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Interviews

Interview with Blue Wilson

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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.

Questions

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.

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Interviews

Interview with Emma Wallis

Having already overcome 1 ACL injury already, nobody could blame Emma Wallis for being a bit careful when returning to football. But to then have the same injury happen a second time!, can be a scary position to be in for anyone hoping to become a professional player.

A long term injury doesn’t just impact the player’s ability to train and play games, but also the mentality and confidence going forward after the recovery.

We caught up with Emma to see how she’s dealt with the injury and look ahead to her return.

Which footballer, men’s or women’s, would you love to play alongside?

Without a doubt, Kevin De Bruyne.

What team do you support?

Arsenal ‘till I die – COYG!

Who inspires you?

Lucy Bronze – as a fullback myself, I learn lots by watching her play.

3 songs from your playlist?

1) Gecko Overdrive – Oliver Heldens x Becky Hill
2) Million Dollar Bill – Whitney Houston
3) Glorious – Macklemore

Do you have any pre match rituals?

Always have to go for a wee!

A footballing memory you’ll never forget?

Travelling to Dublin with the English Schools U15 squad was pretty memorable. I featured in matches against Scotland and Northern Ireland and I will never forget the experience.

Which 4 team mates would you pick on your 5-a-side?

Lucy W, Paige, Blue, Peskett

We’ve had a good start to the season, probably the best we could have asked for?

The girls have been great, and have worked hard to gain good momentum something that I’m sure everyone wants to maintain when we’re back.

Has this second lockdown had any negative effects on the mood in the camp?

Understandably, there was a lot of frustration among the squad. However, I wouldn’t say it has negatively affected the mood, as it has given everyone a chance to work on other aspects of their game – even if the situation is not ideal…

When the season gets underway again, there is a risk of some fixture build up. So keeping fitness up during this lockdown period is even more essential?

Staying fit has definitely been one of the main priorities during this lockdown. But it has also been an important time to rest, in mind that the intensity of fixtures may start to build up.

Given your lengthy injury, do you see the lockdown as an opportunity to get back to playing fitness and ready for the restart?

It has been a good opportunity to refine certain aspects of my game both physically, technically and tactically, in preparation for my return, especially without missing any matches. But I would also say that being integrated into team training would’ve been more ideal!.

This was your second ACL injury. What was your initial thoughts when it was confirmed?

The news of the second injury was gutting – a feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I was so close to my return after the first one and it took me a while to really comprehend that I’d done it again.

Is it the same ACL as the first time?

No, the first was to my left knee, but the second was to my right knee; I’ve got matching scars!

Having it happen again, does it affect your confidence when coming back to playing?

I have definitely been frustrated from a technical point of view, as I have felt rusty, though I can feel improvements as time goes on and that gives me confidence.

How has the club helped with your 2 ACL injuries?

The club have been great and have supported me throughout this long spell on the side lines. They have still kept me involved in the team environment as well as supplying the physiotherapy to allow me to rehab properly.

How have you kept yourself occupied during the time out?

I initially took a big interest into sports psychology, completing a long project on it through school. But generally, it has sparked my interests into sports science and strength and conditioning, which I’m not sure would’ve happened if I didn’t get injured.

Does the thought of a reoccurring injury play on your mind? Especially with it being such a long term recovery?

I think it is quite present in my mind at the moment, but once I get the feeling of playing properly again, I think this will disappear as my focusses lie elsewhere.

Have you managed to get involved in any games in training, or is it too soon?

Before lockdown, I was joining in non-contact training. I hope to progress to contact training and eventually matches soon. Even though I am itching to get back, I do not want to rush this stage!

How soon can we expect to see you back playing?

It’s hard to say. I need to make sure my return to contact goes well without any knee issues, before even thinking about competitive matches. Realistically, this will probably be in the New Year.

What are your personal thoughts about men’s teams being allowed to play but women’s being stopped?

It’s difficult to criticise the situation as the hierarchy of the systems work differently, meaning the rules and guidelines aren’t the same.

Does it feel like the women’s game has kind of been brushed aside and doesn’t get the respect it deserves?

I did initially feel this, and still think we could’ve at least trained during the lockdown, but I think it’s something that could’ve been reviewed a bit better.

Do you believe that the club has the facilities to ensure safety if we had of been allowed to continue during the lockdown?

I do think we could’ve carried on training safely, as we all know the seriousness of the situation and would’ve done everything in our control to keep that possible.

We have been given a date to restart the season. Is it about preparation now, and making sure we restart how we finished off?

Yes preparation is important and we definitely want to restart how we left. It will be important to prepare in the same way as we always have and not do anything differently.

What has the club been doing during the lockdown to keep players going?

We have had zoom workouts, psychology workshops and general squad calls, so a relatively busy zoom schedule!

We will start off with the FA Cup game when we return. We play a team lower than us. As much as we’re expected to win, there is always a chance of an upset?

I always think that it’s important to be grounded when playing a team in a lower league. Looking back to last year, we beat teams in higher leagues than us on our FA cup run, so it’s important not to get ahead of ourselves.

Being the first game back, might it take time to get back into the flow again?

I think if anything, this odd period has made us more appreciative of being able to play, so I think the team will be raring to go and buzzing for the first match back!

Categories
Interviews

Interview with Molly Sutherland

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If you asked me which player I thought had improved the most in the last 12 months, I’d give you a list of about 5 or 6 players that had all become better players, but the top of that list would be Molly Sutherland. It’s no secret the talent Ipswich Town has coming through into the first team, Molly being one of them. But with Allen, Lafayette, and King currently occupying the centre of midfield, any midfielder coming through will find it difficult to break into that.

Despite the strength Ipswich has in that area, Molly has been named on every team sheet this season, except for the away game at Billericay, where she was captaining an Ipswich side in the Suffolk Cup Final instead where she lead the team to lift the trophy at full time.

Molly got herself on the scoresheet in the last game with a beautiful strike from outside of the area, as the Tractor Girls’ run out 10-0 winners in the FA Cup 2nd round qualifying. Something I think we can look forward to seeing more of as Sutherland forces her way into Joe Sheehan’s plans.

England Training Camps have already been part of Molly’s career and wouldn’t be too surprised if Sutherland got the call again, given her recent performances and continued progression.

We caught up with Molly to take a look back at the last month of games and discuss the departure of highly respected Coach, Paige Shorten.

Which footballer, men’s or women’s, would you love to play alongside?

Steven Gerrard

What team do you support?

Liverpool!!!

Who inspires you?

I think how hard-working Cristiano Ronaldo is, is very inspiring.

3 songs from your playlist?

1)Martin & Gina- Polo G 2)Hello- Pop Smoke 3) Insecure- Jazmine Sullivan & Bryson Tiller

Do you have any pre-match rituals?

Not really, although I tend to tie my shoelaces up several times before the game.

A football memory you’ll never forget?

Winning a cup final with a team prior to Ipswich!.

Which teammate would you room share with on an away trip?

Abbie Laffy

Which 4 teammates would you pick on your 5-a-side?

Lucy Williamson, Abbie Laff, Sophie Peskett and Zoe Barratt

We started the month hosting Cambridge City, which was moved due to the weather. Do you have to adapt your game when playing on an artificial pitch?


No, not particularly, I don’t think an artificial pitch affects our game. We train on both the grass and the 3G, so we feel comfortable that we can perform at a high standard on both these surfaces.

We started well, taking the lead after 2 minutes. It seems to be a good habit taking an early lead at the moment?

Yes, at the moment it definitely seems that way. I think it’s a good habit to get into, as in scoring early we take clear control of the game. It allows us to settle into the match without the pressure of scoring that first goal.

We come away with the win and a clean sheet. They did prove difficult to break down though. Could that have been the effect of changing to an artificial pitch?

I don’t think the astro had much of an impact. I think Cambridge City just set up slightly different from what was expected and so it was about realising this and adapting to try new ways of breaking them down, which eventually we were able to.

We dominated the game in terms of possession and chances, is this something you work hard on in training, retaining the ball, and being patient?

Yeah for sure! We know how important it is to take control of matches so ball retention in good areas of the pitch is definitely a focus of training. We’re a team that enjoys creating chances, however, we also understand the need to sometimes just be patient so that we can keep possession until a clear chance presents itself. This way we don’t lose the ball from trying to force a pass.

The Cambridge United game was an emphatic win. Laying down that marker early on must give the team confidence?

I think every game we play were confident with our ability to win, even if the first goal seems to never come. However of course by taking a quick lead it allows us to relax into the match earlier, hopefully avoiding the possible franticness of trying to find a late winner.

Natasha Thomas smashed in her first Hat-trick of the season against Cambridge United. How important is she when she’s in this form and she must be a nightmare for defenders?

When in form defenders should definitely be fearful! She’s a crucial part of the squad and like she’s shown in the last couple of weeks she’s very much capable of scoring hat tricks every game. With such variety in her finishes, it must be impossible for a defender to determine what she’s going to do next!

When you’re winning by such a big margin, is it difficult to remain focused and ensure the team doesn’t get too confident and lose its shape?

This is something we are consistently addressing as a team, whether it be before a game or within one, there is constant communication about staying switched on. Not only are we a high scoring side, but we’re yet to let a goal in this season so the squad has a real desire to keep this momentum of clean sheets going. The only way to do this is to make sure we never lose focus and stay disciplined within our formation.

Zoe Barrett got herself on the scoresheet, there’s a lot of potential in the squad coming through the Academy?

There really is. There are so many players that are in great form and Zoe is definitely one of them having scored a lot of goals recently. I think if younger players can carry on improving as they are, then in a few years the ladies’ side may be seeing some new faces.

We have to talk about your goal in the Peterborough NS game. It was quite a hit from outside the area, is that something you practice a lot, shooting from outside the area?

It is! I thought last season it was an area that needed improvement so throughout lockdown it was something I practiced religiously every week with my dad. I find that most drills in training don’t allow for long-range shooting so I now go out with a friend locally to make sure I carry on improving. Hopefully, my goal tally can keep increasing this season!

Another ten goals and another clean sheet, the whole team seems to be really enjoying their football at the moment?

We definitely are! It’s so enjoyable to be apart of a team that is able to score so many goals, as it begins to give players the freedom to express themselves, not only in the scoring but in the build-up play for these chances. I think it’s clear how confident the team truly is as there’s been such a variety of players getting on the score sheet.

Going up against smaller teams in cups, are you always wary of a potential upset?

We never underestimate any team we get drawn against as a side of determined, hard-working players can be dangerous. We prepare exactly the same as any other game to make sure we’re not at the wrong end of a cup upset!

We have seen some rotation in the team for this game and it speaks volumes of the talent we have that we can knock out a 10-0 win even with younger faces in the team?

There is such a depth of quality throughout the entirety of both the academy and the ladies’ side and so any team put out is one that can confidently win games. I think because players from the academy now understand there is an opportunity to be apart of the women’s side, it creates really healthy competition which can only help to improve an already exceeding group of players.

Sarah Brasero made her debut and also became the youngest player to play for the club. She made a good impact and certainly did herself proud?

She should definitely be proud of her performance. Making your debut for the first team is already something that comes with a lot of pressure, however in also being the youngest player to do so there were high expectations. Sarah dealt with this brilliantly and never looked out of place. I’m sure she will be getting time in the team again within the season.

We received the sad news this month that Paige Shorten is leaving us, and we wish her the best. How big of an impact has she had for the club and yourself on a personal level?

It’s been such a pleasure to have Paige coach me for the time I’ve been at this club. She was a manager that cared on such a personal level for all the players, which is something I think is going to be really hard to replicate. I’ve learned masses under her and I wish her nothing but the best of luck in her new role, not that she needs it!

Paige has overseen a lot of the current squad come through the Academy. So seeing them all progress into the first team and getting them England call ups is a testament to her hard work?

It certainly is a testament to her hard work. To have so many players be called up for their respective age group just shows the level of coaching we are exposed to at the club, and how far players are able to go with this support. Paige has played a massive part in all of our careers so far.

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Interviews

Interview with Maddie Biggs

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She made a name for herself last season, bagging a hattrick at Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup, sending Ipswich Town into a tie with Manchester City. This season, young Ipswich Town Striker Maddie Biggs, will be hoping for more of the same as the club set it’s sights on another record breaking season. Maddie is already off the mark after slotting away her first of the season against Billericay.

We caught up with Maddie to look back over the opening 3 games of the season, as Ipswich Town look to make it 4 wins from 4 this coming Sunday when Cambridge United visit Felixstowe.

Which footballer, men’s or women’s, would you love to play alongside?

Probably Ronaldo, imaging having him as your striking partner 🤯

What team do you support?

West Ham ⚒

Who inspires you?

Lucy Bronze, Fran Kirby

3 songs from your playlist?

Gold digger, Kanye West
Doo Wop (that thing), Ms Lauryn Hill
Ride Wit Me, Nelly and City Spud

Do you have any pre-match Rituals?

No I don’t, just try to warm up as best as I can so it reflects on the pitch in game

A footballing memory you’ll never forget?

Defiantly scoring my hattrick against Huddersfield last season in the FA Cup. It was such a surreal moment and an amazing experience!.

Which team mate would you share a room with on an away trip?

Me and Sophie would always share last season so I would have to say her.

Which 4 team mates would you pick on your 5 a side?

Sophie, Maria, Anna and Eloise!!.

First game of the season was against a side we knew as a rival for top spot, was it about preparing right and using that home advantage to get the win?

Defiantly, as it was the first game of the season we wanted to make sure we started off on a win, and set the tone for the next run of games.

Hashtag had made a couple of big signings in the summer, did that come into your preparation or do you solely focus on your own game?

I think we just focused on our game and how we can be better, focusing on the opponent too much can take away parts of your own game which we didn’t want to happen

Hashtag proved difficult to break down but we still remained on top. With games like that, is it about just being patient and not trying to force the breakthrough?

100%. We had to make sure we were patient and waited for the right moment to create attacks and try and get through them.

The deadlock was finally broken when Lucy Egan unleashed a rocket and a brilliant moment for her?

Ye it was an amazing strike from Lucy, I was on the bench at the time and we all went crazy!!.

A win and a clean sheet against a team who will be challenging for that top spot must give the team a big confidence boost?

Defiantly! It sets the season off on a high. It was important to start this season how we finished last season and we did.

Another tricky game followed when we travelled to Billericay, not helped by the weather, does playing in them conditions make it harder to play your own game?

It can effect it sometimes, you could play a different game in the second half if the wind is behind you for example but you just have to adapt as a team get used to the conditions and not let it take over completely.

We stated slow and had to soak up a fair bit of pressure from the hosts. At times like that, is it just about dealing with it and taking advantage when you get on the front foot?

Ye I think at the start we were finding our rhythm which meant a more defensive start but once we made a few passes and attacks, we found confidence and it carried on throughout the game.

Maria Boswell made her First Team debut and got our Player Of The Match vote. She certainly staked her claim for that Right Back spot didn’t she?

100%. It was great to see her play after such a long time out and for her to play as well as she did and then get MOTM is just a bonus on top!

Once we got that first goal, it seemed to give us a big boost and spur us on?

Defiantly, like I said it helped us find our rhythm and start to play our way and it seemed to get better the more we scored and the longer the game went on.

Georgia Allen came on in the second half and seemed to give us that creative spark?

Ye she defiantly makes an impact when she comes on the pitch. Being a Striker and having a creative player behind you who wants to go forward and build is always good

You got on the scoresheet yourself. For a striker, getting that first goal of the season can sometimes be the hardest one of the season. Is there almost a relief when you get that first goal?

As a Striker you’re always looking to score goals especially at the start of the season when you want to set your season off on a high, so ye it can be a relief

You almost got a second shortly after but was denied by the crossbar. Does getting that first goal give you bit more confidence?

Definitely, as well as that, just being apart of attacks that might not end up in goals but are good spells of play give you confidence too!.

It was a strong team performance to come away from that game with a clean sheet and 3 points after soaking up that first half pressure. It shows how strong the team is as a unit?

Ye we’ve been working throughout pre-season trying to get back into the swing of things especially after a long break, so to have started how we have it helps us see that we can hopefully replicate last seasons successes and the way we played

Unfortunately, last weekends game was without spectators due to the weather. Can a change so close to kick off affect the team mentally?

Maybe slightly but we had to focus on the game ahead and not be concerned about anything else. We wanted to win the game with or without supporters there and we did.

We got off to the best start with an early goal, we couldn’t have asked for a better start?

It helps getting an early goal to set the tempo for the rest of the game and to get ahead of the opponent early on, puts us on the front foot.

The 2 Cambridge Centre Halfs were doubling up on you at every opportunity and knew the threat you posed. It must get frustrating when you have 2 opposition players on you constantly?

It can be ye, but you just have to find a way to not let it affect your game and use the players around you to help you get forward rather than doing it on your own.

Sophie Peskett and Anna Grey looked really lively and caused problems for their defence?

Their pace and skill is always a threat and is a really strong part of their game each week

We dominated the possession of the game but still had to work hard to come away with the result?

Each game requires hard work, we don’t want to drop our performance and always want to to play as best as we can no matter what the game is like.

3 wins and 3 clean sheets. Not a bad way to start a season?

The best way we could’ve started!.

You started against Cambridge City, do you see it as a chance to make the position your own?

Hopefully, there’s always competition in every position and it makes you want to play even better.

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Interviews

Interview with Lindsey Cooper

She’s one of Ipswich Town’s central figures and the biggest threat in the box from set pieces. Centre Half Lindsey Cooper is in line to make her 200th competitive appearance for the Tractor Girls this weekend in their opening fixture vs Hashtag United at the Goldstar Ground. Cooper played a big role last season in the heart of the Ipswich Town Defence along side youngsters Egan and Peake. We caught up with the commanding Centre Back to look back over the last 199 games.

Which footballer, men’s or women’s, would you love to play alongside?

Virgil Van Dijk, he’s just the complete Centre Back.

Who inspires you?

Personally, for me, it’s my team mates. Playing & training with them week in and week out, seeing how hard people have been working during pre season, it makes me push myself and want to be better.

What team do you support?

Arsenal

What’s your thoughts on VAR?

I think it could be a really good asset to the game, when used correctly. I think at the moment it’s had some teething problems which is frustrating but these things take time.

What’s your favourite tv series?

There’s a few I like, but I’ve got to say Friends or Stranger Things.

3 songs from your playlist?

Mr Brightside – the killers
Iris – Goo Goo dolls
Saturday – Sam fender

Do you have any pre match rituals?

I don’t have any specific rituals, I just don’t like putting my shirt on until the very last minute before we have to go out!.

If you could only have 1 food for the rest of your life, What would it be?

I think it would have to be Hunters Chicken

A footballing memory you’ll never forget?

I think it’s got to be Arsenals Invincible season 2003-2004. What a team!!.

Team mates

Which team mate would you room share with on an away trip?

I would usually share with Amanda Crump.

Which 4 team mates would you pick on your 5-a-side team?

Keats, Tash, Ellie and Paige W.

Which team mate is the slowest getting ready before a game?

Ohh that’s a hard one, I’d probably have to say EK (sorry), always one of the last out to warm up 🤣

Which team mate would win a crossbar challenge?

It has to be Paige Peake.

Which team mate has the dirtiest boots?

I’d probably have to say Amanda.

How did you get into playing football?

I went along to a holiday Football Camp and then got asked to join the Ipswich Girls Under 12’s team.

Has playing Football always been something you have aimed to do?

I’ve always loved playing Football and want to play for as long as possible, and I have met so many good friends through Football.

Was playing Centre Back always where you saw yourself playing?

Yes, it’s where I’ve always played and really enjoy playing there.

We had a really good defensive record last season, does that come down to understanding your defensive partners strengths and weaknesses and understanding how they like to play?

Yes most definitely, it was the first season playing with Paige and Lucy, so we had to establish an understanding quite quickly, they are both exceptional and I think that showed with our defensive record last year.

Your next competitive game will be your 200th for Ipswich, does it only seem like yesterday you was throwing the shirt on for the first time?

It most definitely does, time has seemed to fly by.

Does getting up to such a milestone in games played give you a boost knowing you’re seen as a trustworthy member of the squad?

Yes most definitely, it’s been an honour to play for the club for this long.

Do you have a standout memory from your last 199 games?

I think it has to be reaching the 4th round of the FA Cup and playing against Man City, I mean, what an experience. Hopefully we can repeat that this season and go even further

Do you have a standout goal?

My memory is terrible 🤦🏻‍♀️ I don’t score many, one I can remember is the header against Chichester, it was the first goal of the game and quite early which got us off to a good start.

You’ll hopefully be making your 200th appearance against Hashtag United, are you looking forward to getting back to competitive football?

I can’t wait to get back to the league and just start playing again, it was frustrating how the season ended last year, but we are all ready to get back to it now.

How have you found being back in training after so long out?

It’s been great actually, during lockdown we have had lots of support from Kev, he’s been helping us to ensure we came back in as sharp as possible and it was great to get back and see all the girls.

Fans see you as a vocal leader on the pitch. With Amanda Crump currently out of action, did you put your name forward to take the Captain band during her absence?

It’s nice to know I’ve been noticed as that type of player but there are other players within the squad that have great characteristics and make fantastic captains.

Hashtag United will be wanting to hit the ground running on Sunday and make a statement. Will it be a case of making sure we don’t become complacent?

Complacency isn’t something we are even thinking about going in to the first game of the season, they’re a good side and we want to make a positive start to the season, so will be going into the game giving 100%.

Unfortunately last season didn’t end how we wanted, is there a bigger determination going into the new season?

Most definitely, it feels like we have unfinished business and are even more determined to go and win the league and really make a statement.

Do you have any personal goals for the coming season?

I personally would like to make sure our defence keeps up its good record and also contribute with getting a few goals too.

Categories
Interviews

Interview with Eloise King

Another Academy product that’s hitting the heights in the Ipswich Town First Team, Eloise King will have fond memories of last season after smashing in a Hat-Trick against rivals Norwich. Is there a better feeling for a lifelong Ipswich fan?.

EK has put in some really impressive performances for Town, both for the u21’s and First Team. It wasn’t surprising that she’s continued to impress the national team onlookers also and continued to be called up for the England squads.

King has been a consistent performer in Joe Sheehan’s side, playing big parts in scoring and creating goals for the Tractor Girls and very quickly becoming a crowd favourite among the ITFC regulars.

She is an Ipswich fan through and through, and is loving pulling on the Blue jersey. We spoke to EK to reflect on last season and looking ahead to another round of East Anglian Derbies.

Which footballer, men’s or women’s, would you love to play alongside?

I’d like to play alongside Kevin De Bruyne. An attacking midfielder who I could learn lots off of. His passing and creating is just so satisfying to watch and especially as I am a player who likes to create, it would just be a great opportunity to watch him and see how the best of the best does it.

Who inspires you?

Apart from my family as they have played a big part in my footballing journey so far and I’m very thankful for them, I’d say also my team mates, as they are the ones that I see most days of the week and the ones that you are working with day in day out, to try and be successful and achieve what we want to achieve this season, and if we don’t have the ambition to inspire each other we may not have the success we would like.

What’s your thoughts on VAR?

I think it’s a great idea, to make the game fair, especially when the correct decisions are made from using it. But has to be used consistently and correctly.

What’s your favourite TV series?

Gotta be ‘Love island’ 

3 songs from your playlist? 

Blue lights – jorja smith

Impatient – Jeremih

Dancin’ – Aaron Smith (krono remix)

Do you have any pre-match rituals?

No I don’t actually have any.

If you could only have 1 food for the rest of your life, What would it be?

Some sort of packet of crisps, that’s my fave thing to snack on.

A footballing memory you’ll never forget?

Scoring my first goal for England at u16’s against Spain or beating Norwich 10-0 and scoring a hat-trick- mainly because I’m an Ipswich fan.

Team Mates –

Which team mate would you room share with on an away trip?

It would have to be Anna, someone who I normally share with and constantly having a laugh with.

Which team mate likes to show off their skills in training?

Probably Paige, I normally see her juggling the ball doing a few around the worlds most training sessions.

Which team mate thinks they could win X Factor? 

Apart from myself🤣 again probably Paige, one of the main ones I hear singing when songs come on.

Which 4 team mates would you pick on your 5-a-side?

I don’t think I could pick just 4 players in my team, without leaving out some great individuals. Maybe if you asked me an 11-a-side that might be easier 🤣

Which team mate has the best dance moves?

If I’m honest everyone seems a bit stiff 😂But molly Sutherland has a bit of Irish dancing up her sleeve 💃

Questions –

What made you get into playing football?

I got put in a football kit from when I was born, as my family was a footballing family and I use to go an watch Ipswich play when I was younger, this was definitely a reason why I got into football.

There are a good amount of youngsters coming through the youth system at the club, how have you found the experience coming through the ranks?

Loved it. Playing for the u21’s was great, competing against players of the same age at the highest level in our league was a good test. Also competing in the u21’s Academy Cup was a good experience getting to the Semi Final against Arsenal in my first year.

Since coming into the first team, have you noticed improvements in your own game?

Yes, I believe I’ve grown into Women’s Football, especially towards the second half of last season, it has helped me get physically stronger. It has also helped me realise the importance of consistency in performances, as first team football can be difficult in sustaining positions.

You had a really good season last season, contributing in both scoring and creating goals, has that helped your confidence going into a new season?

Yes definitely, it just makes me want to pick up from where I left off last season, if not even i’d say I’m even hungrier for more success and goals than what I got last season.

Out of the goals you scored last season, do you have a favourite?

Would probably have to be my first goal against Norwich away, was great build up and one I won’t forget in a while being the first goal I’ve got against them.

How have you found the England calls ups and what have you taken away from the training camps?

I’ve found them a great experience, playing with the best players at my age group in the country. I’ve taken lots away from them, learning physically and technically to help bring into my game back at club football. 

Being called up for England is obviously a big moment, how did you take the news of that first call up?

It was a bit of a surreal moment, obviously being called up for your country isn’t something you see or hear about everyday, so was definitely a moment I will treasure for a very long time.

One positive of having another season in this league is facing Norwich again, are you looking forward to another round of East Anglian Derbies? 

Yes local derbies are always good occasions and games that add that extra bit of tension building up to the game, that I can’t wait to feel again.

You have a good record against Norwich so surely it’s a fixture you can’t wait to cone round again? 

Yes, from having such a good record against them, it gives us a task in keeping a good record against them or beating records that we set last season.

Do you ever get a bit nervous before derby games? 

I’ll admit the first game against them I did, it was my first time playing against their women’s side, and being an Ipswich fan I felt some pressure on my shoulders and that night we had over 700 people watching us, so we knew we had to perform.

Norwich are going to be wanting revenge this season, Will the team be prepared for a potential revenge mission from our rivals?

I agree that they will want revenge off us, but I can’t see that happening with the squad we have, as we have an even better and stronger side than last season.

How have you found being back in training after so long out?

I’ve really enjoyed it, getting back out on the pitch with the girls and the coaches, playing together and bonding well , as well are all striving for a very successful and enjoyable season ahead.

During lockdown, was it all about just keeping fit and ready to go when the season resumes?

Yes exactly that, we were able to have some rest time to reset and reflect on last season, but soon as it was time to get fit there was no going back and had to make sure we was ready for the go ahead to start back again.

Finally, aside from promotion, do you have any personal goals for the season ahead?

I want to keep myself within the England u19 squad and also keep myself a regular first team starter.

Big thanks to Eloise for her time!.

Categories
Interviews

Interview with Georgia Allen

Ipswich Town’s first new addition of the Summer seen Georgia Allen’s return to Suffolk. Georgia started her career in the Ipswich Town Academy before moving into the Arsenal Centre of Excellence.

Georgia has since spent time in America on a Scholarship where she captained the Syracuse side. She has also made appearances for England, and most notably, scoring the winning goal against France in the 2018 World Cup to take the Bronze medal.

Town fans are eagerly waiting to see Georgia in action and what she will bring to Joe Sheehan’s team. We caught up with Georgia after Town’s first week back in training.

What/who got you into football?

My parents like to tell me that I learned how to walk so I could kick a football! I always played, whenever I could. I was the only girl who played at primary school but that didn’t matter to me, I just loved the game.

What team do you support?

My family and I are Arsenal supporters, through the good and the bad… It was a really surreal moment for all of us when I was selected to play for Arsenal Centre of Excellence.

Who is your favourite player (men’s or women’s)?

My all-time favourite player is Thierry Henry

Which player, men’s or women’s, would you love to play alongside?

I was always so inspired by Kelly Smith and getting to train alongside her was the best education as a young footballer. I would have loved the privilege to compete in a game alongside such a legend of the game.

Do you have any pre match rituals?

The only thing I feel I need to do before a game is find a quiet space to just listen to music and visualise the game ahead. I work best after having time to centre myself and my emotions.

Who inspires you?

My Syracuse head coach, Nicky Adams. Nicky is the ultimate professional, with a relentless work ethic. She knows exactly what to do and say to get the best out of her team. She sacrifices any emotion she may experience to put a level-headed, confident and reassuring face to her team. She cares deeply about you as a person. I strive to be the leader she is.

Football memory you will never forget?

Scoring the winning penalty in the U20’s Women’s World Cup in 2018.

Favourite TV series?

Line of Duty

3 songs on your playlist?

The Fray- How to Save a Life, Fleetwood Mac- The Chain and Wilson Phillips- Hold On

Firstly, welcome back to where it all began. How does it feel to be back home?

It feels so great to be home. I loved my time at Ipswich Town when I was a kid, it was a time where I felt free and could play football for the joy of it. Coming back here 10 years later, I still feel that way. I can’t believe how far this club has progressed, I feel very proud to be here again. 

You were part of the Ipswich Town academy, are there any familiar faces from back then currently at the club?

Ellie Rossiter was one of my closet friends back when we were 6 and 7 years old. It has been lovely to reconnect after all this time and share our experiences and journeys.

Moving to join Arsenal’s youth system was obviously a big step up, did you feel any pressure to succeed there?

First of all I had no belief that I would be given the opportunity to join Arsenal. They had legendary status even at youth level. I remember a game, Ipswich versus Arsenal, where we gave everything and earned a draw. We never celebrated a draw so much because we did the unexpected. That foundation at Ipswich of working hard gave me the platform to step up to the level of Arsenal.

You became Captain during your time at Arsenal and lead the team to an unbeaten season, is that one of the stand out seasons in your career so far?

It was a great effort by the entire team, there is no way to accomplish something like that without having everyone buy in for every game. To lead such a talented group was an honour. And winning is one of my favourite things!.

Arsenal obviously held you in high regards and moved you gradually into the first team, how did you feel getting the news you were going to be alongside the likes of Alex Scott and Rachel Yankey in the future?

I won’t downplay the challenge in that transition. I was required to play alongside senior internationals and be reliable in games. I remember Pedro, the coach at the time, saying to me we are not just putting you on the pitch as a token gift, you earned it but now you have the responsibility. At such a young age I think that was an important lesson for me.

Do you still keep contact with some of the players you were with at Arsenal?

I keep in touch with a few through social media. Everyone is very busy but I am always so proud when I see any of those players succeeding on and off the field.

You came on as a sub against Manchester City, how did you feel coming up against the likes of Lucy Bronze and Jill Scott?

Two things stand out in my mind from that game. Firstly, my feeble attempt at trying to compete with Jill Scott for a header! No matter what, at least compete in the air even if you have no chance. My second moment is actually still taped on our TV at home. My family, proudly may I add, watch me get kicked and fouled by Izzy Christiansen. That play has been re-watched a couple of times!

Was leaving Arsenal for an American Scholarship always the plan?

It wasn’t in my plans but I assessed all my options towards the end of A-levels and I knew I didn’t want to sacrifice my education or football. My parents always emphasised the importance of education and America provided the best option for me to not have to sacrifice either. 

Do you see yourself as a team leader given you were also handed the Captaincy at Syracuse as well?

I didn’t and still don’t see myself as a stereotypical leader. I like to limit the amount that I say, there are times that require a leader but the best teams I have played on have multiple voices and everyone feels valued and appreciated. The key principle I try to work by is to listen to understand not necessarily to respond. Teams work best when there are a variety of personalities allowed to shine and therefore, I always want to invest in my 1-to-1 relationships because that way you learn what works best for each individual.

How did you find the Scholarship and is it a good pathway for the future women’s players to follow?

I actually spent my Freshman year at East Tennessee State University. After the first year I wanted a new challenge to take me to the next level. I applied to many schools but Syracuse where the only ones to reach out to me. My mum likes to say because of that it was meant to be. I believe, from my personal experience, that America is a great pathway for young players both on and off the pitch. It is a demanding, challenging but a positively life-changing experience. 

Did you find it hard to adapt to living in the US?

I didn’t find it challenging because I had a built-in support network via my team. That is one of the greatest things about football, hopefully you always have people to lean on, grow and adapt with.

How different is the game in the US compared to England?

The players in America are athletes before footballers. My teammates were quicker and stronger than anyone I had faced back home which was influential in my decision to go across. The physical aspect of the game was one of my weaknesses so I wanted to put myself into a position where I could work on weaknesses every day.

Are you still in contact with players you played with in the US?

Very much so, I loved being a part of the team. They are going to achieve amazing things and they thoroughly deserve it. I can’t wait to follow along this season. 

What’s your favourite memory of your time in the US?

Winning in over-time last season against a rival team. It meant so much to every single person and made a statement to the rest of the league about the future of Syracuse.

I’m sure all the ITFC fans have seen the video of you scoring that penalty for England against France, how did you feel seeing the ball hit the back of the net?

I can retrace every step of that penalty in my mind. I took so long to adjust the ball because the penalty spot was in a divot and my dad had always said never let the ball move after you set it down and to take my time, the goalkeeper can wait. I then saw the keeper adjust and I knew she was going to dive the same side I was going to place it but my dad always said to never change your mind on which side you are going to place it so I knew I needed to place it right in the corner. Thankfully it went well. Also, thanks Dad!

The team returned back to training last week, how have you found being back so far?

I have enjoyed the first couple of sessions, the girls are very welcoming. There is also a clear work ethic and a desire to be better constantly. I am looking forward to striking that balance of loving the game and working hard to achieve our goals.

Was it always the plan to come back to Ipswich after your scholarship? Had you spoken to Joe previously about a return?

Ipswich and Joe have been kind to me these past years in allowing me to train with them before returning to the US for the season. I really appreciated the opportunity and then to combine that with the ability to earn my Masters at Essex it became a no-brainer. The team has so much potential which is encouraging place to join.

Finally, obviously the goal for the club is to go up, do you have any personal goals for yourself?

My goal is be of service to the team to earn promotion in whatever capacity that is. 

Categories
Interviews

Interview with Natasha Thomas

Heading into the new season fresh off the back of her Player Of The Season award, Town’s goal loving Striker Natasha Thomas can’t wait to hit the pitch and get back on the score sheets.

Not only did she win Player Of The Season, but also, Goal Of The Season with a stunning goal in the FA Cup v Chichester.

Ipswich have had to bat off clubs trying to temp the goal getter away from the Goldstar Ground, but she’s said to be more than happy at the club and wants to help them achieve their goals.

We caught up with Natasha to discuss her awards and her goals for next season.

Get to know you:

Player, Men’s or Women’s, who inspires you?

Messi, what an absolute player and individual !

A player, Men’s or Women’s, you would love to play alongside?

Imagine being able to have a mixed Football team and playing along side the likes of Messi and Lucy Bronze 🔥🔥

Favourite Restaurant?

Not really a restaurant girl, get me a take away or I’ll cook a meal, nothing better than a home cooked meal 🥰💪🏽

Do you have any pre-match rituals?

I wouldn’t say so no but I’ll always try and keep in a certain headspace and clear everything out of my mind except from Football it’s self. keep focused !

What do you get up to outside of Football?

Outside of Football I work full time and sometimes I’ll work 6 days out of the 7 with football on the Sunday… but I love doing little bits around the house, work out, walks with my dog and see my friends and family.

What team do you support?

I don’t support anyone and I never have really but if I had to say a football club of course it would be Ipswich Town them selves #bluesss

Favourite TV Series?

Friday Night Dinner, if you haven’t watched it then what are you doing with your Fridays 😂

Football memory that you’ll never forget?

I will never forget the day I fell in love with football after scorning a triple hat-rick in my first ever competitive game for my local club Waveney Youth FC 💞

3 songs on your playlist?

All I do is win (also on the football play list from last season) 🤩

Pump it up 💪🏽

Intoxicated remix version 🙌🏽

Thoughts on VAR?

VAR.. well it is what it is really, if you’re offside you’re offside and if it’s handball then it’s handball, for the higher level football it’s such narrow margins between the decisions and that’s what the game is now we have to move with the times. Yes sometimes the decisions are ridiculous but hey we are all human and we all need something to moan about .. right😂🤦🏾‍♀️

Team mates

Which team mate would you choose to room share with on an away trip?

Ellie, we share a room every time we travel and if there’s a long trip Ellie loves giving me her 5 star service at the Rossiter hotel, it feels just like home 💙 

Which 4 team mates would you pick in your 5-a-side team?

It would have to be Ellie, Peskett, Paige P and Blue 💪🏽

Which team mate has the dirtiest boots?

I’m sorry but it has to be Captain Mands

Which team mate would win in a Crossbar Challenge?

Paige Peake of course 🙌🏽

Which team mate is the biggest prankster?

I have to go with a duo I can’t decide between them both Eloise and Anna !!

Which team mate has the best skills?

Tough one as there’s so much talent in our side if I had to name someone I’d say Peskett.

Questions –

Not the end of the season we wanted, does it motivate the team to go on and put it right next season?

No it definitely wasn’t for anyone involved at all but it’s happened and we have to now focus on next season and make sure we secure the league and keep our foot on the gas to get us to where we deserve to be!

How have you kept yourself occupied during lockdown?

I’ve been very occupied with my healthier life style working out and trying to keep up with fitness as much as I can, until we can get back to it and get minutes under our belts because that’s really where you’ll know where we are with match fitness ! I’ve also been lucky enough to be able to still go to work and have now been taken back which is great to get track into the swing of things especially when footballs back I can make sure I’m balancing my work life, football life and working out!. (Go check out Natasha’s Instagram page @NVT_Lifestyle to keep up to date with her!)

You won Player Of The Season and Goal Of The Season, how did you feel taking both awards?

It means a lot to me I’ve been with the club 5 years now so this will be my 6th season and the fans have made a massive impact to our game.. they are a credit to the club and I’d like to say thank you for all the support they give, not just to me, but my team mates and club! Goal of the season is the icing on the cake really being a forward player who would want to get goal of the season 💪🏽💙

Do you have a favourite or stand out goal from last season?

My favourite has to be my goal of the year I mean I just looked up and knew the Keeper wasn’t on her line so I just went for it and to score against a team in a league above you with the goal that I did will certainly stick with me! 

The system we play only has 1 striker and Maddie Biggs has impressed when she’s played. Do you feel pressure from having strong competition for that position?

There’s always pressure where ever you play from being a forward player to being a defender. That is the thing with this club there is an outstanding amount of talent and that’s only going to get better when there is healthy competition for places. It just means we’re all going to be working even hard to make sure we all secure our spots and not only that I want what’s best for the team as well as myself and we have to be realistic we can’t just have one striker god for bid any injuries. Maddie Biggs is such an amazing young player and I’m glad she’s here at Ipswich town because this girl has a bright future alongside many other players in our squad!

We have seen you and Maddie play together once or twice, Huddersfield being one example, do you feel there’s a strong partnership there when you play together?

As you’ve said, we haven’t played alongside each other many times last season it’s always a great feeling being a Striker and having a partner next to you as you thrive off each other and being on the same wave length makes us even more dangerous as a duo! being in Joe’s side, we have got such a talented squad he will always go with the best formations for the games and best team on the day to get the job done.

You were approached last season by a team from a higher league, was it an easy decision to stay?

Yes it was, where I am in my footballing career and where I want to be is entirely here at Ipswich Town Football Club. At the time and to this day I am 100% still happy with the decision I have made. This club is absolutely going places and I want to be a big part of achieving that so I’m sticking where I am and I’m working hard for my place and for this club to get where we should be.

Does being approached by clubs in a higher league turn your head a bit?

I wouldn’t say turn my head but I feel it gives me an in-site of where I am and how other players and teams see what I can do. Who wouldn’t like higher clubs approaching them but at this moment in time as I’ve previously said I am happy where I am. 

The current squad has some young players in it. As one of the senior players in the team, do you get asked to mentor some of the youngsters when they move up to the first team?

I wouldn’t say mentor the girls, yes they’re young but they can be mature when needs be. The girls know what Joe requires from them and there are standards that we have at this club and all the girls know this. We have a very professional set up and all the girls do this club proud. I’m here for every single one of the players wether they have just stepped up from the under 21’s or they are senior players. We are one club and everyone has the same rights and opportunities to wear this badge with pride for the first team when they are called upon.

The club obviously relies on income to keep running, how important are player and kit sponsors to this?

It’s so important to us girls, we will put the show on for you all we will get your names out there for sure.. as a club sponsorships mean a lot to us all and will help players and staff be at there best and able to commit to travelling. It enables us to be more committed to the team with the help and support of some amazing businesses.

The Terrace sponsored you last season and you seemed to develop a really good relationship with them?

Yes they are an amazing sponsor and I’m so great-full They chose to sponsor myself as a player I just hope I’ve made them proud and I hope to get there name out there even more next season.

The Terrace are a really well known company in football, it’s good to see that women’s football at this level can attract such sponsorships?

Yes it certainly is The Terrace are a very level minded company they see all as equals and they have brought me into there very close family unit and I’ll be forever greatfull for all the support on and off the pitch! Yes it’s amazing that women’s teams are getting such big sponsors now and that is certainly deserved… all I can say is hard work really does pay off! 

With the relationship you have developed with The Terrace, have they spoken about continuing into next season?

Yes we have, they have contacted myself to say they would love to sponsor me again for next season and not only that they have got me my new set of wheels for next season. They truly are an amazing company and an amazing group of people. I’m am very lucky to have them as my sponsor!

The fan base for the club last season had a real boost, developed a supporters group and even an away travel group, this must be encouraging to see from a players perspective?

Yes it certainly is always helps when we are the away team yet all you can hear is our supports. As a club we are very lucky to have them and for them to be travelling to watch us play from the other side of London in some cases is remarkable. Seeing fans wanting to travel and spending their hard earned cash to come and support us fills all of us player and staff with so much pride.

Finally, we’re all eagerly waiting to see you all back on the pitch. Obviously promotion is the goal for the club, do you have any personal targets for yourself for next season?

I cannot wait to get back to it !! The main goal is to win the league and anything else would be a massive bonus to us ! Personally I want to keep racking up the goal tally and do myself, the club and supporters proud !.

Massive thanks to Natasha for her time to conduct this interview!.

Categories
Interviews

Interview with Eva Hubbard

After fighting her way through the town youth system, Left Back Eva Hubbard has become an important figure in Joe Sheehan’s backline and had a significant influence in last seasons fight to the top, as well as Town’s brilliant defensive record.

Eva has been with Town from a young age competing in the u10s and u12s teams. We speak to Eva about her experience in the youth system and her thoughts on last season.

Get to know you questions:

What team do you support?

Ipswich!!!

What do you do outside of football?

I currently study at the University of Suffolk, doing a degree in sport and exercise science. I also have 2 jobs which involve working evenings and weekends when I can. Any spare time I have I like to hang out with friends and family.

Which footballer, Mens or Womens, would you love to play alongside?

It would have to be Marcelo as he is one of my role models.

Who inspires you?

Marcelo & Lucy Bronze

What’s your thoughts on VAR?

If used correctly it’s a good system to rule out the unfairness in football, however I still think it has a long way to go before it is used correctly and fairly. 

What’s your favourite tv series?

I like loads of different genres, but my favourite would have to be Prison Break or Gilmore girls! 

3 songs from your playlist? 

Love is a gamble, the Scotts and top winners.

Do you have any pre match rituals?

I always put my left boot on before my right

If you could only have 1 food for the rest of your life, What would it be?

I think it would be pasta, as there’s so many different things you can have with it.

A footballing memory you’ll never forget?

Going down to Chichester and having our first experience playing a side in the league above, we were unsure how we were going to deal with them being in a higher league, but then going on to beat them 6-0 was amazing!

Team Mates

Which team mate would room share with on an away trip?

I’ve had a few different room shares on away trips but I think my go to would be Ellie Rossiter, as we have the fullback bond 😉

Which team mate controls the pre match music?

Usually Paige Wakefield – we all sent in songs at the start of the season, so it is more of a group playlist.

Which team mate is the trouble maker?

Probably Eloise

Which team mate is the worst singer? 

Paige Peake on the minibus 😉

Which 4 team mates would you pick in your 5-a-side team?

I would have Keets, Lucy Egan, Anna & Eloise.

Which team mate has the best skills?

Probably Sophie Peskett, as she flies past players down the wing!

Which team mate is the worst dancer? 

Think everyone would agree Lucy Egan 😉

Questions 

How have you dealt with lockdown? How have you kept yourself occupied?

I am lucky to have a home gym, so I have been able to keep up my off-season programme by running, cycling and using the weights for strength sessions. Aside from football/fitness my family and I have been doing work around the house and garden to keep busy, and most evenings I do stuff online with my friends or watch Netflix.

You have been retained for the new season, how happy were you with the news?

I was extremely happy when I was told I was retained, just want to get back playing now!

The youth system at the club has produced a good amount of first team players, yourself being one, it must be encouraging for youngsters in the region to see a route into women’s football?

Definitely! I was in Ipswich’s Centre of Excellence (COE) at U10s & U12s before it was shut down and then came back again for the 21’s programme which was a great pathway into the senior team. It is good to see that the ACC has been linked with Ipswich so again they have more of a youth system right from U12 creating a good player pathway into the senior side.

The fan base last season had some amazing growth and attracted a lot of first timers, how encouraging is it for players to see the fan base grow so much in a short space of time?

It was great to see how much the fan base was developed over the last season. It means a lot to all of us as players and we are really grateful for the support! Long may it continue!

Some of the men’s players have been spotted at games as well as men’s manager Paul Lambert. There seems to be a good relationship between the two teams?

There is a decent relationship between the men’s and academy and the women’s teams. Being able to train at the training ground it such a great experience for us and allows us to get the most out of each session with access to the gym, the physio rooms etc. Paul Lambert especially has been great with us, he has trained us a few times and been to both first team and 21’s matches, most notably travelling all the way up to Manchester to see the us vs Manchester City and speaking to us pre match and at halftime. 

Do the men’s players ever get involved with the women’s team behind the scenes or are they both kept separate? 

There is an occasional crossover, doing things such as meet and greets in the fan zone on men’s matchdays, and also promotion work for the club. We train at different times, but we do often see them around the club, and they are all really friendly and happy to have a conversations with us.

Last season didn’t end as expected, what is the feeling among the players as we push towards a new season?

We were all really devastated at the season ending the way it did. Obviously looking likely at promotion we were gutted when the news came in that the season was being voided but we are in a good position with lots of retained players and will be looking again to get promoted this season.

Last season we were a very hard team to beat, do the players feel a bit of pressure to carry that on next season given how last season ended?

I think we do feel the pressure but at the same time we know it is something we can do and we are all buzzing to get back to working hard and winning games.

We have seen you play at Centre Back a couple of times last season, are you comfortable playing there and is that something we may see more from you?

Fullback is my predominant position, but I am more than happy to play as a centre back. It’s a new challenge and requires different tactics but it is nice to have a change and know that Joe is happy for me to play in more than one position. 

Nikita Runnacles has put in some really impressive displays, it must give the defence a lift knowing you have such a good keeper behind you?

Yeah, Keets has been amazing this season, she has got loads of experience at a high level so bringing that into her game has been really helpful as she communicates well with us all making it a really solid defence.

Peake, Cooper and Egan seemed to really gel well together at the back. Having them alongside you must give you confidence. 

Yeah, all 3 are quality centre backs, all for difference reasons, which is good as they all have different strengths that makes us solid as a defensive unit.

What are your thoughts on the new kits? 

I really like both the new kits and excited to see them in person soon!

Finally, how much are you looking forward to getting back to training after being out for so long?

It something I’ve missed right from the start of lockdown, and although I’ve been doing individual sessions or playing in the garden with my brothers, I’m really excited to get back playing with the girls and get the season started again!

Big thanks to Eva for her time and answering our questions!.

Categories
Interviews

Interview with Sophie Peskett

Town Winger Sophie Peskett really cemented her place in the First Team line-up last season, putting in some memorable performances as well as getting herself on the score-sheet on a regular basis.

Sophie become a crowd favourite at the Goldstar Ground and a player defenders struggled to cope with on many occasions. Cutting in from the wing and scoring seemed to happen naturally for her as well as racking up assists.

Towards the back end of the season Sophie got her first England call up to attend an England training camp along with a handful of other Tractor girls.

We spoke to Sophie, to get her views on her debut season and also that England call up.

A bit about Sophie

Which men’s or women’s player do you look up to?
Since playing Man City in the FA cup I have looked up to Lauren Hemp as she plays in the same position as me and plays in a way that I like and is good to watch.

What team do you support?

Arsenal

What do you do outside of football?

Outside of football I mostly like to see my family and friends

Who inspires you?

Lionel Messi inspires me as I love the way he plays and he is just great to watch.

Thoughts on VAR?

I think that VAR is good for the game as long as it is used correctly. When used correctly it is the fairest way to play as the referee cannot always see everything on the pitch.

Tv show/series you would recommend?

Prison break and Breaking bad

3 songs on your playlist?

Tommy Lee – Tyla Yaweh feat. Post Malone
Scared to love – Juice Wrld
Mood swings – Pop Smoke, Lil Tjay

If you had a choice, which team mate would you room share with on an away trip?

Would have to be Maddie Biggs as we always room together on away days and I do home stay with her in the week.

Which team mate is considered the joker?

Would have to be Eloise King

You’re captain in 5-a-side, which 4 team mates would you pick on your team?

Anna Grey, Eloise King, Lucy Egan and Nikita Runnacles.

Whose is the loudest team mate?

Eloise King

You started the season in fine form and contributed with your fair share of goals. Kicking off the season like that must really helped with your confidence?

Yes, it was a great start to the season for me which meant that I was encouraged to set the boundaries high and to keep having good performances week in week out. The fact that I did not think I would be playing for the first team built up my confidence a lot as I was getting more minutes than I previously thought I would be getting before the season started. This was crucial as it meant that I was confident for the remainder of the season

It was a season to remember, before it come to an early end, for many reasons, one of which being the FA Cup run. The amount of press attention and fresh support shows how far women’s football has come?.

Yes, we were all really happy with how far we got in the FA cup and the media attention that we got was unbelievable. I do think it shows how much women’s football has improved and that the future for the women’s game is very exciting.

The season didn’t end how we planned, despite being favourites to go and take the league and gain promotion. How did the team take the news that the Season was null and void?

I think we all were very shocked as we had all hoped that the season could have carried on or they could have done something so that we were still promoted. The fact that we had had such a good season and it all come down to basically nothing it was hard but I think we are just all ready for the season to start up again.

The current situation really come out of the blue at the start, how have you delt with being in lockdown and how have you past the time away from training and playing games?

Yes, I would never have guessed that this season would be called void so that was a shock to all of us. I have tried to keep fit by going out running and doing as much gym as I can which Ipswich have been very helpful with from a physical perspective. I have also tried to analyse my own games as well as others so that I can have a better understanding of the game.

It’s unknown currently when the new season will be given the green light, is there anything going on behind the scenes to keep players on their toes and making sure everyone is keeping fit for when the go ahead is given?

We have been given training programmes that we need to all stick to in order to keep as fit as we can, so that we are best prepared for when we go back although we do not know when this will be so we are all just trying to keep fit and motivated during this time.

Being called up to the England training camp must have been a proud moment for yourself and your family? How did you react when you got the call?

Getting my first England call up was of course a very proud moment for me and my family. When I got the call to say I was going to be at the next camp I was mostly shocked which is why I did not actually say very much! It was quite overwhelming as I did not expect it at all.

The England call up, you was accompanied by some of your Ipswich team mates. How did you get on and what have you taken away from the experience?

I learnt lots from the camp and being there with my team mates made it an all round better experience. I learnt to play in a new formation and most of all, I learnt to adapt to playing with other players from various teams which was enjoyable.

The current squad has a lot of academy products. Does it make the transition to first team football easier when you have team mates from the youth making the move up with you?

One hundred percent! I also knew a lot of the players from previous years of playing together at Essex RTC which made it easier for me to fit in as we all got on so well that we could motivate each other in training and in games..

Does playing for both the youth and first team take its toll on you?

Not particularly as Ipswich seem to rest us quite well, for example if we have two big games in the same week they will make sure that we are not doing too much in training so we are not becoming too fatigued before a game. Although it does make it harder as there are games where we do feel tired but I think it has taught me to be able to perform while being fatigued which is always useful.

What would you say to young girls thinking of getting into football

I would tell them to go for it, as long as they are enjoying what they are doing they shouldn’t listen or care about what other people are thinking.

A big thanks to Sophie for giving us some of her time to conduct this interview!.