Since joining up with Joe Sheehan for the second time in her career, Town Midfielder Blue Wilson has been ever present in the Ipswich Midfield. Blue previously played under Joe during her time at the Essex RTC and joined up with him again last season when she joined Ipswich from Manchester City.
Not only has Blue cemented her place in the Town side, but also gets regular call ups to England Training Camps. Blue has recently become appointed the Player Ambassador at the club and helping lead the charge with the club’s True Blue membership, where fans can get benefits such as free entry to all Ipswich Town Women home games for a minimum cost of £5 a month.
Blue is currently on the road to returning from a spell on the sideline after picking up a nasty injury during an England Training Camp at the back end of last year. We caught up with her as she approaches a return to action.
Which footballer, men’s or women’s, would you love to play alongside?
Steven Gerrard, Thiago or Caroline Weir.
What team do you support?
You can probably tell from the previous question… Liverpool.
Who inspires you?
Jordan Henderson. Great leader and works incredibly hard, it makes a real difference to the Liverpool team when he isn’t playing.
Do you have any pre match rituals?
No I don’t, I normally just relax and make sure I have a lot of touches in the warm up. I try and boost my confidence as much as possible going into the game.
A footballing memory you’ll never forget?
Huddersfield away, FA Cup, 2019-20 season. 4-0 up in 20 minutes. Unbelievable!
Which team mate would you room share with on an away trip?
Emma Wallis, Rehab club sticks together
Which 4 team mates would you pick on your 5-a-side?
Paige Peake at the back, Peskett out wide, Kevin playing 10 pulling the strings and Lauren our physio playing up front – she has an unreal left foot.
Firstly, how is the injury?
I am definitely getting closer to being back on the pitch. My fitness is building back up and hopefully I should be back soon if Covid allows! The process has been more difficult because of the lockdowns but Lauren and Kevin have been great at supporting me remotely.
Another pause to the season, how does the team deal with the stopping and starting?
Although all of us would much rather be playing, collectively we try and use the time productively and move forwards to hit the ground running when the league does start again. Seeing the stop-starts as an opportunity to improve other elements of the game, I think, is crucial. We would not have had time to look at if lockdown hadn’t happened.
From a players perspective, and taking the current problem into account, what would you consider the best cause of action for the remainder of the season?
From a player’s perspective I think points per game seems a good option. From our point of view we would love there to be a result of this season and avoid another null and void result but some things are bigger than football. I think there are a lot of factors as players we don’t see, one thing is for sure I am not jealous of the people making the decisions! I’m sure the league will make the right decision considering the ever-changing circumstances.
This is your second season with the club, how have you found it so far?
I have loved it so far. Of course last season has been the highlight and was definitely the most exciting season of my footballing career. It had everything possible thrown in and to experience it all with a great group of people really topped it off. The squad and coaching team are fun to be around whilst having a balance of working hard to be a successful team, which hopefully, will continue in years to come.
You’ve recently been appointed the player ambassador, how did that come about?
It was an idea that came about in the first lockdown when brainstorming how ITFC Women could get from Tier 4 to the WSL (4to1). I then approached the club with the True Blue proposal and they decided to back it! From there we set up the website and launched the scheme which has been a great success with so many fans buying into the vision.
How did the idea of True Blue come about?
Last season a group of players and staff met regularly to research further what it would take for a Tier 4 team to reach the WSL, these conversations sparked 4to1. From 4to1 True Blue was born after more brainstorming and ideas in lockdown.
The club’s membership, True Blue, has had a good start with many fans signing up. That must be encouraging?
True Blue has been fantastic in terms of the support we have received from so many supporters. It’s really encouraging to know this is just the start and, hopefully, there will be lots more to come. It had been a really strong start, a great shame that there have not been many games to attend due to COVID-19.
What were the goals of setting up the True Blue membership?
The main aim was to share the team’s vision and offer an opportunity for anyone to become part of the journey from Tier 4 to Tier 1. It has got the ball rolling and encouraged further thinking and ideas into how the 4to1 dream can be made possible.
How does the money from memberships help the club?
The money from memberships pays for staff such as a physio, strength and conditioning coach and technical coaches. It also helps on away trips to provide transport for players to venues further afield and occasionally overnight stays. The money from memberships is so crucial to allow us to continue being successful and striving for the 4to1 vision. As a whole we are hugely grateful for every penny received, it means we get to do what we love and build something which should be entertaining, inspiring and exciting to watch.
Are there plans for future events for True Blue members? When it’s safe to do so of course.
Yes. We can’t wait to welcome True Blue members back into the grounds when allowed to do so. There are definitely exciting prospects in the pipeline!.
How important is True Blue to the future and what the club has planned moving forward?
True Blues are so crucial to our plans moving forwards, the support we receive at games and on social media is unreal. We couldn’t ask for a better, more supportive fanbase. My aim of starting True Blue was to incorporate the fans into being part of the journey. We hope to make lots more history that we want to share with the people who support us most.
Are there plans for more initiatives and benefits for True Blue members?
We are always brainstorming ideas for True Blues, a lot of which will come into play when we restart matches. I think the addition of livestream access has been great, thanks to Kieren, Ross and Tom for their persistence!
How have you found the England camps you’ve been part of?
They’re a great environment showcasing the top talents in the country which is amazing to be a part of. They are normally intense but enjoyable and provide lots of opportunity to progress and develop as a player.
Does having players from the same club help when going on the England camps?
It’s great. It’s comforting to see familiar faces around camp, especially when there are so many of us. Proportionately we normally take over a quarter of the U19’s camps – the highest number of players from one club on camp. It shows how aspirational ITFC Women are as a club and has definitely turned a few heads.
How did you feel when we drew your former club Man City in the FA Cup last season?
I could not believe it to be honest. It took me 3 or 4 days to actually comprehend what it meant, a real shock. I was hoping we’d get a big team (preferably City) but wanted the game to be at home. Although we had so many fans travel up it almost felt like a home game!.
Did you catch up with any former team mates at Man City?
I know a few of them were watching in the stands. Emma Bissell who was in the U21 squad with me 2 years ago came on in the second half which was good to see. It was definitely a strange feeling going back!
You don’t usually stay overnight for away games. We did it twice last season with Huddersfield and City, how did you find the experience of having the overnight stay and preparing on match day?
It doesn’t really affect me that much, it’s definitely beneficial to not travel 3 hours + on the day of a game. It’s something I have got used to through England camps and doesn’t phase me now. It’s good fun to spend more time with the team than normal and chill in the hotel.
What personal goals have you set yourself for this season?
My goals have definitely changed from the start of the season! The main goal is to get back match fit without any recurring issues or injuries. I have just done my first session of non-contact training this week with the U21 Academy, so it’s looking good so far, but of course I am prepared for more hiccups.