Women’s team now officially part of Newcastle United promise a quiet revolution
NEWCASTLE: While England’s Lionesses were making waves across the continent with their historic European Championship victory at Wembley last month, a more quiet, understated revolution was already underway around 480 kilometers further north.
This did not have the pomp, ceremony or silverware that famous title win warranted, or even the column centimeters, however it did not lack an ounce of ambition. And with that ambition, the expectation that silverware will follow is seen very much as inevitable.
“We will sign England internationals, stars of English football.”
The words echoed around a cavernous room at Newcastle United’s training ground. Funding and blue-sky thinking knows no bounds with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports and Media at the helm on Tyneside.
But few among the gathered group from Newcastle United Women, an often-forgotten institution, who wear club colors but have not traditionally been funded by the body itself, could comprehend what their new boss-in-waiting was telling them.
Jaws dropped, some even privately questioned the veracity and feasibility of such a statement, as then club stand-in chief executive, and part owner, Amanda Staveley delivered it.
With formalities now completed, Newcastle United Women are now officially under the stewardship of Newcastle United Football Club, for the first time ever.
It must be said, Newcastle United’s women team — and realizing the dream — is very much Staveley’s baby.
How could a football club in the fourth tier of women’s football — the FA Women’s National League Division One — who rub shoulders with the likes of Norton & Stockton Ancients, Merseyrail and Durham Cestria, far from the topflight might and Champions League panache of Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, even consider signing any of England’s soon-to-be summer heroes?
If Staveley’s got anything to do with it, which she very much has, having seen her own, and husband Mehrdad Ghodoussi’s agreement to manage the immediate future of United underlined by majority shareholders PIF, then doubt at your peril.
It’s been some ride already: From playing in front of friends and family, as well as the odd diehard spectator, to within seven months walking out in front of more than 22,000 people at St James’ Park. It very much feels like things are just getting started.
That crowd, despite it being four divisions down from the upper echelons of the English game, was the biggest women’s football turnout in England in the whole of the 2021-22 season.
Howay the lasses indeed.