WELCOME


Welcome to the elatestdition of our digital Women's matchday programme, as the Academy Stadium hosts FA Women's Super League action once again with Sunday's visit of Tottenham Hotspur.

There's a real buzz in the air, after we booked our place in the 2019/20 FA Women's Cup Final with victory over Arsenal in midweek, and with games coming thick and fast, we have an incredibly exciting run of fixtures to look forward to!

In this programme, Gareth Taylor and Steph Houghton share their thoughts on our quickfire clashes against the two sides from North London.

Meanwhile, Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle reflect on their first taste of Club football together, and fresh from making her 150th appearance, Keira Walsh reveals her favourite goal.

We also catch up with Megan Campbell, as the Republic of Ireland defender edges closer to a return from injury, and our MCWFC Official Supporters Club tell us their latest news.

It's an early kick-off but we're ready.

Let's do this...

A WORD FROM THE BOSS...


Hello, City fans.

It's been a quick turnaround, as we step out onto the Academy Stadium pitch once again to face Tottenham Hotspur. Welcome to their managers Karen Hills and Juan Amoros, their players and staff.

We go into this game on the back of Thursday's fantastic win over Arsenal in the semi-finals of the FA Women' Cup. I thought the girls were excellent - they really earned the win with a real desire and determination to get back to Wembley. It's a place they're familiar with but you could see how much it meant at full-time.

I thought the whole team stepped up, especially in the first half, and I thought we were unfortunate not to be more goals to the good with the play we had. We were disappointed with the goal we conceded, although it was a bit of a freak moment. I never felt we were in any danger prior to that point but the reaction from the girls to their equaliser was amazing.

There was more good news too, as Keira Walsh made her 150th City appearance, which is a brilliant accomplishment. It means a lot to her - she’s a City fan through and through - and she epitomises what this Club is about. She works hard and she has good quality with loads of determination.

In every one of my players, I look at their personality. As well as good players, we have really good people, who want to do well. Together, those traits give us a real chance of achieving something.

I'm proud of what we've achieved so far and I feel fortunate. Not many coaches who are new to a job have the opportunity to manage a team at Wembley twice in their first eight or nine games. It's a nice feeling!

Hopefully, it reinforces and instils confidence in the work we're doing. It's not easy changing the coach, making additions to the squad and trying to improve. Naturally, there are times when it's not going to necessarily click straight away and in the first weeks, we were struggling to fill a bench. The majority of players we had signed were not available to us!

Despite that, I was really pleased with our pre-season performance and slowly but surely, we're getting there. It's an exciting period. We had a slow introduction to the season with games spaced out but now, we have games every three days.

There are a lot of games coming up and everybody needs to be ready. I feel comfortable with the squad we have - I can field any one of the players and know they'll produce a decent level of performance, without having to disrupt too many things. It's a nice position to be in as a manager and it's something I'm looking forward to.

There will be some days and some not so good days but it's about remaining calm and focusing on the process to get us to our goal. This Club has been successful previously and we're trying to take things to the next level, but we're under no illusions that we're not alone in wanting to achieve big outcomes.

Enjoy the game.

Gareth Taylor

CAPTAIN'S NOTES


Hey everyone!

What a few days it's been! We're all still buzzing after Thursday night's game and we can't wait to get under way on Sunday.

It was a huge win in midweek. Of course, I was delighted to get on the scoresheet but most importantly, we reached the Final with a big team performance, although we haven't had too much time to enjoy it with another important game this weekend.

We've had to put it aside and move on. We know we have to win against Tottenham Hotspur, especially as we dropped points in our last league game - and there really is no margin for error in this league.

For the likes of ourselves, Arsenal and Chelsea, there's a pressure to play well and keep winning. Of course, we were disappointed with the result against Brighton and Hove Albion - we had a fair few chances and the majority of possession - but for us, it was just one of those days and no matter what we tried, it wasn't going to go in the back of the net!

Naturally, there is going to be some expectation on our shoulders because of the additions we've made and the fact we have a new manager but we always get into the zone of controlling what we can control, which is trying to play the way City play and win football games.

People like to write us off after a bad result, especially while other teams are doing well, but ultimately, outside noise is for others to listen to.

For us as a squad, we can only focus on doing what we can every single day to make things better. After the Brighton game, we headed onto international duty, which was a good break for everybody and a chance to reset.

We've looked good since but we're not complacent. We know how tough Sunday is going to be and we respect every opponent we face. Tottenham were a team who were finding their feet in the league last season and they gave a good account of themselves, showing what they are about early on.

We haven't played them at home yet but whenever we played them away, they were a tough team and well organised. As you'll know, they've added some recruits - Alex Morgan for example, which shows what their intentions are as a Club going forward.

With players of that calibre - World Cup winners - coming in, it shows the FA Women's Super League is a league everyone wants to come and play in, and it allows players to raise our level with more competitive games. Of course, we've recruited our own United States stars in Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle, who are really enjoying being around the place and have fit straight in.

It's great for the fans too - it makes for even better viewing and the matches will be closer. I can confidently say the WSL is the best league in the world at the moment and needless to say, that really excites you as a player - you want to be playing in these games, testing yourself against world-class opponents.

This season, we know how important squad rotation will be - there are so many games that it's necessary - and players who have played every game in the past have to manage minutes. Once you're at a Club like City though, you have to realise that things always change - there are going to be new additions - and you have to put the team first, no matter what.

I always say: everybody will have their moment; everyone will play a part. With the amount of games we could play, everyone is going to be needed at some point. Some players might play more than others but you have to find a way to make sure you play your part on and off the pitch, making sure the environment is good, that you're keeping healthy and providing competition for your teammates to push them further.

It's a team effort - we work together to give ourselves the best chance of success. It's about being ready, bringing the best attitude you can to the training ground and in matches every single day.

Speaking of which, I'd like to say congratulations to Keira Walsh on her 150th appearance for the Club. She's a player who embodies all of those characteristics and to reach that milestone, especially at the Club you support, is a fantastic achievement.

It's time to build some momentum.

Come on, City!

Steph Houghton

WORLD ANIMAL DAY 2020


Canine companions
& feline friends...

Item 1 of 9

My Favourite Goal:
Keira Walsh


It’s the dream of every football fan: to step out onto
the hallowed turf, donning the shirt of their childhood team...
and it's a dream Keira Walsh lives every single day.

Our mercurial midfielder wrote her name into the history
books in the FA Women's Cup triumph over Arsenal,
making her 150th appearance for the Club.

In the latest edition of My Favourite Goal, presented by Nissan,
the lifelong City fan shares her most magical moment
- a moment she'd waited her whole life for!


The pick

I’d probably say the goal in the Champions League against Brondby – my first goal.

Scoring my first goal for the Club I support is a moment I’ll never forget and especially, to have scored it in the Champions League, which is such a tough competition – you’re playing against top quality players – is a great feeling.

The strike

The strike was alright! A lot of people tell me I need to shoot more. People say I’ve got good technique but I don’t tend to think about that – I’d rather set up my teammates – but the opportunity just presented itself.

I remember as I was about it hit it, Toni Duggan shouted: ‘Don’t shoot!’ but as soon as I hit it, I think everyone knew it was going to go in. To be fair, I tell Georgia Stanway to pass every game but once I say it, her shot goes in so what can you say? It happens to everyone.

Most people know when it leaves your foot if it’s a good shot and if it’s going to go in. Georgia will say the same – as soon as you strike the ball, you know if it’s going in or not, and I just knew.

The celebration

The celebration was for Abbie McManus – she came up to me before the game and told me I would score! I told her that if I did, I would do a celebration for her ears because she’s got big ears, hasn’t she?!

When I scored, everyone (including Toni!) was buzzing for me and ran towards me but all I could think was: ‘No, I need to turn and go and celebrate with Abbie!’ so I ran past everyone to her on the side.

She was buzzing for me because it was my first goal and if I scored now, I’d probably still do that celebration! When someone asks me to make a GIF, I still do it!

The importance

We won the game 1-0 and Toni scored in the second leg with a left-foot volley, which was better than mine, to send us through to the next round!

We had such a good group in that team. Everyone was so happy for me and it was a nice feeling to be part of it and to score and help the team.

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HERE'S TO BRIGHT BLUE SKIES...


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ROSE LAVELLE & SAM MEWIS:
THE AMERICAN DREAM TEAM


It's not very often someone has the chance to work alongside their best friend.

For Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis, it's an everyday reality and one that has seen the pair share the most incredible moments together, including of course, last summer's wonderful World Cup win with the United States.

Now, the dynamic duo have embarked on a new adventure together, having headed across the Atlantic to England, donning the sky blue of Manchester City and testing their mettle in the FA Women's Super League.

Thursday night's triumph over Arsenal saw the midfield maestros share the pitch for the first time in Club colours, as Lavelle made her City debut from the bench.

Mewis described the moment as a special experience for the US stars, adding she hopes to celebrate many more achievements alongside her close friend and compatriot.

"It was fun to see her come on and play with her again," she declared.

"It's fun to be teammates at a Club - we've never done that before. I'm really excited to continue doing that. It's been great so far."

A period of quarantine and a minor injury meant Lavelle had to wait a little while before joining Mewis in Manchester, but the 25-year-old admits she was grateful for her 'guinea pig!'

"It's nice to have Sammy here," she smiled. "I feel a little selfish saying it but I'm glad she came over first so she could tell me things!

"She told me what was going on and answered any questions I had. She was telling me how much she loved it and that made me even more excited to get here and get going.

"It's been nice having her here to help me out."

So what makes the pair such good friends? They don't actually know!

“It's so funny," Lavelle grinned. "We're the opposite of each other but get along great. Me and Sam really butt heads. No-one yells at me like Sam yells at me!

“We always ask each other: ‘When did we become best friends?’ We have no clue!

“I love her. It's been so fun to be on the national team and play with her and now we get to play with each other for our Club and our national team.

“She’s one of those people who is so funny without even trying. People just laugh at her!”

Mewis has certainly raised plenty of smiles in her first weeks at the Club. The 27-year-old has hit the ground running in England, having impressed in pre-season (scoring and creating two assists the day after her first training session!) before netting the winner against Arsenal for her first competitive City strike.

As Lavelle said, her fellow World Cup winner is loving her time in Manchester.

"It's great," Mewis reflected. "I love the team and training is really good.

"Me and Rose are finally settled into our apartment building, which is really nice and I really like the area. It's awesome.

"I felt (against Arsenal) that the team is starting to click. I'm excited to feel that coming together.

"It's really fun and intense and a joy to be part of."

Opposition: Tottenham Hotspur

Founded: 1985 (Broxbourne Ladies)

Nickname: Spurs, the Lilywhites

Stadium: The Hive Stadium (Edgware)

Managers: Karen Hills and Juan Amoros

Division: FA Women’s Super League (2019=present)


Honours

FA Women's Championship Runners-Up (2018/19)

FA Women's Premier League Championship Play-Off Winners (2016/17)

FA Women's Premier League Cup Winners (2015/16, 2016/17)

FA Women's Premier League Southern Division Winners (2016/17)

Middlesex County Cup Runners-Up (1991/92)

Greater London Regional Women's League Premier Division Runners-Up (1994/95, 1995/96, 1996/97, 2000/01)

Greater London Regional Women's League Division One Champions (1997/98)

Greater London Regional Women's League Cup Winners (1995/96)

Greater London Regional Women's League Cup Runners-Up (1998/99, 2003/04)

London and South-East Regional Women's Football League Premier Division Champions (2007/08)

FA South-East Combination Champions (2010/11)

London County Senior Cup Winners (2011/12)

Ryman’s Women's Cup Runners-Up (2014/15)

Ryman Women's Cup Winners (2015/16, 2016/17)

Capital Women's Cup Runners-Up (2015/16, 2016/17)


Previous meetings:

17 February 2019, FA Cup
Tottenham Hotspur 0-3 City
(Houghton, Hemp, Bonner)

5 January 2020, FA WSL
Tottenham Hotspur 1-4 City
(Bremer x2, White, Hemp)


Top scorer

With two goals in two appearances, Lauren Hemp is City’s top scorer against Spurs.


Player links

One of five American World Cup-winning stars to have made the move to the FA Women’s Super League this summer, Alex Morgan lifted the trophy alongside new City recruits Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle.

The forward scored against England – with five City representatives in the Lionesses’ starting XI – to book her side’s place in the Final.

Spurs defender Hannah Godfrey played for City’s Academy.

FANZONE


Everyone at the Manchester City Women Official Supporters Club is delighted and proud to announce we will be sponsoring Tameside United Girls Under 11s this season.

This is our third season backing the girls, who will again proudly display our OSC crest on their shirts. Being able to sponsor a local grassroots team was an objective we wanted to achieve right from our formation in 2015, so we are proud to be able to do so again.

One positive of our enforced absence from attending games has been the virtual 'watch-alongs' we have arranged with our members. We link up together on social media and try to recreate a little OSC matchday atmosphere at home, while glued to the games on TV.

We have again arranged a virtual watch-along for today's game for all of our members, so we will be singing LOUD AND PROUD from home.

COME ON, CITY!

MCWFC Official Supporters Club

Q&A WITH → MEGAN CAMPBELL

Speaking exclusively to our We're Not Really Here matchday show, the City and Republic of Ireland defender shares the latest...


Hey Megan, how is your rehab progressing?

I am back training now. Thankfully, I was able to overcome the rehab at home - most of it was based in the house due to COVID-19 but I’ve taken a positive from it because it’s worked in my favour in that I’ve been able to take advantage of the time to get myself closer to the team, whilst not missing any football.

I’m nearly there. I’m just taking it day by day and seeing how it goes. I’m back training and I’m going to build on that.

*

Although you've had less time than others to adapt, how have you found Gareth Taylor's style?

So far, so good! It’s been brilliant working with him. He’s a lot more vocal in training than Nick Cushing was!

He’s been in the Academy so he knows the system - how the set-up is, the ideologies, that we’re a Club that want to win trophies...

You’ve got to learn, you’ve got to adapt. It’s all for the benefit of the team and it’s all to improve us as players and improve us as a team together, going forward to be successful.

I think everyone is set on the plan. Your concentration is constantly on because you’re trying to take in his information, you’re trying to impress him as a manager, you’re trying to learn the new systems he wants to play... but ultimately, we have an ideology within Manchester City and we will always follow that.

It’s: get the ball on the ground and play nice football and hopefully, it ends with the ball in the back of the net!

*

Does he draw experience from his own playing days? Does that help?

He understands your frustrations, he understands your successes, he understands where you want to be as a player, if you are playing or if you’re not.

He probably understands positionally what goes through your head as a player a bit more. It’s nice to get his insight as to when he did play but also through the coaching role, through the pathway from working with the Under-18s to now working with us.

*

The Club have made some high-profile signings over the summer, including another left-back in Alex Greenwood. What have you made of our summer recruitment?

The squad is incredible. We're going into the new season with what I would consider to be a better squad - players who can play in multiple positions - and we strengthened just before the season.

Fingers crossed, this is just the starting point for us to drive on and be successful. We’re looking forward to the season and hopefully. we’ll build year on year.

I’m looking forward to the challenge and I know the team are too, eager to put things right from last season.

*

We've come close before but with such a strong squad now and with Champions League winners on board, do we have what it takes to win the competition?

We’re going to take it one game at a time. You don’t want to look too far ahead because it could get further and further away and you may not achieve it if you get caught up thinking about the future - but if you look at the squad, you have two people in every position.

You can play two XIs like the men’s team now and still be as strong as ever. It’s competitive and we’re fighting for places, but we’re doing it as a team and that’s the most important thing.

If we are successful, it will be as a whole team and we’ll all be a part of that.

*

Other teams have also strengthened with more big names joining the FA Women's Super League. What a statement for the game...

I think this is the best league for women’s football around the world. I think it’s the most competitive you’ll get.

Players from around Europe have been coming to this league over the past couple of years. Look at Tottenham, who have signed Alex Morgan until the end of 2020 - more American World Cup winners coming in!

There has been top talent constantly coming in and filtering into the FA WSL. To now see Americans, who are World Cup winners and constantly successful, coming in is a nice added bonus into the league.

The women’s game in America is well above the men. Why should we not be on level par - if not above - as well? It’s nice to have those players coming over to our league to give little insights on how we can continue to drive those things and see where they have come from.

I do think there has been an influx of international players for a long time but maybe this has just put an extra focus on it now because there is such renowned talent coming to the league this season.

It’s great for women’s football. It’s unbelievable to be able play players like this and teams like this. We’ll look forward to the challenge.

*

How does it feel to be part of that growth?

It’s unbelievable to be part of it. When you look back in years to come, you can say you were a part of something. It might only have been the seed of where it was going to go to but you were still part of that building phase.

You’ve got the likes of Chloe Kelly, Esme Morgan, Lauren Hemp, Tyler Toland and Jess Park in the squad. By our age, they will probably be living the life of luxury and the women’s team will hopefully, be where the men’s team are!

The funding and everything like that will continue to progress women’s football in England and around the world. It’s incredible to see and to be a part of at the minute.