With regards to the recent letter written by John Molloy, while respecting his feelings and viewpoint I feel another perspective needs to be championed.
I first watched the Belles in July 2015 when they played Manchester City and then Liverpool in the Continental Tyres Cup.
I freely admit that I didn’t go to watch the Belles but rather the England players following their performance in the World Cup earlier.
Despite 3-0 defeats in both games it was the performances and attitudes of the Belles players which impressed me. I became a Belles fan and that initial impression has only been reinforced during my time as a fan.
With respect to WSL1, although I can understand John’s viewpoint about the quality of players and lack of signings, I firmly believe that the players had earned their right to full time contracts and the chance of playing in the upper tier.
I completely disagree with his comment “they completely failed to compete”.
Admittedly results did not go to plan but the players could not have given any more in terms of effort.
Throughout the season I not only witnessed their personal reactions at the end of the successive defeats but saw the growth of determination, character, plus personal and team development.
Regarding the current situation with the FA and the league constitution, I draw comparisons with the men’s game.
Despite being a lifelong fan of football I became completely despondent with the game.
It is no longer ‘the beautiful game’ but has become big business with an obsession of power, self-importance, money and media.
If I remember correctly one of the aims of the Premier League was to enhance the prospects of the national side - need I say anymore?
I fear the women’s game may be going the same way with trying to copy the men’s game with emphasis on financial criteria and not performance.
To quote Neil Redfearn “sometimes in the men’s game it can be cynical towards learning and getting better”.
In complete contrast Neil cites the girls’ refreshing attitude, desire to learn and improve and their professional attitude.
I agree totally with John’s comment about wondering what was going on behind the scenes.
I will also add there is a lack of news in general about players and fixtures. There is a distinct lack of communication between the club and the fans. Whether this is intentional I do not know but believe it can only be beneficial to both sides if it improves.
Finally I come to John’s comment that potentially the Belles can compete on a level playing field with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.
I am sorry John but I just cannot envisage it.
The gap between rich and poor is growing ever wider.
Despite their rich history I doubt if the Belles will ever be able attract or afford the calibre of players required.
However, I do believe that they are more than capable of holding their own in WSL1.
They have a strong nucleus of good young players: Sam Tierney, Kirsty Hanson, Bex Raynor, Mayumi Pacheco, Rachel Newborough, Monique Watson, Beth Davies, Jess Sigsworth and just lately Izzy Whittle.
We just need to hold onto them while they reach their full potential.
The future is bright.
Ian Scotting, Belle Vue