Co-owner Amanda Staveley has big plans for Newcastle United Women and they are in for a big boost this weekend. Becky Langley’s side return to St. James’ Park to take on Barnsley in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup 2nd Round.
Sunday’s clash against the Yorkshire opponents could beat the attendance record that was set last season against Alnwick Town Ladies.
Interest in the Women’s game has been making great strides over recent years and has increased even more since England’s historic European Championships win last summer and Staveley said earlier this year that she wanted her team to play more at the men’s stadium. She said:
“The way to do it is to engage with the community because I think you’ll find all of our football communities are just so passionate that if they’re given the chance to support women, they will do it. I also think as stakeholders and owners we have to give that chance for everybody to come in and see it.
“We have to put our young teams, our under-23s, in our stadiums about twice a year and the idea is to give them a chance. I said, ‘Actually, I’d like the women’s team to get the same opportunity. Why can’t we make it part of the new rules to say let’s have our women’s playing in the main pitch?”
Newcastle Women are currently 2nd in the WPL Division One North and have made an impressive start to the current campaign. They have picked up 19 points from their opening nine games and have lost only once, securin six wins.
Only a point separates them from Durham Cestria at the top of the table. Barnsley will be tough opponents though and they are three points behind in 4th position.
Prior to the game, Langley has said: “When we played at St James’s Park last season it was almost like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and to get a second opportunity is amazing.
“I think it shows the club’s ambition and the way they want to go and they want the women’s team to have that presence and visibility. Another time at St James’s is just fantastic.
“[A bumper crowd] is the aim. We want to get as many people to St James’s as possible. We want to beat the record we set from last season, I think we’re already past it but we’re just urging people to come out and pack the stadium because the more people can get involved, the better atmosphere and the more chance of us getting through to that next round.”