DESPITE THE DOMESTIC LEAGUE SEASON BEING BROUGHT TO A PREMATURE CONCLUSION, IT WAS STILL A YEAR TO REMEMBER FOR MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN, CULMINATING IN AN FA CUP WIN IN THE POSTPONED FINAL IN NOVEMBER 2020.
Kicking off in front of 31,213 fans against Manchester United 14 months earlier, at the Etihad Stadium back in September 2019, Caroline Weir’s wonder goal set the tone for another exciting FA Women’s Super League (WSL) campaign as City earned the bragging rights in the first ever Manchester women’s derby, presented by new kit partners PUMA.
It was only the second ever women’s game hosted at the Etihad Stadium, the first being against Everton in 2014. This unforgettable day saw the action play out in front of a crowd that was almost six times the previous league attendance record of 5,265, and more than seven times our own Club attendance record of 4,096.
Scoring 39 goals in 16 league outings and losing just two games, we eventually finished second in the WSL table after the final standings were decided on a points-per-game basis – earning UEFA Women’s Champions League qualification for a record fifth consecutive year.
The Women’s FA Cup was paused in February and resumed seven months later in September, when we beat Leicester and Arsenal in the quarter- and semi-finals, going on to face Everton at Wembley in the final on 1 November. After a thrilling game that was decided in extra time with late goals from Georgia Stanway and Janine Beckie, we won 3-1, giving us our third FA Cup in four years.
There were accolades galore for the team this year, including Women’s Player of the Year and Rising Star, for Steph Houghton and Georgia Stanway respectively, at the North West Football Awards, alongside the inaugural Barclays Golden Glove award for goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck’s unrivalled ten clean sheets.
In February, Nick Cushing ended his six-year tenure in charge to take up the role of assistant manager at our sister-club New York City FC, with former Manchester City striker and Under-18 Head Coach Gareth Taylor appointed as his successor in May.
This was also a notable year for City on the international scene, with ten players called up to England’s senior team, eight of whom were involved with the Lionesses at the She Believes tournament in March.
Earlier in the campaign, Lauren Hemp and Aoife Mannion earned their first call-ups to the national squad, while off the field, City stalwart Jill Scott – who is England’s all-time second-highest-appearance holder – was awarded an MBE for her services to women’s football at the turn of the year.
Away from the pitch in February, more than 400 youngsters were coached by Ellen White, Georgia Stanway, Gemma Bonner and Keira Walsh as they hosted hometown clinics as part of the Club’s worldwide #SameGoals campaign, which aims to encourage young girls to play football.
Performance of women’s first team this season (through to postponed FA Cup Final in November)
*Final WSL standings based on average points-per-game following the curtailment of the league due to COVID-19. When lockdown was implemented, City had played 16 games out of 22 (one more than Chelsea) and were top of the table
Number of successive seasons that City have qualified for the Champions League, the only WSL team to do so
10 Clean sheets for Ellie Roebuck, more than any other goalkeeper in the WSL
Former manager awarded FA WSL Manager of the Year at the Football Writers’ Association Awards
PFA Young Player of the Year
Named in PFA WSL Team of the Year
Captain named as Women’s Player of the Season at the North West Football Awards
Women’s Rising Star at the North West Football Awards
Awarded an MBE for her services to women’s football in the 2020 New Year Honours List
Number of players called up to the England national side during the 2019-20 campaign – more than any other WSL team