FOUR YEARS OF @LFCLADIESFANS

Hello followers of @LFCladiesfans! Today, 24th March, marks the fourth anniversary of the beginning of this blog. It has been an eventful, crazy and fun-filled four years and I wanted to mark the occasion by counting down the top five personal highlights I have had since embarking on this adventure four years ago.

Notable highlights that just about missed out on the top five: 

The relentless pursuit of Natasha Harding on Twitter; being convinced several times over that the Welsh wonder had signed for the Reds before being handed a Wales shirt by the woman herself as an apology for, “I’m always winding you up saying I’m signing for Liverpool”. By this point convinced that Tash would never sign for Liverpool, just nine months later reading a press release from the club confirming that the winger had signed for the Reds from Manchester City. I always knew it… honest.

Recognition for the blog from the players, I’m not one to toot my own horn – this a pun I’m hoping many regulars at the Select Stadium recognise – but in the four years since beginning my blog I’ve been lucky enough to receive signed boots from Whitney Engen, Kate Longhurst and Natasha Dowie and worn shirts from Fara Williams and Lucy Staniforth. Each a surprise and each a more than appreciated gesture. Further to this, despite not being shortlisted for the awards, a number of players – and of course followers of the blog – tweeted in support of @LFCladiesfans at the 2016 Football Blog Awards and for that I was more than grateful.

Writing for The Anfield Wrap and appearing on their podcasts alongside Scott Rogers, Vick Jepson and Danielle Gibbons and also featuring in a live show with Kate Longhurst and Libby Stout.

Now for the Top 5…
5
Starting the blog!

 This may seem like an obvious point, however four years ago today Liverpool Ladies took on Everton in the Continental Cup. Four years ago today I got home from work, watched the derby on an online stream and then had no one to talk to about the game afterwards. Four years ago I decided to start a Twitter account/ blog to make sure I had someone to talk to about the games afterwards – I’ve certainly found that and more!

My article published in LFC magazine ahead of the 2016 season

 For all the social media accounts that supported and promoted Liverpool Football Club none had the specific angle of promoting Liverpool Ladies and so I created my own.

 Admittedly @LFCladiesfans was then founded under a limited knowledge. I’d watched the Red women on a number of occasions previously but never with a serious understanding of the players involved, the league or indeed the history of the women’s game.

 The Twitter account grew to 100+ followers within the first week and this was when I realised more people than just me wanted to know more about this team, it was a quick learning curve for me and still the women’s game, leagues and teams are something I am constantly wanting to learn from and about.

 Across social media platforms since 2013 @LFCladiesfans has grown to an audience of over 8,000 followers (EIGHT THOUSAND!) and has been featured by LFC magazine and matchday programme, The Anfield Wrap, SheKicks magazine, This Is Anfield, Anfield Index, WWF Show, Daily Star newspaper, Premier Inn hotels and Empire of the Kop.

4
Youth League Titles

In four years of LFCladiesfans, the blog has reported on four title winning sides – one league title per year!

LFC Ladies Development Squad 2014/15

The Development Squad managed by Matty Campbell and Vick Jepson in 2014/15 started the season strongly before losing a couple of key players in the middle of the campaign and suffering a dip in form – the 12-game unbeaten run disrupted by a run of three defeats and a draw.

The team were then supplemented by players from the U17s, joined by a couple of new additions from Manchester United and embarked on another unbeaten run of five games to claim the league title. The victory made all the more sweeter as the the title was clinched during a 4-1 win over Merseyside rivals Everton Ladies.

Later that year another youth side at the club began a successful league campaign; The U17s, coached by Andy Newland and Charlotte Healy, lifted their first title beating Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers to the honour for the first time.

The young Reds, assisted by Niamh Charles and a number of other soon to be familiar faces, raced into a lead at the top of the table and enjoyed memorable wins over Everton (4-3 and 2-0), United (2-1) and Blackburn (4-1).

During the Spring Series first team boss Scott Rogers has spoke of how he wants to use the game to integrate the youth into the first team, there is certainly a lot of talent at the club and, as the current U16s close in on another league title, the future for Liverpool Ladies is bright.

3
Following the Reds in Europe
After winning the league in 2013 Liverpool Ladies qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history.
The following year the Reds drew Swedish outfit Linkoping and defeated the strong side 2-1 in Widnes in the first leg.
A week and three flights later (Manchester to Oslo to Copenhagen to Linkoping) myself and five other fans braved the trip to freezing Sweden. A memorable couple of days followed – though we won’t mention the result of the football – been given free ice cream, enjoying a few drinks with friends met via Liverpool Ladies and the experience of supporting Liverpool on a European away.
In 2015 Liverpool then drew Italian champions Brescia CF however the injury-hit Reds once more suffered knock-out in the Round of 32. The warmer climate of the Northern Italian town was appreciated, particularly in stark contrast to Linkoping the preview October and another trip following Liverpool proved to be another great experience. 

2
World Travels: From Boston to Fylde

As well as Sweden and Italy, the blog has taken me further afield. In 2015 and as part of my University degree I secured a summer work placement with Boston Breakers in the NWSL, I was devastated when this fell through due to paperwork. However with a Uni module still to complete and a bit of money saved up I decided to go out on my own to Canada and cover the Women’s World Cup through my blog.

Basing myself in Montreal and watching as Liverpool’s Fara Williams was crowned Player of the Match in England’s 2-1 win over Colombia, I also caught, arguably, the game of the tournament as Germany knocked France out in the quarter finals and the semi final between eventual winners USA and Germany.

Meeting up with a couple of friends over there, we travelled down the coast to Toronto and Niagara Falls and also stayed in Ottawa as England beat Norway 2-1 with a cracker of a goal from Lucy Bronze.

While in Canada I met up with Damian who follows my blog and after travelling down to New York also met up with Chrissie who follows LFCladiesfans from there!

With Yasmine & Liv at Fylde Ladies FC

Since Canada I’ve started a section on the blog called X-Reds where I follow ex-Liverpool players to their new clubs and report on the game, this has so far taken me to Boston to see Matt Beard, Louise Schillgard, Libby Stout and Natasha Dowie, Chicago to support Amanda DaCosta, Sunderland to watch Lucy Staniforth and – my favourite – Fylde to see Yasmine Swarbrick and Livi Wild turn out for the Coasters.

With plans to attend the Euros in the Netherlands this summer, this part of the blog will continue to grow and feature even more X-Reds!


1
Watching Liverpool Ladies lift the league title… twice!

How could number one be anything but watching Liverpool Ladies lift that first league title in 2013.

Laws; Bronze, Bonner (C), Engen, Schroder; Omarsdottir, Williams, Rolser, DaCosta, Fors; Dowie

What an 11!

Watching the Reds lift that first league title, taking the crown from holders Arsenal and including an excellent win over the Gunners at the Emirates (4-nil!) and a Natasha Dowie hat-trick over Everton!

League title number two of course deserves an honourable mention here, the manner in which the trophy was lifted taking at least 10 years off my life expectancy – there are images of me sitting on the floor of the Select Stadium during the final 10 minutes of the win over Bristol floating about.

A special thank you goes out to everyone that has followed LFCladiesfans, whether from the start or just last week. I love every minute of following and supporting Liverpool Ladies and to have been able to maintain this blog for four years now is a testament to those who follow and read it!

-Heather

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