Four Different Versions of Events: Hannah Hampton In Media Disarray02 Nov, 2022
Last Sunday, October 30, Aston Villa travelled to Kingsmeadow to take on Chelsea in what should have been a normal WSL game. However, what has followed is a confusing turn of events, with questions and disapproval directed towards Lioness Hannah Hampton.
Following the game, Villa manager Carla Ward spoke about the young goalkeeper’s omission from the squad, and from there on, there has been a media frenzy questioning the character of the youngster.
She said: “Hannah was available, something happened yesterday, and we decided yesterday it was in the best interests of the team and the squad for her to stay at home, so I did exactly that.
“I don’t really want to say [anymore] on the matter. I made the decision in the best interests of the team to leave her at home, I left her at home and would probably prefer to talk about the 11 that were here.”
That sparked a lot of attention from fans and media alike, especially given Hampton travelled to the game alone and sat in the stands supporting her Villa teammates.
However, it was not the first time this season Ward has spoken out of turn against one of her players, just a few weeks earlier she spoke ill on Alisha Lehmann following a penalty miss against West Ham.
On Monday, October 31, Suzy Wrack and The Guardian exclusively claimed Hampton had been dropped from Wiegman’s squad for the foreseeable future because of ‘attitude problems.’
Wrack wrote: “Multiple sources have told the Guardian that Hampton has caused problems with her behaviour and attitude in England age-group teams and at club level. The Football Association, Villa and Hampton’s representatives declined to comment.”
Now, it is hard to say whether this is the truth, given no source was officially stated, and in its current state, is hearsay. However, Wrack and The Guardian are a reliable source in Women’s football, but with no more than nameless sources, it is adding fuel to the fire to attack a young player.
Moving on, on Tuesday, November 1, Sarina Wiegman was asked if Hampton is welcome in the England team.
“The door is always open. When players perform and perform consistently for their club then they have a chance.”
She also said that the ‘keeper is excluded for the same reason she was in September, and the personal things that she had to work on in September are still the same now.
Now, that is completely different to what was said in The Guardian just a day earlier, with the Lionesses manager suggesting in fact she has not been permanently dropped from the European Champions team.
This is now the third source to add a voice to the story, and no later do they all align. Every message has been different, and still, it is unclear on what to believe, or understand what is going on.
Finally, it was time for Hannah Hampton herself to comment on her fitness and what is going on. She took to Instagram to say: “I’ve been suffering with an ongoing medical issue for a while now and it’s time to finally address it properly this week with a small procedure.”
So there we have it. The Aston Villa manager is saying Hampton is fit, The Guardian is saying she has an attitude problem, Sarina Wiegman adds that she is still having a similar problem to the one that saw her excluded from the last Lionesses squad, and Hampton is saying she is unfit.
Four different pieces to the puzzle, and none are joining together. One thing that is certain is we will not find out the truth and fans will continue to speculate on the situation.
What we do know is now Carla Ward has thrown two of her players under the bus and despite what The Guardian has published, Hannah Hampton has not been banished from the England camp.
Is Hannah Hampton an easy target? Or, do the same people who want to protect the players need to read the handbook again on how they can do that?
The Lionesses are in the public eye more so now than they were 12 months ago. Choosing to vilify a member of the Euros winning squad is easy, and feels somewhat easier when it’s against a 21-year-old. For me, Carla Ward should have never opened the can of worms on Sunday, and ultimately, that article in The Guardian should not have been published because of the lack of substantial evidence, other than hearsay.