TAMWORTH WOMEN| Hamilton Has Big Plans After Strange End To Season Leaves Him With “Hollow” Feeling

When Ryan Hamilton made the move across Staffordshire from Burton Albion to Tamworth last summer, even he couldn’t have imagined just how well the Lambs Women inaugural season was going to go.

Fast forward 12 months and, in somewhat never-before-seen circumstances, his side were crowned champions of the Staffordshire Girls & Ladies League, having dropped only two points all season.

And despite having a “hollow” feeling after being named champions, Hamilton says there are more than enough positives to take from the season.

“The league sent us an email and asked us to vote on how the league would end,” Hamilton explained. “That initially would have included promotion too but when the FA ratified their decision to ‘null and void’ the season we didn’t get the promotion we wanted.

“We’ve been classified as champions but it’s a bit hollow because even though we’ve worked hard and we’re top of the league unbeaten we can’t get promoted. We’ve got to just take that and move on.

Ryan Hamilton (Middle) was announced as the first-ever Tamworth Ladies manager in June 2019 (Photo Credit: Tamworth FC)

“It’s nice that we’ve got the recognition. It’s our first season. 12 months ago it was just an idea, Rich [Wassall] gave me a call to see if I would be interested and then from there to go on the run we did and achieve what we have along the way, it would have been really sour if we had finished with nothing at all.

“But at least are going to be champions and the girls will get their opportunity to lift the trophy and then we can move on and build again. It sums up the hard work they’ve all put in, I’ve never coached a team that put in the effort that they do so it’s good they have gotten the recognition they deserve.”

A self-confessed workaholic, Hamilton has wasted no time in turning his attentions to a fresh assault on the title.

In these strange times, nobody knows when next season will get underway. One thing is for sure, Hamilton is leaving nothing to chance for the new campaign – and he’s got full confidence his squad will be one step ahead of the rest ahead of the restart.

“We had the meeting on the Tuesday evening when we found out we were champions,” he said. “We all had a video meeting to give them the good news. The very next day, we had a meeting about pre-season plans.

“Obviously at the minute we don’t know when we’re going to get back so we’re quite keen for them to keep on top of things. They’re all smashing their fitness plans we gave them and they’re doing all what they’ve been asked and more.

“The girls are the same as me and my management team. We’ve been good but we’ve not got the promotion so next season we want to be the very best we can, so we have that promotion secured as soon as possible so there’s no question about it.”

Danny Bray (Left) was also announced as part of the Tamworth Ladies’ coaching team (Photo Credit: Tamworth FC)

After the Lambs founded their Ladies team last season, Hamilton joined with big plans after managing at a higher level the season before.

All it took was one meeting with general manager Rich Wassall and the board and Hamilton was hooked. The club’s insistence on the Ladies team sitting under the same umbrella as the Men’s teams was the biggest sell.

“My two previous clubs I’ve been at, one was solely a ladies’ club and the second one was Burton Albion last year where it was so separate from the male and the female side.

“When me and Rich first sat down, one of the big things that I wanted was that I didn’t want the Ladies’ team to be separate and Rich and the board were very much of the mind to push the Ladies’ team and that has been the case all season.

“When I was at Burton, we were four leagues above and we weren’t getting anywhere near the crowds we’re getting at Tamworth. We’re averaging 100-150 people a game so to be getting that at a team that is relatively new and starting at the bottom is fantastic.

“That’s helped the girls through this recently. They’ve seen the support they’ve had, when the season was ‘null and void’, they’ve had so many positive messages on social media. That is down to the girls too, they’ve given the fans a team to be proud of, so it’s worked both ways.”

While the coronavirus disruption has forced many teams to rip up plans and start again, when you’re on to a good thing, sometimes it’s best to stick with what you know.

Hamilton, previously at Burton Albion Ladies, says he’s never coached a team with the work rate of his current Tamworth Ladies team. (Photo Credit:

And Hamilton is hoping next season will have some strong familiarities with the past one.

“We’re in a luxury position that we’ve got some really talented players and what always comes with that is that other teams at different levels will always be interested in your players.

“We’re always wary of that but at the same time we know the team spirit and the friendships in the group is fantastic, so we’re quite confident that we can keep everyone.

“One of the big things is that at the start of the season we sat down and outlined our vision of where we wanted to be – but no one can plan for a global pandemic interrupting then when you’re on track to achieve phase one of our plan.

“I’m fairly confident with the relationship and friendships within the team and with the club itself, we’re confident we can keep everyone together next season.”

This article also featured in the Tamworth Herald on Thursday 16 April 2020.


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