West Ham United Women during a post match huddle

Britain’s Youngest Football Boss Review

19-year-old Jack Sullivan was appointed managing director of West Ham United Women‘s team by his billionaire father and West Ham United co-chairman David Sullivan in 2017 – his first full-time job since leaving school at sixteen years old. 

Growing up as a Manchester United fan for the past thirty odd years, I developed a dislike for West Ham United. Most of that was born from what happened in east London on May 14th in 1995. The 1-1 draw between the sides meant that Blackburn won the Premier League on the last day of the season, but after watching the first two episodes of the new BBC Three docu-series following Jack Sullivan and West Ham United Women I am finding much harder to dislike them. 

The first episode begins by introducing Jack as he gives the viewers a tour of this lavish family home. Some of the decor isn’t to my taste but hey, different strokes and all that. While on a family holiday, 14-year-old Jack is said to have turned to his mum and said: “Mum, Mum will you buy me West Ham Ladies?” To begin with I’m not quite sure how to take Jack. Is he some spoilt rich boy who has been gifted the side as a hobby to keep him quiet? It doesn’t take too long to warm to Jack, he seems to be a lad that has every intention to succeed and raise the profile of West Ham Women for the right reasons.

Great finish from Leanne Kiernan to give us the lead against Yeovil Ladies FC

Leanne Kiernan to give the Hammers the lead against Yeovil Ladies FC. Photo @westhamwomen

The first two episodes don’t require any prior knowledge of the club or women’s football in general. It sets the scene and explains how West Ham were catapulted two leagues up into the Women’s Super League after previously finishing mid-table in what is now the Women’s National League South. This meant that they effectively had to build a whole new team who could compete at that level.

Rosie Kmita is one of only two players who were retained by the club. She came across really well and was honest enough to admit that she had concerns that she might not have what it takes at that level. Her worries were hopefully eased after scoring the winner in a 2-1 win against Yeovil Town

I don’t know if it was Jack’s idea or that of his marketing team but it was a nice touch how he took Leanne Kiernan and Michail Antonio to surprise one family and give them a West Ham season ticket along with a goody bag which included a West Ham shirt each. Jack boasts that they have season tickets from £15 which is a bargain. I’ve done some research and that offer is available to men’s season ticket holders but that is still a great deal and those are the fans that they will be hoping join the women on their journey. The series should go a long way to helping raise attendances of a club that seems to be finding their feet in the WSL as their sit comfortably in mid-table.

If you haven’t watched it yet then the first two episodes are available on the iPlayer now. I have tried to look when episode three will be available with no joy. Episode one and two launched last Wednesday so I’ll imagine episodes will air weekly every Wednesday? 

Stuart Barker
hellosince71@gmail.com