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Women's Football News
Following what can only be described as a terrible season on and off the pitch in 2010-11, Newcastle United were relegated out of the Premier League into the Northern Combination.
The club was devastated and the NUWFC Committee and Team Management arranged a meeting to discuss the club's future. A decision was made to re-group and re-form and take the club back to where it belonged, playing in the FAWPL - at the first time of asking.
A number of players left the club and there were a number of changes to the Management and Coaching team and the fight was on. The remaining players were joined in pre-season by a group of young, but very talented, players who were keen to help in the rebuilding of the squad and who too had sights on playing women's football at the highest level possible.
August 14th saw the start of the new season but unfortunately Newcastle did not get the great start they had worked so hard and prepared for. Both Liverpool Feds and Bradford City showed them that life in the Combination was not going to be easy and both teams took all three points from each game. But the management team and players were determined to turn things around and get the club's plans back on track and they did with a win at South Durham. The team continued to work hard each week in training and every match day and after a long break over Christmas, Newcastle returned to face a tough test against a strong Huddersfield side. Once again another solid squad performance resulted in another three points and NUWFC went top of the league. There was still a lot of work to be done on and off the pitch to remain in that position and the hard work continued.
The squad stayed focused and was continuing to add points week on week. On 1st April, Newcastle travelled to Sheffield Wednesday and played what they knew was the most important game of their season. The top of the league position had been a three way battle with Newcastle, Sheffield Wednesday and Bradford, but it was now between Wednesday and Newcastle. Both teams knew that the result that day would decide who would be playing in the FAWPL next season but as with the rest of the season, a number of NUWFC supporters made the long journey with the team and were rewarded for their support with a terrific game of football. The final whistle confirmed that NUWFC would return to Tyneside with not only three points but as Champions.
Plans for the 2012-13 season are well underway and ready for the players return in June for pre-season training and to continue to build on the fantastic work they started this time last year.
Newcastle manager Michael Havelock said: "The season has been long and very difficult. We started poorly with two defeats and looked like a team that was destined to under achieve. The players however, disagreed and settled reasonably quickly into their stride. They worked hard in training and took on board the information that the management team gave them. Each player battled and gave their all at each turn of the season; this gave our squad great team spirit.
"There were moments of great maturity from the team, despite their age being so young. We tried to play the right way and it showed in most games with lots of chances being created and goals scored.
"We finished the season very strongly and gave our rivals a good game and came out victorious. I for one am proud of every player for their achievement. A fantastic season by a young and improving side, the only way is up for this team as we look ahead to the Premier League."
First Team captain Sarah Wilson added: "It's difficult to sum up the season in only a few words. This time last year a lot of us were worried about the future for NUWFC, getting relegated is the worst possible feeling. We didn't have a great start, dropping a few points. But with a bit of belief, confidence throughout the team grew. We knew what we had ahead of us, and how tough it was going to be. But we all stuck together working hard every week in training to ensure we collected as many points as possible on the Sunday.
"The last couple of games were nerve racking, we had to rely on our older players to support our very young squad. In the end the hard work definitely paid off, we achieved what we set out to do which was gaining promotion back into the Premier League.
"Our aim for next season is to secure our place in the Northern Division. We want to let others know who we are and how hard we are prepared to work to ensure we meet our targets. We have a very young squad who are developing in to mature players, experience is key. The future for our squad is bright."
"Our aim should be to continue as we finished 2011-12," says chairman Phil Eadon. "Playing good football with great teamwork and friendship amongst all of the players.
"Whatever happens next season, I know the players, coaches and committee will give 100%. They will do their best and we will enjoy the opportunity of meeting lots of good teams in the FA Women's Premier League. All visiting teams will be made welcome at our home ground in Newcastle, hospitality and friendship in football is key to the ladies enjoying their football. The ladies don't play for money - they play because they love the game. It costs them a lot to play so they must enjoy it!
"As a club our aim will be to win lots of games and seek to win promotion into the National Division - but not at the expense of enjoyment and friendship. We hope to continue to raise the profile of NUWFC and increase the number of people coming to watch and support the ladies. That way we will generate revenue to support the operation of the club and will help in our efforts to attract companies and organisations as sponsors who will want to associate their business, product or service with the Toon Ladies.
"NUWFC have made a great start over the last 12 months with building contacts with the local media, getting regular match updates and stories in the a variety of local newspapers and even video reports on the local Sky Sports TV. That media coverage increases the awareness of the ladies, which in turn helps to attract spectators and supporters. Our Twitter campaign has attracted over 6,600 'followers' to the NUWFC cause. Our aim is to reach 10,000 followers by the end of the 2012-13 season. Twitter is a very powerful and effective way of getting our message about NUWFC out to fans of football and Newcastle United - Worldwide."
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