Tamworth Women might not have been going long, but they’re already well ahead of some clubs in the equality stakes according to new recruit Natasha Rothery.
A number of clubs have come under scrutiny in recent months after claims of inequality and mistreatment of their women’s teams. Ex-Tottenham goalkeeper Chloe Morgan even described feeling like a “second-class citizen” while playing for the London-based club.
One of Rothery’s former clubs Liverpool were also in the firing line. But things are completely different at the Lamb, she says.
“Things aren’t standing still anymore. On the whole, men’s and women’s football isn’t seen as equal but it’s pushing forward,” she said. “When I was at Liverpool, we were allowed to use Kirby which is where the academy teams train.
“Somewhere along the line, it all got cut off and we ended up training at Edgehill University. They don’t really have much backing.
“What they have going on here is very equal. I’ve been having one-to-one sessions at the same time as some of the men. We’re allowed to share the same facilities and of course, we play our home games at the Lamb.
“It’s based on the club itself. Ryan pushes for everything for us to make sure we’re set-up to do the best we can.
“Everyone knows everyone here; it does feel like one club and it’s great to see. The quality of facilities wouldn’t usually be at the level it is for the level Tamworth are at.
“It’s about the club, if the club are backing it, then you’re on the right path. There’s a great energy here and I’m very happy that I took the plunge and now I’m at a decent club where I feel wanted.”
On the field, the Lambs Women’s inaugural season couldn’t have gone any better. Top of the table, dropping just two points and scoring 147 goals in all competitions.
Moving to a squad with that record to boast might put some people off. But Rothery is determined to make a name for herself and says a little healthy competition can reap rewards.
“I looked at what Tamworth had done last season and they were unstoppable,” she said. “I thought they had something really good going on. I just wanted to get back to enjoying football.
“What Ryan has got going on here is amazing and all the girls are so lovely too. We’re all fighting for the shirt but that’s healthy, it’s not a bad thing. The quality of the team this year is going to be unreal so individually, we have to perform, or we won’t play.
“Last season’s performance obviously puts pressure on me to perform but I’m used to it. All the girls are really great.
“We have to push on from last season and not get complacent. We all know how incredible last season was – we whitewashed teams at times – but need to push on. Our aim is to win the league and hopefully have a good run in the FA Cup.”
After the summer of nightmares for not only football, but the whole world, Tamworth Ladies finally see some competitive action.
This Sunday, they kick off their FA Cup campaign with the visit of Doveridge Ladies to the Lamb.
And as Rothery explain, they will be ready.
“If the season was to start tomorrow, we’d be ready to go. There’s always room for adjustments but we are working hard in training – Ryan has got it all planned out.