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Hull won the league by a margin of four points, losing only twice all season, and Rachel told Women's Soccer Scene: "We are absolutely delighted to have been crowned champions of the FAWPL Northern Division One. It's been a long, tough season with everyone on and off the pitch working extremely hard. Special praise must go to our Head Coach Danny Johnson, he got the girls playing some fantastic football and his commitment to the club is there for everyone to see. He is so passionate about moving this club forward and it has shown not only this year, but over the last four years he has been with us.
"From my point of view, I am very proud of our squad and what we have achieved this season, however I have to look back at where this has all come from. Stacey Hubbard and I took over Hull City Ladies six years ago after a merger with Beverley Town Ladies and we worked together to ensure the club went in the right direction. Jenny Kelly played a huge part in this setup, as did Karen Cooke, who is still with us now as our Secretary and Welfare Officer. Ex-players like Charley McNamara, Stacey Hubbard, Claire Goforth and Rach Cooke plus anyone else who has put on a Hull City shirt in the last six years can be proud of what they have achieved in assisting us in getting to where we are today.
"As regards to the season just gone, we signed some incredibly talented players, no more so than our top scorer Hope Knight, who had played previously for Doncaster Belles and England, the same as Sophie Stamp, so we knew we were getting a quality calibre of player, as well as a real character off the pitch, which is just what you need in any successful team. Amy Kay (defender) has been an absolute rock at the back and has improved with every game, our double figures of clean sheets has been something we are very proud of and Amy has played a massive part in that.
"New local signings of Nat Bell, Liv Jackson, Ellie Tanser and Liberty Bott have all played a huge part in our success. All of these are midfielders, so sometimes rotation was key and they didn't always play, but they worked hard in training and made sure they were ready for the next game, showing great attitude. Rach Ackroyd was another key signing, her work rate is absolutely incredible and she really leads from the front, whilst also scoring some crucial goals for us. Obviously all the new signings mentioned have had a huge impact for us this season, however, for me, our vice captain Natasha Cooke and captain Jo Symington have been incredible in leading the squad to promotion, they don't just lead by example on the pitch, they also lead by example off it. They have high expectations of the players, so myself and Danny don't really have to say much now if the girls aren't putting it in at training as they do it for us.
"I must also pay special praise to Rebecca Beech, she has been at the club now for over fifteen years and is still one of the best strikers I have seen, and the last game against Morecambe, when she scored four times, just showed what she is all about.
"Key games this season have to include the two games against Brighouse, the one away early in the season saw us take all three points with just a 1-0 win, which was a header by Natasha Cooke from a corner. Playing them at home later on in the season was probably the decider of who would go up, and that day we were incredible, you could see the determination and desire in all the girls' faces as soon as they turned up to the game. The Liverpool Feds game at home gave us some real confidence too, as they are a quality side and to beat them 3-0 was a message to the rest of the league that we were true contenders to finish in the top spot. Games that also stick out in my mind is a couple of late winners that we scored, particularly Bolton away with a Hope Knight wonder goal it make it 1-0, and then a Katie Thompson last minute penalty away at Chester-le-Street. The pressure was on in those two games as it was near the business end of the season and any points dropped were crucial.
"The belief and desire from the squad as a whole has been there from minute one of the season, when we beat Barnsley convincingly in our first game, right till the final minute of the season when we beat Morecambe 9-0 away from home. We have a special group of girls and backroom staff at the club and we look forward to our new challenge in the division above next year.
"I would just like to thank our Director of Media Scott Gay, who has raised the profile of the club significantly over the last four years and all our player sponsors, without whose support we would not be where we are today. My final thank you goes to our main sponsors - The University of Hull and the Village Hotel, Hull. We train and play from the University and utilise their fantastic facility. The Village Hotel have provided us with our training kit as well as breakfast before away games and post match food at home games. Together we have created history by take Hull City Ladies to the Northern Division of the Premier League."
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