Welcome to our brand new show, Roker Report - The Lasses, dedicated, unashamedly, wholeheartedly, to covering the wonderful SAFC Women.
In the second episode, Roker Report’s Women’s Football Editor Rich Speight sat down with Gemma for an hour last weekend for a wide-ranging interview that will give you a first-hand overview of the recent history of our club.
Local lass Gemma Wilson grew up playing football on the streets of Washington and went on to represent our club as a no-nonsense central defender in our famous 2009 run in the FA Cup, she won three WPL titles including a league and league cup double, a WSL2 title, and was part of the squad that took us to the top of the WSL. Not too shabby a career then!
Wilson retired in 2015 after a career that included coming through the ranks with Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, and Carly Telford, playing alongside Mel Reay, Kelly McDougall, Beth Mead, Demi Stokes, and Lucy Bronze amongst many other great names in women’s football.
She’s also a massive Sunderland fan and very nervous about the Lads’ trip to Wembley for the League 1 playoff final.
What are we talking about?
- Gemma being a mascot at Roker Park aged 7.
- Starting out at Sunderland AFC as a player and the setup for young girls coming through at that time.
- The FA Cup run in 2009 and that win at the Stadium of Light against Chelsea. Mixed emotions from Gemma about that whole campaign.
- SAFC not being selected to join the inaugural WSL in 2010 and the loss of a generation of young players. Could the club have done more to secure our place then?
- Playing in and consistently winning the WPL without the prospect of promotion.
- The players and their families keeping the flame of women’s football alive through the 2000s
- The WPL Cup win at Northampton, just a week after winning the league - a fantastic couple of weeks for the Lasses
- League reorganisations and demotions
- The high point in our history with the fourth-place finish in the WSL and the difficult decision to retire in 2015
- Her career outside of the game
- What does she think of the lasses who are playing today and the work Mel is doing?
- We’ve got a big summer ahead with the Euros with a fair few of Gemma’s former teammates involved, and she’s excited about the Lionesses’ prospects
- Where does she think SAFC Women and the game, in general, is going?
- Can we regain our WSL status in the next few years?
- Finally, Cheesy Chips on Wembley Way on Saturday!
How can I listen?
Get stuck in!
Our new regular pod theme music is “Science” by one of Sunderland’s finest bands, bigfatbig. You can stream their music across all platforms https://linktr.ee/bigfatbig.