Win, lose or draw the Lionesses’ exploits this summer have certainly made some stand up and take notice of women’s football, about time too! Exeter City have announced that it will be increasing its investment within its women’s section to £25,000. This is an increase on the £5,000 per season the women’s team previously received from the football club.
Exeter City compete within the National League Division One South-West, the fourth tier, so if they can do it then there is no excuse for other clubs within the pyramid not to do the same.
This funding will enable Exeter City to develop further and will cover the costs of coach travel to some of the further afield matches, provide investment in training methods and into the reserve team to enable them to play in the national reserve league.
The club’s statement makes no mention of whether any money is to go towards players and staff. I hope it would but if not then this is at least a step in the right direction.
Nick Hawker, chair of Exeter City Supporters’ Trust, said: “The club is pleased to be able to contribute this sum to the women’s team. It will support the players with things like travel and will also enable the team to develop further, which in turn, we hope, will enable them to achieve on the pitch. We are serious about women’s football at Exeter City Football Club and we will continue to do more to support this committed and ambitious group of players and staff.
“Logistics have made it challenging for the team to play games at St James Park, but we’re pleased to be able to have two fixtures here in the coming season, which will act as a real showcase for the game. The team’s last match at St James Park attracted more than 1,300 fans, which puts us on a par for attendance with some of the biggest women’s teams in the country.”
Thanks to a partnership with Exeter College, the team will play their home matches at Exwick Sports Hub this season.
Aaron Wakley, joint manager of Exeter City Women and women and girls’ football lead at Exeter City Community Trust, said the club’s investment would make a significant difference to the team. “We’re very grateful to the club for this contribution. We have an incredibly committed team and this investment, which will contribute to so many aspects of their experience as an Exeter City player, whether through paying for travel or supporting training, will make a huge difference to them.
“We are lucky to have a number of sponsors who support the team, and it’s important to acknowledge and thank them for their ongoing contributions, as well.”
On the pitch the club have been strengthening with the signing of former Yeovil Town, Plymouth Argyle and Bridgwater United player, Bow Jackson. This follows the announcements of the former youth team player Emma Hunt returning to the club from Torquay United and Plymouth Argyle’s Emily Eaton.
Exeter City finished last season in third place, two points behind AFC Bournemouth and one point above Southampton Women. With the league going from ten to twelve teams, with Cardiff City and Keynsham Town dropping in from the third tier, this is going to be a very competitive division with plenty of teams going into the season thinking that promotion is a realistic option for them.
Photo: Exeter City