Sunday 27 April 2023 4:00pm – Barclays Women’s Championship – The Dripping Pan
Welcome to The Dripping Pan for today’s first Barclays Women’s Championship game of the season against Southampton. Here is your complimentary e-programme
Welcome back for another season!
NOTES FROM THE CHAIR
Good afternoon and welcome to the first game of this Barclays Women’s Championship season as we welcome Southampton. I hope our visitors from down the A27 enjoy our hospitality and have a safe journey home.
It’s been a busy summer as you will no doubt have seen and read. We’ve said goodbye to a number of players and welcomed a host of new ones, and Scott has built a new squad to do battle in this new season.
After the superb performance of the Lionesses team in Australia and New Zealand, there’s never been a more promising time for Women’s football in this country. We have a fantastic opportunity to build on the positive momentum created by Sarina Wiegman’s team at every ground around the country.
It will once again be a very competitive league, especially as two sides will be relegated at the end of the season. That was underlined last night with Blackburn Rovers beating many peoples favourites for promotion, Birmingham City, in the opening game of the season.
I’m sure many of you will have received details of a consultation process we are in with a new football-focused investment fund called Mercury13. Naturally, there’s a lot of opposing views on this and what it means for the club. I’m not using these not to advocate how every owner should react or respond to the proposed ongoing discussions, but I did want to just clarify a couple of points that I’ve seen discussed on social media.
This is not a takeover of our fan-owned club. The discussions have been around a majority stake being offered in Lewes Football Club Women Ltd, a subsidiary of the 100% fan-owned club. The club would continue to be fan-owned, with the board elected on rotation by the owners.
Whilst the investment would be focused into the Women’s team, the whole club would benefit in terms of improved facilities, more resources that support all of our teams and investment into our infrastructure.
It’s no secret that the club have been exploring external investment options for a while. Some may not agree with our strategy to play at the highest level possible for both of our first teams, others will see the possibility to progress into the professional game and benefit from the opportunities that come with that. What won’t happen is the club will end up being burdened with unsustainable debt.
We are approaching a major decision point in the future direction of the club and it is important that all of our stakeholders – owners, fans, players, staff, partners – have an opportunity to provide their opinions and views and I’d encourage everyone who wants to comment and feedback to do so. We will continue to provide updates on the consultation at regular intervals.
Back to today and the three points on offer. Let’s get behind the team and really make a difference!
Come on you Rooks!
FROM THE DUGOUT – SCOTT BOOTH
Hello everyone and big welcome back to the first game of the season.
Pre-season has been really positive and it’s been good to play all our games at the Pan, especially for the new players.
It gave us some continuity and gets the players used to the environment so from that perspective it’s been really positive for us.
The games have gone well, all really competitive, and throughout that period of games, we have brought in a number of players week on week.
Now we’ve got a fairly settled squad that know each other really well, but we’re still looking to do a bit more business with the couple of weeks we’ve got left.
My hopes are that we are battling at the top end of the table. We want to be positive about our season, we do know it’s going to be massively tough and competitive.
I’ve said it before, but I genuinely believe any team beats any team on the right day, all games are 50/50, there won’t be a lot of shocks throughout the season because of that.
We want to make sure that from our perspective, we are able to consistently compete with each club but keep that consistency throughout the whole campaign.
I feel like towards the end of last season, we were for one reason or another, unable to do that. That’s where we lost the body of our games, and that dictated heavily on our position in the table.
We need to maintain the consistency this year, playing good football, competing and looking to win every game.
You’ll never see us just trying to make things hard for the opposition and looking for draws.
The players can be as fit as you can get them but we need that mental aspect of playing in the Championship, that can be hard.
I think as the season wears on, we need to see if we can learn from that mental aspect, keep it strong, can we keep the players fresh.
Southampton will be a massive test for us; we had them first game last season, 2-0 up at half-time, and then ended up 2-2.
It’s slightly different squads now but we’d like to learn from that. They’ve signed a number of players and they’re definitely stronger, some excellent players.
I believe they will be a real force this season but I also feel that we’re at home and we should be making sure we take the game to them and put them under as much pressure as we can to come out with the win.
We’ve spoken as a group about the importance of being strong at home. When we’re playing at the Pan, we want the fans to have something to shout about, and make sure we challenge for everything.
ROOKS SNAP UP VASSELL
This week we announced that we captured the signature of versatile defender, Shauna Vassell.
Shauna, 21, can play either as a right-back or more advanced in midfield and appeared in the squad vs. West Ham on Sunday.
She joins us having most recently played for London Bees and also had spells at Watford, Stabæk, Charlton Athletic and came through the Arsenal Academy.
Upon joining the club, Shauna said: “It feels great, good to be here, it’s a good feeling.
“I’ve settled in really well, the girls have been really friendly, really welcoming, as well as Scott, so it’s been a nice couple of days.
“Scott’s a great coach, the girls are like a family, it’s a good setup.”
Welcome to Lewes, Shauna!
DEALING WITH THE SOCIAL MEDIA TROLLS THE LEWES & CURVE WAY
INTRODUCING OUR VISITORS FROM SOUTHAMPTON
In 1970, Southampton Women’s F.C. was formed by female fans of the men’s Southampton F.C., but the two clubs were unaffiliated. Southampton Women’s F.C. went on to great success in England, winning the WFA Cup (Women’s FA Cup) eight times.
Another team, Southampton Saints Girls & Ladies F.C. were formed in 1979 as Red Star FC, who were founder members of the WFA Women’s National League in 1991. The club adopted the name Southampton Saints Girls & Ladies on affiliating to Southampton F.C. in 1995, and was absorbed by Southampton F.C. in 2001. The club had financial difficulties in 2005; the men’s senior side were relegated from the Premier League after 27 years of top-flight football, and Southampton F.C. withdrew support for the female side. Southampton Saints Girls & Ladies continued without major club support for another 14 years, before announcing their demise due to financial difficulties in July 2019.
By 2016 Southampton FC, under new ownership, saw the need for a competitive senior women’s team as the profile of women’s football in the UK grew. With the club’s Regional Talent Centre, a Southampton Under-16 team was formed, and an Under-21 side in May 2017. The club formed an adult women’s side for the 2017–18 season and were admitted to the Hampshire Women’s League Division 1. In March 2018, Southampton unsuccessfully applied to enter the FA Women’s Championship (Tier 2).
In June 2018, after winning the Hampshire Women’s League Division 1, the senior team was listed for the following season’s Southern Region Women’s Football League First Division South. In July 2018, the club appointed former England international Marieanne Spacey-Cale as head of Women’s and Girls’ Football. Spacey-Cale has 91 senior England caps.
In the 2018–19 season, the club in fact played in the Southern Region Premier Division, and won the title with a perfect record of 18 wins, earning promotion to the FA Women’s National League Division One. They also beat Oxford City Women in the League Cup, achieving a domestic Double.
In both the 2019–20 and 2020–21 seasons, the club were top of the FA Women’s National League Division 1 South West at the point when the season was curtailed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The club applied for, and were granted, upward club movement in the summer of 2021, being placed in the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division for the 2021–22 season.
In the 2021–22 season, the club won the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division to earn a chance to get promoted to the second-tier by beating the FA WNL Northern Premier Division champions in a play-off. On 21 May 2022, Southampton earned a first ever promotion to the FA Women’s Championship by defeating Wolverhampton Wanderers 1–0 in the play-off.
Following promotion to the FA Women’s Championship, the club announced they would turn professional and play all of their home games at St Mary’s. After a 0–1 defeat to Sheffield United in the final game of the season, the club finished in sixth place in the league.
THE LAST MEETINGS
|15 Jan 2023||Championship||Southampton||0||Lewes||1|
|28 Aug 2022||Championship||Lewes||2||Southampton||2|
|18 April 2021||FA Cup||Lewes||1||Southampton||2|
The Shame in Spain Stays Mainly On The Game
By Ash Head, aka Rookmeister.
I adore Jeni Hermoso. She and her La Roja team-mates may have broken our English hearts just a week ago, but she almost single-handedly rescued my sorry attempt in the world of WWC Fantasy Football single-handedly. Not only did she score more individual points than any other player I’d selected, she gave my ‘keeper, the quite magnificent Mary Earps, a rather friendly penalty save in the Final.
Alas, all that wonderful football is now buried under an avalanche of unpleasant and unwanted misogyny, delivered a public display that has enraged the WOSO world.
As those heroic Spanish players received their medals, Luis Rubiales, President of the Spanish FA, soiled himself and stained the occasion. Having grabbed his crotch and cavorted like a hopped-up Spring Breaker, mere inches away from Spain’s Queen Letizia, during the medal ceremony, in full view of the millions watching, he took Hermoso forcibly by the head and planted his lips on hers in an act so wanton and depraved it took her, and my, breath away.
Hermoso was coerced, by her manager and her FA, to issue a statement making light of the incident. This was followed by Rubiales making an apology video on the stopover in Doha airport. Rather than rallying round Hermoso, Spanish FA staff on the flight out of Australia spent their time trying to get Jenni and members of her family to join Rubiales in the PR stunt, to take the heat out of the situation. The player rightly refused, issuing her own statement, making it clear ‘the kiss’ was most assuredly unwanted.
Suggestions that Rubiales step down to save further embarrassment were flattened when the bug-eyed narcissist launched into a bizarre tirade at an extraordinary meeting of the Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF). To wild applause, from amongst others World Cup winning manager Jorge Vilda and men’s manager Luis de la Fuente, Rubiales doubled down, shouting repeatedly ‘I have done nothing wrong! I will NOT resign!’
In a jaw-dropping move, the RFEF then issued a statement appearing to put the blame of the incident squarely on the player. All this, despite all of us, the entire watching world, seeing what happened with our own eyes. WOSO online responded with fury.
On Friday, Jenni Hermoso, professional footballer for her country, a World Cup winner, issued a full and damning statement, revealing exactly what was going on. This incident is the tip of a rancid iceberg of garbage that has stunk out women’s football, in Spain and beyond, for years. She called on women to come together and change the game.
The response from the WOSO community has been overwhelming. Players, mostly women but some men, clubs, commentators, journalists and countries have made it clear. The England Lionesses issued a statement, jointly and posted individually, standing four square with Hermoso.
This is a watershed moment, perhaps Spain’s Me Too moment. Spain, a country where, in some circles, ‘men are men’ and women are there for our entertainment, too frightened to speak out. Well, my macho amigos, the times they are a-changin’, and not before time. Like disgraced jailbird Harvey ‘casting couch’ Weinstein, molestation in the workplace has a limited lifespan. On Saturday, FIFA announced that Rubiales is suspended from all football activity ‘for a period of 90 days’ whilst they investigate accusations of inappropriate behaviour towards players at the Sydney final. So far UEFA, where Rubiales remains a vice president, have remained silent.
This whole sorry fiasco is a reminder of something else, something vitally important in these heady days of a booming sport, increasing investment and wider media coverage. I was writing match reports and editing this very match program back in the day when Lewes played in the South East Combination League. Then manager, Lewes legend Jacquie Agnew, held strong views on the importance of player safety and integrity.
After one particularly competitive contest, where she had made some key changes to the team that turned the game and won Lewes the points, I asked Aggers for her thoughts. She gave her usual brief, canny assessment of the contest. I thanked her. Before I moved on, she said
‘Write it up, Ash, by all means, but don’t ever forget.
It is, and always should be, all about the players.’
Nosotras estamos con Jenni Hermoso
Lewes FC to Conduct Consultation on Investment Opportunity
Lewes FC is conducting a consultation with owners on an opportunity to receive investment into the club that will support its long-term strategic goals.
The core strategy has been and remains to drive up ownership subscriptions to the tens of thousands and beyond, creating a large, stable revenue stream at that same time as building the club’s democratic base.
Over the last year, we have generated more sponsorship and partnership revenue than ever before, our ownership numbers are at their highest ever levels, our ticket sales, hospitality and merchandise revenue figures are increasing, and our women’s team bring in strong broadcast and shared league sponsorship figures.
However, to build these revenues faster, remain competitive and protect these gains, we need to identify additional sources of funding that can help lever our potential.
Leveraging that strong growth potential, Lewes FC are now in conversation with investment partners within Mercury 13, a soon to be launched investment fund.
These conversations are around investing into the club to realise our high-performance football aims, whilst protecting our other club strategic goals of community and fan engagement and impact on the world.
The proposal would mean that whilst Lewes Community Football Club Ltd (“LCFC”, the Topco) would remain 100% fan-owned with all ownerships retaining their status, Lewes FC Women’s ownership structure, which is currently 100% owned by LCFC, would become co-owned with Mercury 13.
The investment into the women’s side of the club would have direct benefits on the men’s side. It would also mean that we would introduce more flexible approaches to the distributions to our playing budgets so that we can provide both teams with what they need to thrive, rather than using them as the sole indicator of our commitment and approach to equality, a principle that stands resolute and firm.
Lewes FC Chair Stuart Fuller said “Directors have a responsibility to identify ways to ensure the club’s ongoing financial sustainability and protect the significant on and off pitch gains made over recent years.
“We were challenged during the AGM last year to continue to progress this work and for many months, we have been working hard to bring this investment opportunity to the table.
“We are now keen for Owners to provide feedback on the proposal, that is with a set of individuals and partners that we believe are aligned with our values and principles and can bring some incredible strengths and expertise to the table, without compromising the guiding principles and values we hold so dear as a club.”
Lewes FC CEO Maggie Murphy said “Over many years, and thanks to the efforts of our Owners, volunteers, staff, coaches, players, partners and Directors, we have collectively built a club to be proud of. Mindful that we have only scratched the surface of our potential impact on and off the pitch, we have looked to identify potential partners who could not only join but elevate our club community.
“The team at Mercury 13 have demonstrated their commitment to our steadfast principles of equality, equity, fan ownership, and local to global community impact, which is a hard ask of an investment partner which is why we are keen to progress the conversations”.
We are happy to be able to bring this opportunity to Owners for their feedback through the link provided in the email to Owners. We would ask all Owners to provide their immediate response and reflection and raise any questions that we can answer in the forthcoming Townhall.
TRAINING THIS WEEK… PHOTOS BY GRACE JONES
THE 2023/24 BARCLAYS WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
YOUR 2023/24 LEWES SQUAD
Bank Holiday Party @ The Pan!
Please feel free to stay after the game today and enjoy a drink or two! It is Bank Holiday after all!
FILMING AT TODAY’S GAME
Today there may be film crews in the ground, filming on behalf of Lewes Football Club and other media organisations. The filming is usually for Lewes FC marketing purposes, to show what a match day looks/sounds like and to generally promote what we do. Lewes Football Club respectfully asks for your permission to be filmed. If you do not want to be filmed, please let the crew know directly and they will oblige. Thanks for your cooperation in helping to build a successful club.
CREDITS AND LEGAL
“The Barclays FA Women’s Championship strongly supports recent FA statements that there should be a zero tolerance approach against racism and all forms of discrimination. Accordingly, any form of discriminatory abuse, whether it be based on race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, faith, age, ability or any other form of abuse will be reported to The Football Association for action by that Association. (The FA 0800 085 0508/Kick It Out 020 7253 0162).“
Lewes 2000 FC Limited. Registered in England and Wales with Company Registration Number 03790979. Lewes 2000 FC Limited is 100% owned by Lewes Community Football Club.
Honorary President Terry Parris
Chair Stuart Fuller
Directors Willa Bailey, Tim Bradshaw, Ed Briggs, Scott Currie, Stuart Fuller, Andy Gowland, Lucy Mills, John Peel, Trevor Wells
Chief Executive Officer Maggie Murphy
Peter Brook, Dorothy Brook RIP, Vic Blunt RIP, Pat Dartnell, Gary Elphick, Gordon Fowlie, Peter Hiscox RIP, Billy Nixon, Derrick Parris RIP, Terry Parris, Jimmy Quinn, P. Swaysland, Steve Ibbitson, Jason Hopkinson, Steve White, Martin Elliot, Kevin Fingerneissl, Kevin Powell, David and Barbara Arnold, Roger and Cathy Feltham, Ethel Treagus, Roy Dartnell RIP, Ron Moore, Derek Southouse, Ray Smith, Ken Carter RIP
Manager Scott Booth
GK Coach Daniel Matraszek
General Manager Lynne Burrell
Nutritionist Stefano Montanari
Club Doctor Dr Daniel Hudson
Head Physiotherapist Adam Hutchins
Physiotherapist Maria Melero
Sports Therapist Liam Jenman
Sport Scientist Ivi Casagrande
Mental Coach Sarah Murray
Data Analyst Tom Drummer
Kit Manager Kerri Coombs
Communications Manager Jack Towers
Commercial Manager Stef McLoughlin
Fan Engagement Officer Shrey Nilvarna
Facilities Manager Damien watts
Golden Rook Rob Read
Web Editors Stuart Fuller & Jack Towers
Progcast Editors Stuart Fuller / Jack Towers / Stan Lahood
Club Photographer James Boyes & Grace Jones