For the ladies in our nation’s beautiful game, from the grass-roots level to the international stage, it has been a cracking couple of years for women in football.
This could not be more true for Long Eaton United Ladies, who have just been crowned East Midlands Football League champions and have secured promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League, for the first time in their history, with three games to spare.
Their league campaign has gone from strength to strength and they could be the first team to be promoted having not lost a single game.
However looking back not so long ago, things could have turned out completely different for the Blue Army.
At the end of the 2014/2015 season, Long Eaton were left without a manager and key players left to continue their careers elsewhere.
The club were faced with the prospect of not having a ladies set-up for the first time in 20 years.
With the continued support of the club chairman Jim Fairley, other financial backing and the addition of UEFA B Licence Manager, and former player, Charlotte Healy the Ladies section recovered.
Charlotte’s knowledge of the women’s game and her tremendous work ethic has saved Ladies football in Long Eaton and Grange Park would not have been the
same without it.
The growth of the management team and the squad over the last 10 months has been a fantastic achievement in itself regardless of the success on the field.
Manager Charlotte Healy said: “I’m so happy for all of the girls. We set out at the start of the season to win the league and to secure it with three games to go is a credit to everybody.
“Nobody has ever been promoted from that league unbeaten so that’s our challenge now in our three remaining games.”
Charlotte and her assistants, Alex Sammut and Will Brown, have completely turned the blues around since their appointment at the start of the season and
winning the league has not been their only success this year.
The Ladies have also enjoyed an excellent FA Cup run, proudly beating big names such as Leicester City, Rotherham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers to reach the second round back in January.
The fine form has continued and they have reached two further finals since then.
Just last weekend saw the Ladies compete in the Derbyshire County Cup Final, where they were beaten by Derby County.
On Sunday 22nd May the Blues will face Mansfield Town Ladies in the League Cup Final.
Long Eaton will hope to clinch the league and cup double after already beating Mansfield this season, so will go into the game with huge confidence.