News broke yesterday that the results from this season’s FA Womens National League are to be expunged and there will be no promotion or relegation from their league, due to the unprecedented circumstances around the coronavirus outbreak.
The response on social media from my fellow Sunderland AFC Ladies fans has seen a mix of anger and frustration. I think we all accept that football is not significant in comparison to people’s health, however the decision is still a blow to all connected to the club.
After reading the club statement in response to the decision, they have given a typically classy reply, which is very much in keeping with the management and players performances and superb attitude shown throughout the season.
If the situation at the top of the table had been closely fought, I believe supporter frustration would not have been as palpable - add to this, the past grievances with the FA that still run deep. However, 11 points clear of their nearest rivals with so few games left to play has caused the annoyance from supporters.
Having watched the ladies this season, I know that they’ll use this setback as further motivation to win promotion next season. When I contacted one of the players, they were understandably gutted by the decision of the FA. It’s annoying that the FA are still trying to find a solution to completing the season for the two top leagues in women’s football. If a solution is still a possibility for those leagues, why not just wait for others as well?
When looking back on the so called season that never was, no supporter will forget the absolutely fantastic performances the Ladies have produced this season.
The records may not show the prolific goal haul of the deadly Galloway. We know though. The opposition know. She’ll come back even better next season. The defence marshalled superbly by the imperious Potts. The back four will be even more mean and compact next season. The absolute class of Ramshaw and Lambert in midfield will be more dominant and industrious. The effervescent Herron has got games, goals and assists under her belt. She’s coming back established and better for the experience.
The FA can’t take that away.
The lasses are there to be shot at next season. Their opponents know how good they are. They know Sunderland Ladies were champions even if it’s not officially recognised.
We as fans also recognise them as champions. The decision won’t take away the experience the players gained against WSL opposition and the enjoyment we have had watching a team of hard-working, talented and skilful players and an intelligent management team led by the highly respected Melanie Reay. The players and fans will be even more determined to show themselves to be the best in the league next season. Stay safe everyone.