Womens Football News Archive -22nd May 2003
Becky Easton Interview
Much attention has been focused on the battle between the "big two" for the title in the National Division this season - Arsenal and Fulham - but once again the ultra-consistent Doncaster Belles proved to be a difficult team to beat and finished between the two London sides in the runners-up spot.
Amazingly, it is the FOURTH season that the Belles have ended up in second place, having finished behind Arsenal (twice) and Croydon in the previous three years. Doncaster's captain Becky Easton has played in the last three of those seasons and she rates this time's achievement as the best of the four. "It was unexpected! We lost a few players at the start of the season and it is a lot harder to recruit players in the women's game. I honestly thought it would be a tough season so we have done really well," she told Women's Soccer Scene.
Having lost the likes of Leanne Hall and Karen Burke during the summer, it may have seemed as though the Belles would have to go through a transition rather than challenge for honours, so what has been the key to their success? Becky is quick to point out that it has been a team effort: "We've had a really good team spirit this season and enjoyed it, maybe it was because of having lost players. Also Brian, our new Coach, has made a big difference - our coaching was good before but he has brought some fresh ideas and we have better facilities to train on now.
"If we can add a couple of players to our squad and carry on with the good coaching, hopefully we'll have a better chance of winning the league and going one better next season. The league should be more evenly contested and we can make progress."
Doncaster Belles received some good news this week in that, through finishing as runners-up in the league, they will take on Fulham in this year's F.A.Community Shield match - date and venue yet to be announced. "It will be nice to have a big day and big match to look forward to, especially after we were knocked out of the Cup early this year. We did well in our matches against Fulham this season and it will give us a good chance to see how we match up against them."
Becky missed several weeks due to a medial ligament injury in her knee which she suffered in January but she returned to the side for the closing matches. Her value to the Belles was underlined last week she received her club's Player's Player of the Year award and she has not given up on an England recall after 38 caps. Her last appearance was at Euro 2001 after having been vice-captain, and many people in the game would like to see her back in the squad. "I'll just keep working hard and playing my best for the Belles, and I am still trying to get back. We'll just have to see what happens."
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