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Women's Football News
SSE Women's FA Cup - Road to the Final
Arsenal brought Tottenham Hotspur's FA Cup run to a crashing end last Sunday with a commanding 10-0 win which included a hat-trick from Danielle van de Donk and further goals from Danielle Carter (2), Dominique Janssen, Kim Little, Chloe Kelly, Beth Mead and Katie McCabe. The Gunners will be on their travels in the quarter finals to Birmingham City, who beat the other remaining Premier League club, West Bromwich Albion, 2-0 with Jess Carter and Ellen White on target.
Birmingham City Ladies Football Club was formed in 1968 by a group of female fans who played local friendly matches until 1970. Initially the Club joined the Heart of England League in 1970, and played in the league until 1973 when it underwent a major restructure and become known as the West Midland Regional League in 1974. The Club was successful during this period, winning these leagues five times during the entire 70's and 80's (1971-72, 1974-75, 1976-77, 1987-88, 1988-89), amongst other trophies.
The Club ran into difficult times during the 90's, with many staff and player changes. As a result it created an academy of young players to try to regain stability. Many eventually played for the senior team. In 1998 Birmingham City Ladies was promoted to the newly created Midland Combination League and in their first season won the league, thus gaining automatic promotion into the National Northern Division. After two seasons, Birmingham Ladies gained promotion to the top flight of women's football, joining the FA Women's Premier League.
The academy had begun to produce players for the first team at this point, and Laura Bassett became the first Birmingham City Ladies player, from the academy or otherwise, to appear for England at full international level.
The club's high profile manager of the time, Marcus Bignot, signed big name players including Rachel Yankey and Alex Scott for the 2004-05 season and Birmingham finished fourth. The club ran into financial problems when Birmingham City withdrew its support, and had to let major players go before the start of the 2005-06 season, which they finished in sixth position. The club was only able to continue after a player's parent donated £10,000. Also in 2005, the Club's junior sides joined the newly formed Centre of Excellence league in the Central Warwickshire area. Birmingham won their eighth consecutive Birmingham FA County Cup in 2008 before a number of established players either retired from the game or moved on to other clubs. They began to rebuild and finished 2008-09 in fifth place (losing out on fourth place only through inferior goal difference) and left Redditch United for a new stadium at Stratford upon Avon.
In March 2010, the Club was announced as a founder member of the FA WSL. The Club's successful application was underwritten by Birmingham City's owner Carson Yeung. In December 2010, Birmingham City announced the signing of several international players to their WSL squad. In June 2011 the Centre of Excellence's future was secured with the allocation of a new FA licence for 2011-12 season onwards; which realigned the current development pathway for women's football in England.
The Club became inaugural members of the newly formed FA WSL in 2011 and came close to winning it at the first attempt, leading for most of the campaign before being overhauled by Arsenal. They also reached the Continental Cup Final but once again found Arsenal in the way at Burton Albion F.C. The season was notable for the goal scoring exploits of Rachel Williams who finished as leading scorer as well as winning the FA Players' Player of the Year Award. Due to the second place finish, Birmingham qualified for a place in the 2012-13 UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32 for the first time in their history. Drawn against Italians Bardolino Verona, Birmingham won the first leg 2-0 but lost 3-0 at the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, after extra time, to exit the competition at the first hurdle.
In May 2012 the Club won their first FA Women's Cup, beating Chelsea on penalties in the final at Ashton Gate. Also in 2012, for the second consecutive year, the Club finished second in the FA WSL and were runners-up in the Continental Cup Final, both to Arsenal. The second place finish in the league qualified Birmingham for the 2013-14 UEFA Women's Champions League round of 32.
In 2014, Blues ladies reached the semi final of the UEFA Women's Champions League where they eventually bowed out to Swedish side Tyreso FF in the second leg away. The same year, Birmingham finished third in the FA WSL. The 2016 season saw them come close to another major trophy when, adding to a fourth place finish in the league, they reached the Continental Cup Final and were unlucky to go down to a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City after extra time.
The last few months have seen a lot of change at the club with Birmingham City Football Club taking over the running of matters on and off the pitch. David Parker has stepped down as manager with Marc Skinner taking over the reins, and he will be assisted by Leanne Hall and Heather Cowan has returned to the club as General Manager. Kerys Harrop - who is the club's longest serving player - has been appointed as club captain with Emily Westwood taking the vice captain's role. The squad has been strengthened with England striker Ellen White as a high profile signing as well as the likes of Paige Williams, Emma Follis and Sarah Mayling to add to a number of youngsters being produced through the ranks.
Birmingham City (from):
Ann-Katrin Berger, Sophie Baggaley, Paige Williams, Meaghan Sargeant, Jess Carter, Kerys Harrop, Freda Ayisi, Sarah Mayling, Ellen White, Bella Linden, Andrine Hegerberg, Abbey Leigh Stringer, Marisa Ewers, Emma Follis, Charlie Wellings, Chloe Peplow, Connie Scofield, Emily Westwood, Coral Haines, Sian Johnson, Aoife Mannion, Keeley Davies, Ellie Brazil.
Sari Van Veenendaal, Alex Scott, Emma Mitchell, Fara Williams, Leah Williamson, Chloe Kelly, Jordan Nobbs, Danielle Carter, Kim Little, Carla Humphrey, Vyan Sampson, Anna Moorhouse, Jodie Taylor, Katie McCabe, Heather O'Reilly, Jemma Rose, Dominique Janssen, Danielle Van De Donk, Beth Mead, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Charlie Devlin.
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