Categories
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
Match Previews

Match Preview – Hashtag United

Ipswich Town Women v Hashtag United Women

Sunday 20th September – Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe, IP11 9HT – 2pm Kick Off (Gates open 12:30pm). Our Ground Guide can be found here

Due to Covid restrictions, this game will be limited to 400 supporters on a first come first served basis.

The Tractor Girls are finally back after last seasons campaign was cut short due to the Pandemic and they start at home against Hashtag United, who were know as AFC Basildon last season. Ipswich will have a chip on their shoulder after missing out on promotion last season, the Tractor Girls were sitting top of the league before the season got cut short. We teamed up with HashtagWomensFootball to look ahead to this Sundays curtain raiser.

Pre-Season

The Tractor Girls have had a really good pre-season, starting off with a win at Needham Market where they easily won 17-1 which undoubtedly gave the girls a huge boost of confidence. This was followed by a 0-2 win away at St Ives Town and a 0-6 win away at MK Dons. Watford proved too strong and beat us 3-0 on their own turf. Last Sunday, the First Team took part in a showcase match against the u21’s which saw some really good performances and a chance for fans to check out the new youngsters Joe Sheehan signed during the Summer.

New Faces

Ipswich have made a handful of new signings during the Summer, the standout one being Georgia Allen who returns to Suffolk after a spell with Arsenal and a Scholarship in the US. Ipswich fans will be itching to see the former Arsenal youth Captain return to where it all started for her and see her back in action in Blue. Georgia has joined the club at a time where Captain Amanda Crump is out of action due to pregnancy which could see Allen step into that Attacking Midfield role, but will face tough opposition from youngster and Ipswich Town fan Eloise King who really staked her claim for the position last season with impressive performances and goals.

Other new faces such as youngsters Issy Bryant and Lucy O’Brien who have put in good performances over pre-season will be wanting to stake a claim for first team places. Ipswich also have a trialist they are currently taking a look at and has played during pre-season fixtures.

Team News

Ipswich manager Joe Sheehan will have a selection headache with such a strong squad available to him and all the players showing good quality. Last season’s top scorer Natasha Thomas will be looking to hit the ground running in her bid for a Golden Boot season and will face tough opposition from youngsters Maddie Biggs and Zoe Barratt who both put in impressive performances last season. Ellie Rossiter, who started out as a Winger, has seemed to have been moved into a RB/RWB role and will be looking forward to getting back into competitive action after spending the back end of last season nursing an injury. Blue Wilson returned from a knock during Ipswich Town’s Showcase match last sunday and Georgia Allen will hopefully be back after missing some of pre-season due to injuries. Emma Wallis is returning from a second ACL injury but is expected to miss the start of the season as she continues her rehab.

Milestone

Lindsey Cooper’s next competitive fixture will be her 200th for Ipswich and, as a regular starter, could be in line to hit this landmark on Sunday. Lindsey was a big player for Ipswich last season, not just at the back, but also causing opposition defenders to have nightmares trying to mark her in the box.

Player focus –

All eyes will be on new signing Georgia Allen as the former Arsenal Captain and England International looks to make her Ipswich Town debut after her return in the Summer. Georgia will be a brilliant leader in a very young, but talented, side and fans will be looking to see where Manager Joe Sheehan fit her into his team this Sunday.

Hashtag United Women’s Pre-Season

Five wins from seven, including a victory against tier three outfit West Bromwich Albion, instantly confirms that it has been a largely successful pre-season on the pitch for the Essex side. Perhaps more pleasing for manager Jason Stephens is that the performances in four of those wins, as well as the narrow 3-2 defeat to Crawley, have set the bar at a very high level heading into the debut league campaign under the Hashtag United name.

The Tags have picked up where AFC Basildon left off, scoring goals for fun with an attacking brand of football that’s sure to be a hit with the new legion of supporters. While Sunday’s clash is, on paper, probably the hardest of the entire season, the visitors will make the trip to Suffolk with optimism.

The Summer Signings

While the bulk of the Hashtag United squad have carried over from AFC Basildon following the merger, several new faces have arrived at Park Lane this summer. Most notably, striker Evie Clarke has joined from tier two side London City Lionesses, to spearhead a frontline that already boasts this division’s top scorer of 2019/20 in Kelly Wealthall. Her quality has been evident in pre-season, and a big season will be expected of the former England youth player.

Clarke is joined by Katie Pounder, Stef Paci, Ella Hill, and Imogen Riches, adding quality all over the pitch. Hashtag United have lost a couple of promising former AFC Basildon players, but the key performers from last season have all remained – except defender Alex Bailess, who was forced into early retirement but now enjoys a non-playing role at the club – and the squad depth certainly looks a lot stronger thanks to the summer recruitment.

Hashtag United Women Team News

In addition to the pleasing performances, the pre-season schedule has been relatively kind to Hashtag United Women in regards to injuries. After coming to terms with the Bailess news, which came a few days before the first pre-season fixture, the club hasn’t been hit with any long-term absences. A couple of players have picked up knocks along the way but should be in contention for Sunday’s trip to Felixstowe. However, Pounder was an early casualty in Sunday’s friendly at West Brom, being replaced through injury just seconds into the contest and will be a doubt for this weekend.

Sunday’s opener is a massive occasion for the visitors, and not only because it delivers their first ever competitive fixture. This is a club that will be gunning for promotion but are all too aware that the talented Tractor Girls are the side to beat. Any team that can topple Joe Sheehan’s ladies will have an outstanding shot at lifting the title. For Hashtag, then, this is the litmus paper that will truly indicate where they currently stand and what improvements – if any – will be required to surmount a genuine push for promotion.

No prizes are given out in August, or rather September in this unprecedented schedule, but this already feels like a six-pointer before a ball has been kicked. For the visitors, the memories of last year’s cup clash provide another source of motivation. While there’s no shame in losing such a difficult fixture, a repeat scoreline won’t be tolerated.

One To Watch

Poppy Binding. Over the past 12 months she has progressed from a technically gifted youngster that could deliver flashes of brilliance to a genuine star that demands the ball, unlocking defences seemingly at will. If pre-season is any barometer, she may find the target with greater regularity over the next few months 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
Uncategorized

Return of Georgia Allen

Ipswich Town resigned former academy product Georgia Allen from Syracuse University last month and fans won’t be blamed for having high exceptions for the 22-year-old Midfielder.

Georgia started her footballing days as part of Town’s Centre of Excellence from the ages of 6 to 12. She then went on to become Captain of Arsenal’s u17, leading the team to an unbeaten season in 2014/2015. Georgia played her way through the ranks at the Gunners and was named on the subs bench for their League Cup Final in 2015 against Notts County. Alongside her on the bench was Chloe Kelly, who has recently signed for Manchester City Ladies. That season Georgia was promoted to the Arsenal u18s.

Georgia went on to make a few appearances for the Arsenal senior team in the WSL and League Cup, playing alongside big names such as Alex Scott, Rachel Yankey and Casey Stoney. Georgia came on as a sub against Manchester City in August 2015 against Manchester City whose team consisted of big names Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Lucy Bronze and Toni Duggan.

After turning 18, Georgia signed on a Scholarship with East Tennessee State University. She went on to earn Freshman All-Southern Conference honours before transferring to Syracuse University where she went on to captain the Orange from 2018 and made 44 appearances, scoring 4 goals in the process.

Georgia has also been part of the England set-up, most notably, scoring the winning penalty against France in the 2018 u20s FIFA Women’s World Cup Third-Place Play-Off to win the bronze medal. Georgia played alongside players such as Georgia Stanway and Lauren Hemp.

The Ipswich midfield already has a decent quality and some good youngsters pushing into the First Team. It will be interesting to see how they live up to the challenge of competing with someone with Georgia’s experience. Town Captain, Amanda Crump, is currently expecting her second child which may pave the way for Georgia to come into the team while the skipper is out of action, and possibly take the captaincy given her past leadership experience?.

Amanda contributed massively last season with goals and assists so if Georgia is to step into her position in the team, I think this role would suit her perfectly and give her the chance to express her ability more and allow her to move forward to help the attack. Although, youngster Eloise King really stepped up with her goals last season and could make this an interesting battle, while also giving Manager Joe Sheehan a selection headache that I’m sure he would welcome.

Could we, possibly, also see a change in Joe Sheehan’s approach to utilise the midfielders?. We seen last season the Wingers moved to a more Wing Back role. This could fit in with a 4 player central Midfield in a diamond shape and giving the Wing Backs the freedom to move forward to assist the Striker and provide width without leaving a stranded defensive 3. We seen Sophie Peskett and Ellie Rossiter play a similar defensive role for part of last season.

Hopefully we won’t have to wait long before we see, but good luck to Georgia and welcome home!.

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!.

Categories
Uncategorized

Joe Sheehan – Manager of the month

Credit: Ross Hall

Town Manager Joe Sheehan has finally been recognised for the job he has done so far with the Tractor Girls this season by being award the Manager Of The Month award for February by the National League.

It’s been a heck of a journey so far as the blues head down the final straight of the season but what Joe has done, results aside, has been just as important.

This season has seen an influx of youngsters inducted to a regular starting place in the first team. Players such as Lucy Egan, Paige Peake, Eloise King, Sophie Peskett, Anna Grey, Maddie Biggs and Abbie Lafayette to name a few, have all come through the u21 set up and still play for them in their midweek fixtures.

Joe has done a brilliant job bringing these youngsters through and into playing regular first team football. Paige Peake has proved to be an amazing set piece taker, especially free kicks and even scored straight from a corner also. Lucy Egan would be one of my tips for Player of the season this year after a string of brilliant performances from the no nonsense centre half. Eloise King has been on hot scoring form of recent, bagging a hat trick in the East Anglian Derby against Norwich last week and also Maddie Biggs who has caused opposition defenders headaches and also scored a hat trick against Huddersfield in the FA Cup to send town to a memorable tie at Manchester City.

Although fans would have liked to have seen it come sooner, it’s no surprise to see Joe pick up the award with town sitting top of the South East Division One with only 1 loss, the best defensive record and ready to take on any hurdles in the final stretch of the season.

Congratulations Joe, keep up the good work

Categories
Uncategorized

Enfield – Match Preview

Credit: Ross Hall

This Sunday the Tractor girls take on Enfield Town at Playford Road (2:30pm ko). The fixture that was initially due to be played at the usual Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe has been relocated due to the recent weather conditions and to ensure the fixture goes ahead. The game will be played on the Ipswich Town “cage” 4G pitch. Fans wishing to attend the game can do, gates open at 2:15pm.

Past meeting

The last time these teams met at Enfield’s QE Stadium, Town secured a close 2-1 win after coming from behind thanks to goals from Maddie Biggs and a Injury time winner from Natasha Thomas. This was one of the closest encounters the Tractor Girls have had this season in the National League South East Division One and will be on their guard to make sure they continue their good run of form.

The Opposition

Enfield will prove to be a tough test this Sunday when they look to stop towns good run in form. Enfield’s last loss was the return fixture against Ipswich, since then, they have only conceded 3 goals in 5 games and scored 16. They currently sit in 6th place in the league table with only 2 losses so far from their 11 played games.

One to watch

Town will need to keep an eye on Enfield’s Katherine Long (Striker) and Beth Lumsden (midfielder) who share 20 goals between them (10 each). The Blues currently hold the best defensive record in the league so both players will need to be at their best to cause towns back line a problem.

Team News and prediction

Town winger Anna Grey went off with an injury in their 10-0 win over Norwich recently and will be hoping to see her back in the squad. Town boss Joe Sheehan will have a selection headache with youngster Amy-Leigh Abrehart staking her claim for a first team pick after her hat-trick against Stevenage last Sunday. Joe chose to rest a number of first teamers last week and many will be expecting a recall for this Sundays game.

My prediction is a tough Enfield performance but Town will overcome it with a 3-1 win.