Rich Speight: Right, I’ll try not to keep you too long - every minute of training is really important. So first of all, top performance at the weekend. I’ve seen the highlights and watched the replay and there were some cracking saves there, like...
Claudia Moan: Oh, thanks.
RS: It’s international women’s day and there have been loads of things posted by clubs on social media. How important do you think it is to have days like today in the calendar, to like celebrate women’s achievements and also highlight some of the discrimination that still exists in society?
CM: I think it’s really important. I mean, over the years, it’s got better and better and it is still getting better and better, but at the same time, there is still a lot of negative talk online about women as a whole. In the footballing world, as soon as there’s a little clip of a female footballer making a mistake, it’s all over social media as a laugh and it needs to stop really.
And so it still has quite a bit to go. But I think days like today are really important going forward for the future.
RS: What do you think are the biggest challenges that women’s football in general faces right now. Cause obviously there’s a lot that has improved. But there’s still a long way to go. So what do you think are the main challenges? Are there things that you think maybe could be tweaked or changed that would help the game to develop?
CM: Yeah. I mean, I think it’s just the support from like all backgrounds. So from like the FA and from each team’s social media and each team’s fans. Like bringing more attention to the actual women’s game because I think a lot of people see it as nothing much and don’t look into it. So they’ll just turn a blind eye and I think that the more people look at getting into it, the more they see it and what it’s actually like, it should be taken more seriously than what it is. And I think getting that support from the FA or whoever it is that’s running like the cup or whatever in the league, I think that would boost the women’s game as a whole.
RS: Yeah, totally. So looking back then, obviously, you've been involved in football since you were little. But how did you first get started, because everyone’s journey seems to be slightly different?
CM: I think I was about eight. I always enjoyed sports at school, but my friend’s dad just knocked on my door, asked my mam if I wanted to play goalkeeper for the boys team. Grangetown FC. And I had one season there and then I got into Sunderland RTC for two years in the Under 12s.
But then they got their license took off them, so I had a year at Lumley Ladies, and then I went back to the centre.
RS: You’re a Sunderland fan, aren’t you?
CM: Yeah. Yeah.
Rich: So they’ve always been really supportive of you then and given you as much support as you could have wanted I guess?
CM: Oh yeah, definitely. Yeah. I’ve loved it.
Rich: So, you’ve mentioned that obviously that the RTC disappeared and Sunderland have obviously been up and down and up and down over the years in women’s football, never seeming to be able to stabilize. How do you think things changed during your time at the club?
CM: I mean, like I said, it has been up and down, but the more media, the more social media that we get like from Sunderland that gets put out there the better, I think. I don’t see why it has to go down again, I think from now on it should only be going up and I think the increase in attendances, especially on Sunday, I think is massively down to social media.
RS: Yeah. There’s been a big push recently hasn’t there? And it’s good when there is stuff like that done. So we know that obviously, the Championship is a mix of full-time and part-time footballers. We know that a lot of people at Sunderland, your teammates and the coaches combine their jobs with other roles. Do you have another job outside of football? If you do, what is it that you do?
CM: I’ve only just started just coaching the second team at Gateshead college. Just this last week actually. So I’m with Mel. Mel’s took me on.
RS: That’s good isn’t it? We were on about on our Twitter Space on Monday last night., about how it’s almost like the squad is in some ways full time, because so many of the girls, especially the younger ones, are with Mel at the college.
So that’s being involved full time in football or you now isn’t it, I guess that’s gonna be a massive boost for you.
CM: Yeah, definitely. Yeah.
RS: Are you starting doing your coaching badges then, or have you already been doing them?
CM: I’ve already got some coaching qualifications from Uni and from college, but I’m looking towards getting more badges.
RS: Brilliant, that’s great news. So Sunderland got the promotion to the Championship that you earned over the last two seasons and have done amazingly to get the four wins and the other points you picked up this season.
How important do you think the additional support that’s been invested in the squad by the club; being able to train out the academy, access to all the analytics and data? Does that make a big difference?
CM: Massively. I mean, I think it was a good four years ago now when we weren’t getting that support. When I was playing for the development side and we were training at Bullockstead next to Newcastle Airport and the first team at the time was also training there as well, then we were playing on it on a Sunday.
And so when you’ve experienced that and compare to what you’ve got now, it like you have to be so grateful because it’s a completely different turnaround.
And we’re lucky to be able to go in the [Academy of Light] barn as well. Because the winter nights are freezing. Even in the barn it’s freezing, but it’s not like you’re out in the rain. So it’s a massive turnaround, we’re so grateful for it.
RS: Finally, are you looking forward to the rest of the season, looking on paper we have some winnable fixtures coming up. Is it all full steam ahead now for the rest of the season?
CM: Well I think so. I think everyone thinks so. So I don’t see why we can’t pick up a good few wins towards the end of the season. I mean, we got our three points on Sunday and I think that’s been a long time coming. Our performances coming into 2022 have been been really good.
And I think we’ve missed out on quite a few points and we’ve been unlucky to not to get anything from some games. So I think Sunday was our booster and our time to say, right, let’s get more than just three points. I think that’s what we’ll obviously look towards.
RS: Well, thanks Clauds it’s been, lovely to meet you finally. Anytime anyone from the squad fancies on coming to speak to us at Roker Report, you know where we are on a Monday evening!
Transcription by Charlotte Patterson. With thanks to Sunderland AFC for arranging the interview.