Roker Report: Our usual opener - how long have you supported Liverpool Women and what brought you to watch them in the first place?
Ley: As with a lot of fans, I played football when younger and have always had a passion for the sport. I went to Blackburn for the Euros in 2005 and really enjoyed watching the matches.
In 2012 I watched several games at the olympics and with the shake up of the womens leagues and creation of the WSL in 2011 decided to go along to the Liverpool Ladies games. The 2013 season was the first time I consistently went to games and I was impressed with Matt and the team. I have a long family link to Liverpool and although I am not from the city, there’s absolutely no way I could support Everton, or a Manchester based club had they have been in the league at the time.
Heather Carroll used to write a blog about the club and during the 2013 & 2014 seasons I met her and fellow fans. A small group became larger and the social aspect of being a fan became a huge part of our lives. This is what has kept me coming back to football. The friends made and the family feeling of club and fan relationship has been pivotal for a lot of the supporters.
RR: 9 points clear at the top - do you think anything can stop the Reds getting back to the WSL this time around and do you think they’ll cope in the top flight?
Ley: Without jinxing it no haha. We have a good lead and the confidence is so high in the squad that I can’t see us slipping up. This team for me personify togetherness. They fight for each other, the club and the fans.
I think we’ll be fine in the WSL. It may take a season to bed in and we may see some new faces to strengthen the squad but I’d definitely expect a mid table finish. Our game with Arsenal will be a good measure. Matt has a lot of experience with WSL as do our players.
RR: Sunderland fans know all about Lawsy and Furney… but who are some of the lesser known players who’ve impressed you this season and what do you like about them?
Ley: How can you not know about Furney and Lawsy Robes consistently good in the back 3 which goes unnoticed at times and she’s amazing in a 1 on 1. Jasmine Matthews is also amazing but is unlikely to be playing. Obviously for us there’s Leanne Kiernan, unlucky with an injury at West Ham but she’s been flying since scoring her first goals for the club, which we knew she would be after seeing her previously.
Charlotte Wardlaw definitely deserves a shout. The performances shes put in this season are beyond her years and she’s got a great career ahead of her. Taylor Hinds is like a secret assassin and her work rate is phenomenal. I could honestly mention the entire team for a number of reasons.
RR: Who’ve been your toughest opponents this season?
Ley: There’s no one team in this league that I feel have been or could be our toughest opponent. I think this is a very interesting league and at the start of the season it was exceptionally difficult to predict who’d be where at this stage of the season.
Bristol always give us a good game and can be one of those teams where you just don’t know how the game will end.
You guys went ahead against us in the reverse fixture and we had to show a different side to get back in the game. I absolutely loved that match and the way we fought
There’s the psychological element to Durham and the fact they always start so strong but also Blackburn have previously been a nemesis when coming up against them so this season was really enjoyable to beat them the way we have.
RR: Obviously we took you to penalties (and won) in the Conti Cup at the end of 2021. What have you made of Sunderland this season?
Ley: The start you had was great and a little unexpected after being away from the league. Results against Sheffield United last time out was a good one but I think you are sitting where we would of put you at the start of the season
RR: What can Sunderland supporters expect at Prenton Park? Is the fan experience good?
Ley: Fans can expect a lot of noise haha as we showed in the away game. That’s what we are known for within the womens game and are proud of it. For the kids there’s a football area outside and Mighty Red does the rounds. Not much for the older fans. We have a good MATCHDAY programme priced £2.50. There’s currently no meet and greets after the game still but we respect that and can’t wait to talk to the players again. We have a great relationship with the players and staff.
RR: Finally, your prediction for the match?
Ley: I think it’ll be 2-0 to Liverpool.