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Shortly after the final whistle Yeovil
21.05.2018, 04:52 AM
Beitrag: #1
Shortly after the final whistle Yeovil
Shortly after the final whistle Yeovil
Town’s manager stood in the middle of a suddenly near deserted pitch and positively glowed with pride in his club. As Jamie Sherwood outlined the reasons for optimism about the future, a hazy north-east sun suddenly seemed a little brighter.
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A couple of minutes earlier and a few yards away Melanie Copeland, Sherwood’s Sunderland counterpart, had also stopped to reflect. She, too, was rightly proud of her team but spoke of “uncertainty,” about things “being up in the air”. There were potential “disappointments” and “clouds” blemishing the horizon.
Considering Yeovil had just finished bottom of the Women’s Super League first division table, ending a season in which they have scored only two goals and collected just two points with yet another defeat and Sunderland had risen to seventh, something did not quite add up.This puzzling equation can be balanced by learning that Yeovil have already convinced the Football Association to grant them a place in WSL1 next season, when an expanded, revamped top tier turns fully professional, but Sunderland’s future remains unclear.
While Yeovil are entirely self-sustaining – unusually they receive no financial help from the men’s team they share a name with – Sunderland have suffered horribly from their parent club’s decision last summer in effect to start divorce proceedings against them.Copeland’s squad suddenly found themselves both excluded from Sunderland AFC’s magnificently appointed Academy of Light training ground and relocated from their previous County Durham base to play at Mariners Park, the home of non-league South Shields. Practice sessions took place at facilities shared with Northumbria University in Newcastle and sometimes involved sub-standard, dangerously icy pitches.
Sunderland AFC declined to support their application for WSL1 membership in the first round of bidding for places in the revamped league but four positions in the proposed new 14-team division remain open, with the identity of the successful bids scheduled to be announced by the FA next Sunday.
After joining forces with Northumbria University and deciding against a complete name change, Sunderland have applied to stay in WSL1 but could yet end up as one of five clubs granted slots in WSL2. Alternatively they could be demoted two divisions.
Considering Sunderland produced a nucleus of the current England team – Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Jordan Nobbs, Demi Stokes, Carly Telford and Beth Mead all began their careers with them – the current uncertainty is the cause of considerable anger and upset.
Copeland and her players face a nervous week waiting for Sunday’s announcement and no one is happy. “It’s up in the air,” said Copeland, a cousin of Alan Shearer. “I don’t know what’s happening.” Sherwood is suitably shocked. “It’s a terrible shame,” he said. “Sunderland has been such an important part of the women’s game and produced so many England players.”Behind his delight at a crowd-funding initiative helping raise sufficient cash to ensure Yeovil can turn from part-time to fully professional next season, he too harbours a few potential reservations over the FA’s WSL rebrand.
Apart from the obvious concerns about his club’s ability to compete more equally with highly resourced Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal and their glittering array of leading internationals, this was Sherwood’s last game as manager.




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