Four short months ago Manchester Women’s team was still largely only a dream written on paper and saved in Power Point presentations.
On Easter Sunday a flesh and blood side liberally sprinkled with stardust will make its home debut in the embryonic FA backed Women’s Super League.
There will be dozens of City employee hearts swelling with pride when Stephanie Houghton, the captain of England, leads out her club side at 1.50pm. Not least amongst them will be the forerunners to the new side – the specially invited City Ladies of 1988.
Hopefully the Regional Athletics Arena on the Etihad Campus will be packed with fans joining in the celebrations and enjoying the football.
Day after day, night after night, since the club’s formation Head of Women’s football Gavin Makel and his administration team of one – Rebecca Walkden - have tirelessly put together a squad that in pre-season and FA Cup games has already shown it will be competitive.
It is a squad that contains a mixture of England’s star names, promising youngsters, and home grown and international talent.
And they are good…exceptionally good.
But more than that, they have a spirit, a joy, and a personality that only the most chauvinistic of stony hearts could ignore.
As a Manchester hack I have been reporting on City teams of all ages for nearly 30 years, hand on heart I can say categorically that few – save Joe Royle’s collection of bon vivants - have come close to projecting the kind of soul and essence radiated by MCWFC.
City women - who this week broke fresh ground by announcing a non-commercial partnership with Women Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF) - are on a collective mission to build a lasting legacy for the women’s game in Manchester, to lay foundations for girls coming through the ranks and to help move the national game on to a point where it is full time professional and properly competing for internet and media space with its male counterparts.
Their commitment to these ideals shows in everything they do.
Approachable, personable, community spirited, ego-free and determined to play their way into the conscience of every City fan near or far, old or young, man or woman, they already wear the shirt with a heady mixture of dignity and delight.
Under their coach Nick Cushing MCWFC are not making any rash promises other than to entertain and play the game in a manner that replicates the attacking, passing style that is engrained in all City teams no matter what age group or sex.
Bristol Academy are the opposition in Sunday’s historic home opener. It would be great if the team was met with a wall of Sky Blue and if you can possibly make it then please do.
Kick-off is 2pm and admission is free to season card holders (bring your card and swap it for a ticket at the box office); Otherwise it is £6 for adults; £5 for 16-21-year-olds and £4 for youngsters.
See you there.