2020: The Year On Impetus

2020 has been a year like no other. Here, site founder Ben Gilby looks back on our content through a year when Impetus went from having a small but loyal UK audience to breaking through to a large readership across the globe.

This has been the first full year of Impetus’ existence after the site was founded in September 2019. This review of the year is an opportunity to re-share some great content that you may not have previously read or indeed a chance to rediscover it by clicking on the various hyperlinks. Here’s the first part of a month-by-month review of Impetus’ 2020.

JANUARY 2020:

Our first piece this year was a match report. Nothing to get too excited about there you may think – just regular fayre. Except, this report charted the debut in English women’s football of global superstar (and, yes, Impetus’ total hero), Sam Kerr. A crowd of over 2,800 at Kingsmeadow also contained a big contingent of ex-pat Australians all keen to see their star in action. It would be an article on Kerr that brought Impetus to a huge number of new readers – the vast majority of whom we are delighted to have retained – but that story comes in October. The report of Sam’s debut can be seen here: Chelsea Women v Reading Report 6th January 2020

Above: Sam Kerr in action for Chelsea on her FAWSL debut against Reading. The huge growth of Impetus can be directly linked to an article on the Australian star in October. Photo: Ben Gilby

As well as our regular W League round-up, we also featured a two part feature on Burnley Women – Burnley Part I and Part II – where the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier side revealed how they have been moving up the league system after sealing a close link with the male FA Premier League counterparts.

We ended the month with features on two sides outside of England. First, a wonderful story from Northern Ireland where we spoke to Tony McGinley, manager of Sion Swifts. The Strabane based side have been going for ten years, with a player pathway from the age of six. Incredible success has now seen the team pushing for a place in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. It’s a great story and can be read here: Sion Swifts.

Finally in January, we chatted to Cardiff City Ladies media officer Lewis Rogers about the FA Women’s National League Southern Premier side about their challenges and how the Welsh women’s football scene is in a really exciting place. Check it out here: Cardiff City Ladies.

Above: Sion Swifts – an incredible story of a club from Strabane. Photo via: Tony McGinlay

FEBRUARY 2020:

A month mainly taken up on the site with international action. First, full reports of The Matildas three group games in Olympic Games Qualifying against Chinese Taipei, Thailand and then the highly dramatic final group game against China when a late rocket from Emily van Egmond guaranteed top spot and a place in the final qualifying play-off.

We ended the month with a piece examining how Middlesbrough Women had been building on the Lionesses’ home game with Brazil at the Riverside Stadium to develop interest in their talented FA Women’s National League Northern Premier side. It can be read here: Middlesbrough Women Feature.

Above: Middlesbrough Women’s Tyler Dodds during the 2019/20 season. Photo: Colin Lock.

MARCH 2020:

The last few weeks of “normal” non-Covid life and we had a thorough round-up of a big month of international football, starting with the She Believes Cup, Algarve Cup and Pinatar Cup before the play-off for the Olympic Games plus Euro 2021 Qualifying News.

The month continued with a really interesting feature on Ashford Town (Middlesex) Women. Founder and chairman Will Boye told us about how his club have rocketed up four divisions and won several cups in their short period of existence. It can be read here.

Coronavirus’ grip was highlighted by the fact that the 2020 W League Grand Final was played behind closed doors. It was a real shame as the match was a really enjoyable affair. Our report on the game appears here: 2020 W League Grand Final Report.

Above: We heard all about Ashford Town (Middlesex) Women during March. Photo via: Will Boye.

APRIL 2020:

With all football now cancelled due to the pandemic, we kept things going on the site with two club features. We spoke to Ewan Greenhill, head of Women’s Performance at Yeovil Town about the club’s incredible history and how they are rebuilding after leaving the FA Women’s Super League. It can be read here: Yeovil Town Women

In difficult times, we ended the month with a really heart-warming story and one which provided undoubtedly my most memorable club feature so far on the site. FA People’s Cup winners Plymouth Warriors Women are a phenomenal club who provide football for players with conditions as wide ranging as Anxiety, Depression, BPD, PTSD, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Autism, ADHD and Crohn’s. Our chat with Melissa Curtis, the club’s head coach was nothing short of inspirational. It is well worth another read: Plymouth Warriors.

Above: The fantastic Plymouth Warriors with the FA People’s Cup. Photo via: Melissa Curtis.

MAY, JUNE AND JULY 2020:

With all regular football still side-lined and people trying to make the best of a difficult situation, the site took a break over these three months.

AUGUST 2020:

The women’s football scene came back with a bang, albeit still behind closed doors, as the delayed final stages of the UEFA Women’s Champions League took place. Due to the ongoing pandemic, home and away legs were not possible, so the Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Final all took place over a week in the Basque country cities of Bilbao and San Sebastian. We provided detailed reports of the Glasgow City v VfL Wolfsburg and Paris St. Germain v Arsenal quarter-final ties. This was followed up with full reports of the hugely enjoyable semi-finals which saw VfL Wolfsburg edge past Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais defeat Paris St. Germain. We also reported on Olympique Lyonnais’ record breaking victory in the final over VfL Wolfsburg – which can be read here.

Meanwhile, at Wembley, a new season of English women’s football got underway with the resurrected FA Women’s Community Shield – a big occasion which saw Chelsea comfortably defeat Manchester City. Our view on the game can be read here.

Photo: Another UEFA Women’s Champions League title for Olympique Lyonnais. Photo: Damien LG via @OLfeminin

SEPTEMBER 2020:

With women’s football just brushing off the cobwebs after five months away, with one exception, our coverage this month surrounded match reports from the big return. Among those appearing on our pages were Manchester United’s opening day draw with Chelsea, Arsenal’s FA Cup win over Tottenham Hotspur and Everton’s win over Chelsea at Goodison Park.

There was also the first sign of Impetus’ breaking through to a larger audience. Our interview with Dulwich Hamlet Women’s first team manager Ryan Dempsey and media officer Hugo Greenhalgh became, at the time, by far our most viewed article ever – and as we will see in the second part of this review of Impetus‘ year – those larger numbers of regular readers were about to become a regular occurrence.

Above: Our piece on Dulwich Hamlet Women was the early indicator that Impetus was starting to break through to a bigger audience. Photo: Ollie Jarman.

The second part of this review will appear on Impetus tomorrow morning (31st December 2020).

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