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We talk to...Gary Cooper (Chairman, Leeds Ladies)
 Women's Football News 29 Aug 2014
 
It has been a very tough summer for Leeds Ladies but the green shoots of recovery look to be on their way. 
 
Following relegation from the Northern Division last season, they were once again left fighting for survival after ties with Leeds United were severed. This has led to the club being renamed Leeds Ladies FC and they opened up the new campaign in Northern Division One with an encouraging 4-2 win against Stockport County.
 
A brand new committee was set up and the newly rebranded club received support from across the city to help their cause. Former Leeds United captain Dominic Matteo and current player Noel Hunt, as well as fans, local businesses and rock stars Kaiser Chiefs have been amongst those pledging their support for the club.
 
In a special edition of our series, we talked to Leeds Ladies Chairman Gary Hooper and he is now looking forward to the future following a busy few months since taking over at the helm...
 
After all the trials and tribulations during the summer, how pleasing was it to actually get back out on the pitch and play again?
It was just great to play the first game of the season in sunshine and with so many fans present (over 120), the sense of satisfaction was something else - to know we as volunteers had pulled together to make it happen, really pleasing.

How good a game and result was it, after all Stockport are usually one of the stronger teams at that level?
It was a great game and in fairness both teams looked quality, Stockport certainly won't struggle this season and look a well drilled and experienced side and of course we wish them well, but to win was quite and achievement for us with a young and largely inexperienced (at this level) side.

How have team preparations gone on the pitch in recent weeks?
We are playing catch up, having missed over a month of pre-season with all that went on, but we're working hard to make up for that and the coaches and girls have been just amazing.

What re-organisations and restructures of the club have taken place over the summer?
We have a new committee, new badges, new logos, new name but were still Leeds and United in all but the word now.

Are you more confident for the future now or does more work need to be done yet?
Loads more work to do yet! Funding, structure and sustainability all go hand in hand and all need to be in place to allow the club and the team to develop as we want it too but the people involved are committed beyond my wildest dreams and we will make it happen. This phoenix will rise.

Was there a time when you thought that things were over?
Never, someone told us we couldn't do this, when someone tells me that I make sure I do it and we have!

What do you think would be a good season for Leeds Ladies?
We always said we want our girls, our fans, our sponsors and all involved to smile this season, to put the past trials and tribulations behind us and enjoy being Leeds again. So far, so good.


 
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