Welcome to the latest edition of our digital Women's matchday programme, as we return to the Academy Stadium for FA Women's Super League action with the visit of West Ham United.
The game will be shown live on CITY+ so make sure to tune in!
It's a 14:00 (UK) kick-off on Sunday 31 January, as we look to continue our excellent league form, which has seen Gareth Taylor's side bag seven in successive games!
A fitting way to mark the Club's seven-year anniversary and launch our week-long celebration of seven trophies in seven years!
As ever, we hear from the boss and the skipper ahead of today's game, while Georgia Stanway shares her thoughts on an incredible journey in sky blue.
Meanwhile, our latest half-Centurion Lauren Hemp recalls her all-time favourite City game: a memorable triumph against Sunday's opponents!
Plus, we take a closer look at the Hammers, catch up with the Manchester City Women's Official Supporters Club and we meet our Junior Cityzen of the Match...
A WORD FROM THE BOSS...
Hello, City fans,
It's great to be back on home turf for Sunday's visit of West Ham United. Welcome to their manager Olli Harder, their players and staff.
Once again, it's been a really positive week, on the back of Sunday's great win at Brighton and Hove Albion, and the celebrations around our seven-year anniversary. Looking back on what the Club has achieved, it's been an amazing journey and we're looking to build on that with a sustained period of success now.
Eleven games into the league season, we’re exactly halfway. We’ve had good moments and difficult moments but as this point we’re in good shape and we have it in our hands. Over the last couple of games, we've been light on numbers - a little up against it, patching people up and putting them out to battle. Hopefully, that's going to change over the coming weeks with players returning from international duty and injury.
I was really proud of the team for the way they responded to our Continental Cup setback in the cup with last weekend's performance against Brighton a matter of days later. We were clinical in front of goal and by making the right decisions in the final third, we were able to kill the game in the first half. I was really pleased with the decision-making and the build-up play, particularly for our second and fourth goals. There were some excellent plays from back to front.
I'd never call a goal an 'ugly' goal - they all count for the same - but with the way we want to play, dominating the ball and playing beautiful football, those two were really pleasing from our point of view.
It's taken a bit of time for us to get to this position but the hard work and perseverance is starting to pay off. We need to maintain that level of performance and make sure we're ready for another busy period. We have important games leading up to the international break. We want to stay in the mix and these are good opportunities to put some points on the board.
In more positive news, I'd like to congratulate our skipper Steph Houghton on her 150th league appearance last week. Steph is a great ambassador - both for City and for the women's game in general - and to have reached that milestone is a great achievement. She's a great person and she's carried the team in good and difficult moments. She fully deserves her recognition.
Well done also Lauren Hemp on her 50th appearance for the Club. She's doing amazingly well. She's a very good player with a really bright future. She'd been a big loss for us but since her return from injury, she's been one of our most dynamic players - a constant threat to opposition defences - and we've been really pleased. Long may it continue.
Enjoy the game.
We’re back and ready to go! After seven days without a game, it’s so good to be back and on home soil.
It’s unusual for us to have a week between games but after an intense week where we played three games, including 120 minutes in midweek, it’s been nice to recharge and get some time on the training pitch.
To have fought so hard in that Continental Cup game (the stats were scarily high!) and then travel a long way down to Brighton and have put that performance in against a team who we knew would give everything from the first minute, I was so proud. It’s really enjoyable when everything clicks and it was a great effort from everybody involved.
When we played them at home earlier in the season, we’d been really disappointed not to have found a winner, despite having a lot of the play. It was early in the season and we hadn’t got into a rhythm. We wanted to make sure that when we got into those positions this time, we put our chances away and we definitely did!
For me, personally, naturally I was delighted to contribute with two goals. I don’t score often so to have scored twice and helped the team to the three points was nice. I was mad at Gaz for taking me off – I could have had a hat-trick! (Just kidding!)
Ultimately, it was about making sure the team played well. We wanted to come back to Manchester with three points and we did. Admittedly, we were disappointed to have conceded but we know there’s stuff we can work on. That’s scary to think when you’ve just won 7-0 and 7-1 in the league! As players, we’re always driving to be the best.
I’d like to thank you all for your messages congratulating me on my 150th FA WSL appearance. It was a really special moment for me and I’m massively proud to have become the first player to reach the milestone. Remembering the first WSL game, it’s amazing to see how far it’s come and it’s an honour to have been part of that growth. I’m honoured to have represented two amazing clubs in City and Arsenal. Bring on the next 150!
Well done also to our superstar Lauren Hemp on her 50th City appearance too. The world is at her feet and given how quick she is, she’ll probably reach her goals quicker than anyone else! I remember when we played against her – when she played for Bristol – and I said to Nick Cushing: ‘We have to sign her! She’s got so much potential!’ She hit the ground running last season and got her England call-up and now, even at the age she’s at, she’s one of the most dangerous forwards in the league. She can be one of the best in the world.
This week, it’s been amazing to look back on seven years since we started our journey as Manchester City Women. When you think back to the early days and remember everything we’ve been through to get to this stage, it’s incredible.
It’s been such a rapid rise and I think that when you’ve been there from the start, it means so much. I knew back then I wanted to be part of the project and I wanted the Club to succeed. Now, we have achieved so much and we have memories that will last forever. Hopefully, we can create a few more in the next few years!
Come on, City!
WALSH: THIS IS THE BEST
CLUB IN THE WORLD
In celebration of our seven-year anniversary, lifelong City fan and midfield engine Keira Walsh reflects on the Club's journey
from league newcomers to title contenders....
“It's been some journey, especially for a City fan!
“Looking back, when you consider we’ve not been a professional team for as long as some of the others, to have won seven trophies in seven years is absolutely incredible.
“It just shows what this Club thinks of women’s football and how much it values it. We’ve made rapid progress and to be one of the top teams in the league and Champions League now is amazing.
“If we can keep winning trophies – and we’ve won one already this year – it’s testament to the work everyone involved at this Club puts in. It’s credit to everyone – the players and staff and those behind-the-scenes who aren’t often recognised. Everyone is pushing to be better.
“Looking back at the 2014 and the first trophy we won – the Conti Cup – that was such a special feeling. We were the underdogs – nobody expected anything of us – but I think that win really kick-started the mentality of the team. We realised we deserved to be in Finals and that it was something we wanted to work towards.
“I don’t think that feeling has ever gone away. I think any of those players would agree: that’s when the ethic changed. We were all thinking: ‘Okay, what’s the next trophy we can get?’
“That’s the mentality you need to succeed because the game is so competitive. I think the 2014 Final showed that you don’t always have to have the most gifted players – it’s about team togetherness and a winning mentality.
“Back then, I was one of the kids. There was me, Georgia Brougham, Alex Brooks, Natasha Flint... I was playing football with my best mates! As the kids of the group, we didn't take life too seriously – we used to mess about and everyone used to laugh at us. We were just so grateful for the opportunity to be at the Club – so happy to be there, training with the best players in England!
“For me personally, I think the Cup Final was the game – the moment – my career went to the next level. Nick said to me afterwards: 'You need to push on now.' After that, I started to work even harder and I never stopped. Once you get that taste of winning a trophy, you're hooked.
“From there, the belief grew and the Club told us they weren’t just settling for a women’s team which just goes through the motions – they wanted to push us on to become the best women’s team in the world.
“That’s something we’re all aiming towards now but seven trophies in seven years… I doubt many clubs can say they’ve achieved that. It that just shows what this Club is all about and I’m so proud to play for Manchester City. Not only is it the Club I support; it’s also the best Club in the world.”
MY FAVOURITE GOAL
Lauren Hemp clocked her 50th appearance for City in all competitions in Sunday's 7-1 triumph over Brighton and Hove Albion.
The PFA Young Player of the Year is back in top form, having missed the opening months of the 2020/21 campaign through injury.
But which of her City goals tops the lot? Our lightning-fast forward reveals her all-time best City strike in My Favourite Goal, presented by Nissan - and it happens to be a glorious effort against Saturday's opposition...
As you could probably guess, it’s my goal in the 2019 FA Women’s Cup Final.
We won 3-0 against hard opposition in West Ham at Wembley Stadium. I’d never been to Wembley before so having the opportunity to get on the pitch and then to score as well was amazing.
Winning the FA Cup was incredible. Scoring topped it off and I actually nearly got a couple more towards the end!
Playing at Wembley in front of about 40,000 fans – the biggest crowd I’d played in front of – was amazing.
I hadn’t even been expecting to come on but I was brought on for the last ten minutes and managed to score.
For me, it was a massive occasion and it’s one myself and my family are really proud of.
Sitting on the bench, you’re eager to come on and make an impact, showing what you can do.
I was just looking forward to running up and down the sideline! I wanted to get out and warm-up every five minutes and soak up the atmosphere.
I really wanted to prove myself and thankfully, Nick Cushing believed in me and trusted me to come on.
He shouted me over to come on with about ten minutes left. I remember standing on the touchline, waiting to come on. I was very nervous but excited.
We were in front and I thought: ‘I may as well give it everything I’ve got!’
Thankfully, it worked out.
Jennifer Beattie kicked it in behind the defence and I could see the ‘keeper coming out.
I’m known for my speed – it’s one of my main strengths – and I knew that if I could get on the end of the pass, all I had to do was kick it!
I managed to get onto it and I was just aiming for the goal, although I didn’t expect it to go in from that far out.
I made contact mid-air and at the speed I was running, it made me fall. I think my feet were moving quicker than my mind!
At the time, I thought it was a good shot but it was only when I did a roly-poly and heard the crowd cheer that I knew it had gone in!
It was perfect.
The players came rushing over – they were all really happy for me.
I hadn’t had many minutes throughout the season and in a big game like that, you want to show what sort of player you are.
Everyone was really happy for me, which was really nice to see.
It was a bit moment for me – one I’m still buzzing about and will be buzzing about for years to come!
Nickname: The Hammers
Stadium: Chigwell Construction Stadium
(Dagenham & Redbridge FC)
Manager: Olli Harder
Division: FA Women’s Super League (2018-present)
Women's FA Cup runners-up: 2018/19
FA Women's Premier League Plate: 2017/18
Isthmian League Women's Cup: 2017/18
Essex FA County Cup Winners: 2008/09, 2010/11
South East Combination League: 2004/05
Greater London Regional Premier League: 2000/01, 2001/02
Greater London Regional League Play-Off Winners: 2001/02
14 October 2018: City 7-1 West Ham, FA WSL
(Weir, Parris x2, Stanway x2, Houghton, Wullaert)
13 January 2019: West Ham 1-3 City, FA WSL
(Weir, Hemp, Parris)
4 May 2019, City 3-0 West Ham, FA Cup Final
(Walsh, Stanway, Hemp)
17 November 2019: City 5-0 West Ham, FA WSL
(White, Stanway x2, Hemp, Wullaert)
Georgia Stanway is City’s top scorer
against the Hammers with five goals.
Scotland international Jane Ross and Netherlands star Tessel Middag both joined West Ham from City in the summer of 2018, having clocked up 84 appearances between them in sky blue.
Ross made the move to Manchester in November 2015 and went on to become the Club's top goalscorer in the 2016 campaign. The striker was a key component as City earned a first league title and second Continental Tyres Cup success, which was followed by FA Cup glory in May 2017.
In total, she bagged 25 goals in 61 games for the Club across all competitions.
A mid-season signing in June 2016, Middag clinched two trophies in her first four months at the Club. The Dutch midfielder’s City career was sadly hampered by a ten-month cruciate ligament injury sustained in the 2017 Spring Series, ahead of the summer’s European Championships in her home country.
Ross has since joined Manchester United, while Middag is now plying her trade in Italy with Fiorentina.
Q&A WITH → GEORGIA STANWAY
Having signed for City at the age of just 16, Georgia Stanway stands as one of the Club's highest appearance makers - and top goalscorers - and has played a key role in our success.
Reflecting on an incredible journey, Stanners says the move has been everything she hoped of and more...
Georgia, you joined the Club as a teenager back in 2015... When you look back now, can you believe what has been achieved?
"Time flies! When you think about the moments we've had and the trophies we've lifted, it's crazy to think how much has happened in that time.
"It's made to think how young I was when I started and then where I'm at now. It almost feels like I've been around forever! I'm only 22 and I forget about that..
"Hopefully, in another seven years, we can have another seven trophies. We could even double that. It's up to us.
"It's just about enjoying every moment we get on the field and the training pitch and trying to utilise those around us.
w. So I think it's just about enjoying every moment that we get on the field and, and on the training pitch and just trying to utilize the people around us as much as we can."
When you consider City were a new team to the FA Women's Super League in that first season back in 2014, does it make the Club's rapid rise all the more impressive?
"It's massive. It just shows how much the women's game is growing and how much Clubs like City are investing into it.
"We've got the time, we've got the players, we've got the facilities... we've got everything you can possibly dream of. You walk into the training grounds and there's loads of pitches, you've got the gyms, food... you've got everything you could possibly think of.
"I think it's just a stepping stone for the women's game. It's only going to get more and more competitive and it's only going to get bigger. So, if we can continue to set the standards high and be at the forefront of the women's game, then we will go far."
Although we had already won a trophy by the time you arrived, what was the moment you felt this Club could really challenge?
"Literally the first time I arrived. The first moment you step out onto the grass, you realise what you're here to do. As a Manchester City player, you're signed to win trophies. You don't sign to simply take part or make up the numbers.
"Everybody in the squad has quality and brings something different to the team - on the pitch and off it. Attacking of defending, everyone plays a huge part and that's huge within a Club: to know that we can put any XI out on the pitch and that they're capable of getting the result we need.
"Having that, we're putting ourselves in the best possible position to lift as many trophies as we can."
You've spoken before about your favourite goals and your favourite game but do you have a particular favourite memory of your time at the Club?
"I think my favourite all-time memory has got to be our second FA Cup Final. It was a massive moment for me because it as the first time I'd ever started a game at Wembley.
"We played West Ham and I scored and got Player of the Match. It was amazing as an all-round day but the highlight for me was actually before the game: I went out onto the pitch and I looked up to where my family were in Hospitality. I FaceTimed them from the middle of the pitch to say 'hi' and showed them the stadium from where I was standing. I don't think they realised how big it was.
"To have achieved what I achieved that day with all of my family there was amazing. It was a chance for me to give back to them for all the support they've shown me. That's a favourite memory of mine - not just for the football side but for the fact I could share and enjoy it with my support network."
That game was quite fitting in that you, Keira Walsh and Lauren Hemp were on the scoresheet - all of whom have gone on to become senior England internationals... The Club have long held a commitment to developing young talent. Is that something you're proud of?
"It's unbelievable. Nick Cushing was at the forefront of it and for him to have put his trust in me at such a young age to go out and do a job. I was 16 when I made my debut and that was because he had belief in me.
"I've lived those moments and those experiences have moulded who I am as person and a player. It's so important to put faith into the younger generation. They are the next generation.
"We've got young players training with us at the moment - plus the likes of Jess Park and Esme Morgan - who have so much talent. It's about providing that level of support, guiding her to try to become the best player she can be.
"Of course, you can have talent but you have to have hard work to come with it. If you put them both together, hopefully everyone can achieve their targets."
Finally, what could the next seven years look like for women's football?
"I think the next seven years is massive and we'll look back on some really defining moments for the women's game.
"I hope that what we've gained over the last seven years in terms of fans, the level of competition and the amount of people watching will double. I think the World Cups in Canada and France were a big part of that growth and hopefully, it's something we can replicate going forward.
"Once the global pandemic is over, hopefully football can get back to normal as quickly as possible and we can have fans inside stadiums again. Then, as long as we continue to play good football that's enjoyable to watch, more fans will be encourage to watch and support us. I hope it continues to grow."
JUNIOR CITYZEN OF THE MATCH
Hello and congratulations to our Junior Cityzen of the Match: Mylee Dunbar.
Mylee has supported City since she was six and has really missed being able to go and watch the team play.
Her favourite memories of watching the team include walking out with Steph Houghton as a mascot (alongside her older sister) and attending a #SAMEGOALS coaching session with her favourite player Keira Walsh at the City Football Academy.
Mylee also had her picture taken on the Academy Stadium pitch with the photo featuring on the side of her own City in the Community minibus! She has participated in CITC events for many years and enjoys being part of the City Girls Football and Empowerment sessions.
She has played football herself since she was five and is currently enjoying her second season with Manchester United's Under-10s.
When I grow up, I would really like to be a professional footballer but I know I have got a lot of hard work ahead of me yet! The City players are brilliant role models for myself and other girls like me to look up to. COME ON, CITY!
Enjoy the game, Mylee!
If you want to be our next Junior Cityzen of the Match, enter now on the Cityzens platform!
Wow! Seven years since City Ladies were re -launched as Manchester City Women...
It's been fantastic to see the Club celebrating this anniversary with lots of articles and interviews over the past week. What a ride it has been!
It reminds us here at the Manchester City Women's Official Supporters Club of a poll we ran during the height of the first lockdown...
Last summer, we asked our members to vote for their favourite game since the launch in 2014. We had a lot to choose from but the game at the Academy Stadium against Chelsea that saw us clinch the 2016 FA WSL title was the winner.
hat was an amazing day! We are sure all City fans present will remember it. The way everybody was able to join in with the players celebrating seems even more memorable now, considering the current difficult times we live in.
Congratulations and thank you to all at the Club from everyone at the MCWFC OSC and here's to the next seven years being just as successful!
There was more good reason to celebrate recently with the great news that our OSC Treasurer Jude Morris-King has been appointed onto the Football Supporters Association National Council, representing the Women's game.
It is another proud step forward for us, having become FSA members last year and the recent official formation of the Women's Game Network within the organisation.
Again, we would like to remind any supporters that our social media is constantly active while we are away from games and we welcome all interactions, especially fans who feel they are struggling in any way.
Come on, City!