Still more to be done for women's football - but Suffolk ahead of curve

England's Rachel Daly (left) and Millie Bright celebrate after England win the UEFA Women's Euro 202

Sunday night’s win for the Lionesses at the women’s Euro 2022 final brought England’s dry streak to a decisive end. Left, Rachel Daly, and right, Millie Bright. - Credit: PA

Sunday night’s win for the Lionesses at the women’s Euro 2022 final brought England’s dry streak to a decisive end – but there is still more to be done, say football bosses. 

Ipswich Town Football Club women’s team captain Blue Wilson was in attendance and said the atmosphere was unbelievable as the Lionesses claimed a 2-1 victory in extra time against Germany.

Blue Wilson, 20, has been the captain of Ipswich Town Football Club women's team since the start of the previous season.

Blue Wilson, 20, has been the captain of Ipswich Town Football Club women's team since the start of the previous season. - Credit: Ross Halls

“It normalises girls playing football. For boys to see girls playing football on TV, they can see, girls play football, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” she said. 

“Four years ago, the FA decided to invest in women’s football. You can see from days like Sunday that this brings results.  

“I can only see good coming from this. England have delivered under immense pressure, and now we all get to see that come back into society, and hopefully positive change comes from it.” 

England's Chloe Kelly (left) and Ella Toone celebrate with the trophy after England win the UEFA Wom

England's Chloe Kelly (left) and Ella Toone celebrate with the trophy after England win the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday July 31, 2022. - Credit: PA

England's Keira Walsh celebrates with the trophy after England win the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final

England's Keira Walsh celebrates with the trophy after England win the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday July 31, 2022. - Credit: PA

Richard Neal, CEO of Suffolk FA, agrees.  

He said: “We hope that this win means there is an increase in participation, but also in the number of women who want to become coaches and referees, and all other roles involved in the game.” 

He was pleased to see initiatives such as the Wildcats and Squad Girls encouraging young women to take part in the sport. 

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“The biggest thing we need to consider is that most of women’s football is played on a Sunday,” he continued.  

“The adult women’s football games in Suffolk are played on a Sunday afternoon, and tend to be the last game of the weekend.” 

Playing the final game of the weekend can mean that the pitch is not in such a good condition, and there are fewer volunteers available. 

However Blue feels that Suffolk is still ahead of the curve. 

“I’m originally from Norfolk. The reason I play for Ipswich and in Suffolk is that there weren’t enough opportunities for me to progress.  

“Ipswich is a leading woman’s football team in the eastern region, which I’m really lucky to play for.” 

Coach of Woodbridge Town FC Under 13 Girls team Martin McQuillan attended the final with his daughter, Lily, and partner, Jo.

Coach of Woodbridge Town FC Under 13 Girls team Martin McQuillan attended the final with his daughter, Lily, and partner, Jo. - Credit: Martin McQuillan

Michael McQuillan is one of the coaches for the Woodbridge Town FC Under 13 Girls team, which this year ended its season with a two-year undefeated streak.  

He and several members of the team were also at the final on Sunday. 

He said: “Inspiring is the word that keeps coming out. 

“I’ve heard about girls’ not being able to play football in school, but I think Suffolk is in a lucky position because that doesn’t seem to be the experience here. 

“There are lots of opportunities.” 

Sisters Nia and Seren were delighted to attend the final.

Sisters Nia and Seren were delighted to attend the final. - Credit: Emma Lloyd

Martin said the atmosphere at the final was incredible.

Martin said the atmosphere at the final was incredible. - Credit: Martin McQuillan

Martin said it was important for boys and girls to see football as football, without comparing men's and women's games.

Martin said it was important for boys and girls to see football as football, without comparing men's and women's games. - Credit: Martin McQuillan

Sisters Nia and Seren were delighted to attend the final.

Sisters Nia and Seren were delighted to attend the final. - Credit: Emma Lloyd

George, Amelie and Sophie at the final on Sunday.

George, Amelie and Sophie at the final on Sunday. - Credit: Kellie Catton

L-R: Georgia Best, Ella Best, Bay Towndrow, Bethany Overton and Kayla Best.

L-R: Georgia Best, Ella Best, Bay Towndrow, Bethany Overton and Kayla Best. - Credit: Lucy Best