With the upcoming World Cup and England's remarkable success in the Euros, women's football has undeniably secured its place on the global stage. The deserving recognition and respect that women in this sport now receive should be on par with their male counterparts, but it isn’t. While some clubs at the grassroots level have embraced this initiative and invested in the development of girls' football, others, even at the Football League level, still treat women's teams as second-class citizens, hindering their ability to progress and compete.
In recent years, our club, Beaconsfield Town FC, had been approached by several women's teams playing at the national league level. They sought permission to use our pitch for their matches where their own clubs would not allow them to play to avoid damaging the playing surface for the men. In many cases, these dedicated athletes were left with no choice but to resort to playing on park pitches. Also, due to limited budget, many of these teams are required to pay subscriptions to cover the costs of officials, and few can afford to offer refreshments to the opposing teams after games, one stating they had £25 to provide for 40 people! These conditions starkly contrast the treatment received by male players at a certain level, who rightfully expect and enjoy these benefits. Should women players not expect the same treatment?
As a club that values ambition and fairness, we launched our women's section last season with a commitment to providing equal treatment wherever possible. Beaconsfield Town proudly introduced its first women's team, which, under the guidance of a dedicated management team, achieved a commendable third-place finish in the local league. The players only had to pay a signing-on fee, and in return, they received their match and full training kits, with no subs or officials' fees to worry about. Moreover, they played their matches in the same stadium and on the same high-quality 3G playing surface used by our men's teams. We mention this not to boast but to emphasize our belief that a successful women's team deserves the best treatment we can provide.
Continuing on this path, we aspire to achieve Women's National League status within the next five years. To support this goal, we are actively recruiting a first-team manager with National League experience. We have also registered our first team in the Southern Region League Division One, while maintaining a reserve team in the Thames Valley league. This allows us to introduce our youngest players to senior football and nurture their talent, with a balance of youth and experience.
Both women's teams will continue to play their home matches in our stadium on the high-quality 3G pitch. They will be provided with their match and training kits, without any subscription fees, and we extend an invitation to visiting teams to join us in our clubhouse for complimentary post-match food and refreshments. Furthermore, our women's team will have a dedicated training night each Wednesday, supported by experienced coaches and an onsite sports therapist available to provide injury support when needed. Lastly transport will be available to and from away matches where required.
Our ambition as a club is rooted in our determination to demonstrate our sincere dedication to women's football. We have many other initiatives planned for the future, all aimed at developing young local talent. We hold utmost respect for other clubs in our area who share a similar commitment, and we aspire to join forces with them in encouraging girls of all ages to lace up their boots and embrace the beauty of this game.
Beaconsfield Town FC is proud to play its part in supporting women's football. Together, we can foster an environment of equality and opportunity for all players, regardless of their gender, and propel the sport to even greater heights.