This was Everton Women’s comeback season. The one where they proved that they were serious WSL contenders, a “Top Five” team, as Manager Willie Kirk aspired them to be. The new boss had pulled off a miracle of some sorts and turned a second to last place team into an exciting side gunning for a Champions League future. The improvements for the players were remarkable:
- A brand new home stadium at Walton Hall Park
- Big-name new signings including Izzy Christiansen and Hayley Raso
- New amenities and physio staff for the players
- New leadership structure and commitment to funding
- Playing Liverpool Women in front of a packed stadium at Anfield
- A Merseyside Derby to be played at Goodison Park
Unfortunately, the match at Goodison was called off due to Storm Ciara, which caused high winds and adverse weather conditions for fans to travel in. According to the Telegraph, Everton was expecting a crowd of 25,000 fans to show up. The club went ahead and rescheduled the match for a mid-week evening slot on 25 March. At the time, it seemed like a disappointment but with the season all but canceled, it really brings home all that we had once taken for granted.
Had the game taken place, the audience would surely not have been close to 25,000 for a weeknight but it still would have been a great occasion. No doubt about it, Everton would have beaten the Reds, with striker Chloe Kelly scoring at least one or two goals.
A lot of things are up in the air with the future of the women’s league. As Suzanne Wrack pointed out in the Guardian, many WSL contracts are more short-term, perhaps for only a year or two. She quoted Amanda Vandervort, of Fifpro players’ union, as saying that the coronavirus pandemic could be “a major setback to the growth and progress” that the women’s game has made. Vandervort is concerned about player contracts being cancelled and clubs restructuring their budgets to “eliminate women’s football altogether.”
What will become of Everton Women after so much they have fought for has finally become a reality? Hopefully the club remains fully committed to the team through it all.
The Blue Women have yet to play at Goodison Park but we have faith that it will happen one day.
If you happened to miss the match at Anfield, you can watch the match through the FA Player App.