Wenger proud of Arsenal’s innovation in women’s game

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58 major trophies – that’s the total silverware won by Arsenal Women Football Club, formerly known as Arsenal Ladies, since it was founded in 1987. Not that you asked, but that’s 13 more than the men’s total, 45, achieved in 101 fewer years.

Vic Akers, now honorary president of the team he managed for 22 years, won the first of 36 trophies in 1992, Laura Harvey picked up the baton from Tony Gervaise in 2010 and further success has been achieved by Shelley Kerr, Pedro Losa and most recently current manager Joe Montemurro, who engineered victory in March’s FA WSL Continental Cup final.

Having worked alongside all six managers, Arsene Wenger is rightly proud of Arsenal’s glittering history in the women’s game and the fact they’ve been at the vanguard of a revolution in women’s sport.

“I don’t make a difference between women and men,” he told Sky Sports.

“If you’re good you deserve a chance. Of course, we come out a little bit of the Dark Ages when you look at women’s sport because some sports for them were not very popular; football is one of them.

“I’m very proud, since I’ve arrived here we have had a very good women’s team. We had many board meetings where at the start it was, ‘it costs money, it doesn’t bring anything in’, but I must say the whole board was always in favour, [saying] ‘let’s support, let’s put the money in to develop women’s football’.

“On that front, I believe Arsenal has been innovative and a great example for England.”

Arsenal are currently in fourth in this season’s Women’s Super League, eight points behind Chelsea but with two games in hand. If you fancy cheering on our most successful outfit, all home games are played at Boreham Wood FC. Tickets can be purchased via the club’s official website.

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10 Comments on "Wenger proud of Arsenal’s innovation in women’s game"

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Pepe Nero

Anyone know that name of that chap who currently manages Roma FC?

I have no idea who he is, but now he is ‘the’ must have for us.

(forget Jardim, Tuchel, Roberto Martinez and Owen Coyle)

FACT (IMO)

Mayor McCheese

Those were exactly my thoughts on reading this article, whose topic is the women’s game and Arsenal’s engagement with it.

Pepe Nero

“Those were exactly my thoughts…”

To think that we’d have never known…. tsk tsk tsk.

Laudgunner

Romans 4 vs 4. It really sums up what the eyes just saw tonight. Wowwwww.

Cliff Bastin

Yeah but do they even lift?

JOKING! I AM JOKING! They probably can lift me.

Clock-End Mike

The Arsenal Ladies (now just Arsenal women’s team) have always been exceptional, in the early years not least because they were professionally organised and trained, unlike most of their rivals back then. I believe they’re the only team in England (men or women) to have won the quadruple (all 3 domestic trophies and Champions League, in 2006-07).

We owe much to Vic Akers, whose enthusiasm and energy, coaching the ladies’ team while still officially club kit man, has Arsenal the figurehead team of the women’s game — and by example, revolutionised the game in England, where we always lagged behind other countries, like Germany, Sweden, Brazil for example.

The quality of the women’s game has grown out of all recognition in the last few years — watch a game now, and it’s skilful, exciting, and well worth the time and energy (and very little money, compared to the men’s game it’s an absolute bargain). Clubs like Man City and Chelsea have put a lot of money into their women’s team, and the WSL is now very competitive.

COYG!!

David Hillier's luggage
David Hillier's luggage

Although the club does do a great job, I still think more can be done at Arsenal to promote and grow the women’s game. Having the women alongside the men at media events and during publicity junkets and generally integrating the sides has done wonders, particularly in terms of rasing profile, but there’s still a massive issue in terms of watching the games.

At times I think the club forgets we’re a London side, not a Hertfordshire one. Yes Meadow Park is close to the training ground, but its over an hour on the train from Highbury (let alone other parts of London) and nowhere near a tube station. Could the club not play a few games at the Emirates every season like they do the U23s? Or put free coaches on for young supporters from the Emirates to Borehamwood for big games? There’s a core fanbase of young supporters in densely populated parts of inner-city London, are priced out of seeing the first team, who would probably go and see the women’s side if it was more accessible.

Clock-End Mike

That’s a very good point. I suspect it’s down to cost.
I have actually watched the Arsenal women’s team play one of their matches at the Emirates Stadium, though I can’t remember when that was. There was a goodly crowd there, but it only filled part of one of the stands. Whether the gate receipts came anywhere near to to covering the costs of opening and manning the stadium, I have no idea.

brad

There are probably a lot of international fans that would listen/watch their matches if they were on player.arsenal.com. All of The Arsenal teams’ matches should be available there for fans to watch.

Fungunner

Totally agree, DHL. The location of the stadium is holding them back. What they need is a more centrally located venue that seats up to 5,000 or something. But we all know how expensive London real estate is!

Regarding the cost of supporting the women’s squad, what I would say to AW and the board is that if it wasn’t for sponsorship or TV money, the men’s side wouldn’t pay for itself either. Always used to be famously a loss-making venture, running a football club. Except at Arsenal, obviously…