But was equally amazing for the girls after being frustrated by not being able to play for so long due to Covid.
You had some really good performances against higher opposition, defeating St Austell (who won this league last season) and reaching the FA Cup proper where you faced Cheltenham (who won the title in the league above this one) – does that experience help as you move into and prepare for this league?
We had some fantastic performances and we learn from every game. But when you turn up against sides that you aren’t expected to beat and get a positive result then that gives the girls the belief that hard work on and off the pitch gets you results and you get out what you put in.
You had a number of players who played the majority of your games including golden boot winner Chloe Williams. How important were those players and have you managed to keep your squad together ahead of this season?
We have retained all of the players from last year and added some very good talented girls, Chloe Willams had a fantastic season and is a massive player for us but on the flip side players who work hard behind her have a big part to play in Chloe’s success. We have signed couple more goal scorers this year Sam Metters, Eve Moore who are both clinical in front of goal.
There’s obviously a lot of focus on women’s football following the Lionesses historic summer, but in Cornwall there already seemed to be a boom with clubs earning promotion in their respective leagues or performing well in cups – is that something you’ve felt and is there a sense of momentum in Cornish women’s football?
There’s so much talent in Devon and Cornwall with regards to ladies football and has been for a long time and it’s only getting better, I get on well with Simon Parnell and Ben Cooper at St Austell and they have done fantastic job there, also the work that Ryan Perks and his team at Argyle are doing is only helping with the academies etc. I have played and been around football a long time yet I really can’t explain the feeling you get when you’re around ladies football, it’s the best feeling in the world, it has definitely helped me mentally in the past 12/18 months.
I have played and been around football a long time yet I really can’t explain the feeling you get when you’re around ladies football, it’s the best feeling in the world, it has definitely helped me mentally in the past 12/18 months.
Finally who is in the dugout, are there any players fans should look out for and what should we expect from a Liskeard team?
Last season it was myself and my other half, this year i have added Simon Wallace, who comes with fantastic knowledge of ladies football and a very high standard of coaching and Sam Borthwick, who is a very good friend and another very good coach who lives and breathes football. The four of us make sure the girls have everything they need to just turn up and play football. The social media is fantastic and Janina spends a lot of time and effort on this and it’s getting better every week.
Any side of mine is always told to match the work rate the management team put in outside of training and match days. They will always work hard and will never be afraid of any team we play. We can be a very good footballing side but also know how to dig deep and get a game won. There is only one goal this year and that’s promotion and the girls are up for the challenge!