In the latest episode of BBC Sounds ‘How To Buy A Football Club’, presenters Sally Nugent and Simon Stone are joined by Hope Powell and Kelly Somers to discuss the impact a takeover will have on Manchester United Women.
They began the show by discussing why it took United so long to reform their women’s team, Stone said The Glazers were worried about the cost.
The Glazers were the ones who disbanded the women’s team back in 2005.
Powell and Somers eluded to the fact that they were late to the party reforming in 2018 and have had to have a really quick growth, winning the Championship in their first season and now sitting top of the league and in an FA Cup Final in just five seasons.
The presenters and their guests reflected on the troubles and criticisms they have had in their short time in the top flight with Casey Stoney leaving after she wasn’t happy with the facilities the women were forced to use for training.
Her best players were sidelined through injuries they had picked up on the training ground in the 20/21 season.
At the start of this season United made a statement when hiring Polly Bancroft as their first Head of Women’s Football, showing their seriousness about the team’s future.
With the Lionesses boosting attendance records this year and United leading the way in this department, the team is now flourishing on the field.
Many fans of the women’s team have been wondering and worrying about what will happen to the team under new ownership but Powell puts their mind at ease.
“I can’t imagine that the new owners won’t consider the women’s team, I don’t think that would be possible, especially now they’re doing so well. There’s a huge spotlight on them.”
The discussion led to one of the key questions of the takeover about the stadium upgrades and development and whether the women should be considered in that.
It was agreed that Leigh Sports Village is functional if not a little far away from Manchester United’s home of Old Trafford.
They began a discussion about the possibility of WSL sides ground sharing with their men’s team on a regular basis which both guests encouraged.
Powell and Somers agreed that the women’s team must be a big draw for any potential investors given the growth and popularity of the sport at the moment and the teams success.
Powell concluded, “Man United are all about success and the women’s team are successful. If they come second in the league, third in the league – Champions League football is a success story to them, an FA Cup Final is a success story to them. That’s what Man United expects and they’ve got it with the women’s team.”
Stone said “It’s a fundamental point of the people who are buying the club knowing that they have to have a plan for the women’s team as well. I think that shows how far the game has come, clearly there’s a long way for the game to go and a long way for Man United to go but I think it can only be a positive for the game as a whole.”
When potential new owners came to light the different supporters clubs came together and MUST wrote an open letter to the potential suitors.
MUWSC in particular made the point in this that “Manchester United should continue to develop, support and promote the women’s team, which should be considered an important part of the future of the club.”
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Courtesy : https://thepeoplesperson.com/2023/04/22/what-would-the-takeover-mean-for-the-womens-team-262910/