Katy Sandalls: Ipswich Town Ladies get a new boss amidst much change in women’s football

Ipswich Town Ladies appoint Carla Dickinson as their new head coach Picture: ROSS HALLS

Ipswich Town Ladies appoint Carla Dickinson as their new head coach Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

This month Katy Sandalls looks at the huge changes facing both the national game and our teams in Suffolk – including a new boss for Ipswich Town Ladies.

It’s been another busy month for the world of women’s football.

I know I say that every month, but it really has proven itself to be true once again – and this time not for all the right reasons. The newly restructured Women’s Super League tiers have lost two of its members in a number of weeks. Firstly it was Sheffield FC, a team very close to my heart as the one which taught me the ways of women’s football.

News that they were dropping down to the newly renamed Women’s National League was quickly followed by the same news from stalwarts and champions of the game, the Doncaster Rovers Belles.

A truly trailblazing team that has fought its way through every problem thrown at them, not least being thrown out of the top league to allow Man City to enter a women’s team a few years ago.

Times have been tough for the Belles, who won the WSL 2 title this season but could not be promoted because of financial reasons.

Both squads have now been decimated as players move on to stay in the league. For many it has been a heart-wrenching decision to leave a club that has given them so much.

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It’s been tough to watch as a fan of the game, but I cannot begin to imagine what it must have been like for those involved in the running of the clubs.

It does leave both the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship in a strange position.

Both are now made of 11 teams, which means one side won’t be getting a game each week, and will cause havoc with the Continental Cup this year.

I look forward to seeing how this gets resolved.

Nationally, the transfer season is in full swing and some big moves have been made – many of which were to the newly formed Manchester United team, a cracking move by the side but a few years too late.

The squad is quite a formidable one, including captain Alex Greenwood, a strong player with many England caps to her name and key shot-stopper Siobhan Chamberlain who, also brings a wealth of international experience.

Speaking of England, two international stars are set to be reunited as Izzy Christensen moves across the Channel to Lyon where she joins fellow ex-City player Lucy Bronze.

I do worry when we lose some of our stars to overseas clubs, many have done incredibly well such as Bronze and Toni Duggan, but it does leave gaps in the domestic game which are harder to fill. Only time will tell if these changes are for better or worse.

Through all of this change we have to continue on with the new season marching ever closer.

Admist the misery there was good news for Crystal Palace who were able to secure a place in the Women’s Championship.

There’s a local link for this newly promoted team as they take on our very own Ipswich Town Ladies later this month.

I will be heading down myself, not only to have a gander at this side, but also to see how the Tractor Girls are preparing for the new season.

There’s been a lot of change for them as well, not least that their manager vacancy has been filled within the last few weeks.

Carla Dickinson joins the side from Norwich City Ladies, where she was working as an assistant. She has previously played for West Ham, Braintree and a number of clubs in the USA before injury struck.

She takes over from Ralph Pruden at a key time for the team, with their fixture list already out they could be in with a good chance of promotion this year.

Best of luck to Carla and the team and fingers crossed!

Around the rest of the county, it’s been great to see so many of you joining up with some of the new clubs that have been formed.

It’s not easy starting up a new side but it is great to see so much interest in the game.

If you are still looking for a squad, even for a bit of extra fitness, many are still looking for players so have a trawl around online.

In the west of the county, Newmarket Town Ladies are on the look out for a striker to complete their squad.

If you think you are the right person for the job then get in touch with them.

That’s it for this month!

If you are part of a Suffolk team then get in touch and let me know how your pre-season training is going, or if you’ve got a moment to share let me know either by e-mailing me on katy.sandalls@archant.co.uk or tweet me @katysandalls.

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