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Girls just wanna have fun*

Bank Holiday Monday so no Ruskin session, no shouted 3 Touch Confirmation, no Seagull fouling, no petulant misunderstanding and definitely no running.

Rather than letting it simply pass (even to a team mate, in space) today our Editor (for it is he) thought the opportunity to spread the glad tidings of the indomitable rise of our Club and the developing part that our Ladies are playing in the whole process, was too good to miss.

El Presidente met with four of them last week to try to better understand their motivation The thought was to conduct an interview giving the ladies the platform to explain how they started and learn a little more about their back stories.

It seems most of them fell under the spell of the beautiful game whilst still at Primary school Sharon revealed that despite her ability and desire to play for her school she was denied that chance initially “It took a lot of making a nuisance of myself before the teachers finally relented I missed so many games because they thought I was banned (wrongly) I was almost 11 before I made my school debut The boys knew I was good enough but it as easier to exclude me than have to stand up and be counted Later I played for Warrington Town Ladies and we had a decent team I recall returning from injury to play as a substitute in the Cheshire Cup Final I made my appearance in the final part of the match as we secured the win we all worked so hard for

Margaret Mills had little footballing exposure as a child though she loved to watch “I used to play socially with the boys but that was the extent of my career for so long Eventually I decided that I wanted to get myself in shape and asked the local council sports team to steer me towards healthy pursuits to achieve that aim Initially I was offered the option of walking netball (except that their game was already at capacity) or sitting exercises Thankfully I found Walking Football and turned up SHWFC one Monday morning Their encouragement was crucial in making me a player Walking Football is perfect for creating the level playing field for ladies like me I’m smaller than average but don’t have to worry about my physicality or technique The guys play very strictly to the WFA Rules and that means my touch and positional awareness can improve with no fear”

Anita Ashcroft was our First Lady member but no stranger to the game “I played at St Helens Town Ladies in the 70s soon after the ban on Ladies was lifted Her story was recently featured in the St Helens Star with a photo of that pioneering side I was an inside forward (now called a Number 10) Tussles with the famous Doncaster Belles and recalls Mo Marley (Everton & England Ladies player, captain England & Interim Manager) with great enthusiasm Walking Football has given me a new zest I’ve lost weight, regained confidence and made new friends with a great circle of mates” Another lady with a less stellar playing career was Sheila Darwin “I played at primary school but soon hit that same glass ceiling We just weren’t supposed to play so I’d join in with the boys kick arounds but no formal games When I found out that I could play Walking Football with the guys I took that chance It was tough initially but was accepted as just another player I’m getting better every week I scored my maiden goal last month and I’m determined to add to my tally I look forward to Monday mornings each week We’ve a great set up and a growing number of ladies finding our way in great company”

The remarkable Kirsty Stockton is the youngest of the sisterhood having played as a centre back for Everton Ladies Youth in the Millennium Youth Games Her career looked over following a freak accident that took her right foot and much of her lower right leg She battled to recover her mobility and play the game she loved, joining SHWFC earlier this year determined to enjoy Walking Football as her latest challenge “I’ve been surprised how quickly I’ve adapted to playing with my prosthesis and been accepted by the Club members I was involved with our special session down in Llandudno It was great fun to mix with the guys and do our bit to help Llandudno to raise their profile in their new challenge”

Our latest member Jill Thomas had an outstanding career, with Leasowe Ladies (before they became Everton Ladies) “I played with and against some great players including; Gillian Coulthard, Marianne Spacey, Karen Burke and Farah Williams My most important games were in WFA Cup Final at Old Trafford in 1989 (not the Walking Football Association) Later I played at the old Wembley Stadium in a League Cup Final I’m really keen to encourage more Ladies to look at Walking Football as a way to express themselves and enjoy the adrenaline rush that football offers” So there you have it A great game for people of all sizes, shapes and experience The thought that a total beginner can join in alongside accomplished players and be respected and revered is uplifting and inspiring Let’s hear for y’all *Girls just wanna have fun - Cyndi Lauper




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