Lisa Topping: The Big Return Is On!

Impetus is proud to sponsor Chorley Women’s Lisa Topping. Ahead of the much hoped for return to action, Ben Gilby spoke to Lisa about a difficult month at the club, which saw the sad passing of one of Chorley Women’s biggest supporters Momma D, who was a much loved figure around the club.

Lisa began our catch-up by letting us know how she’s doing at the moment. “I’m doing well and am keeping everything crossed that we are on the right track to get back to normality. Football is a massive outlet for me so I’m ready to get back with my team mates and play the game we all love.”

The club recently experienced the sad passing of ‘Momma D’. Lisa outlined why she was so special to everyone at Chorley Women.

“Momma D was an amazing, caring person who will be missed by everyone at Chorley. She dedicated so much of her time and energy in to the club, along with her husband Geoff and daughter Janet. Even when Janet’s playing career was over, Momma D would be at training watching – even in the middle of winter – and when it was shooting practice she would be stood at the back of the field retrieving all of the missed shots in the dark where there were no floodlights!”

“She and Geoff travelled all over to away games to watch us play and never missed a thing to do with Chorley. She brought sweets in to the locker room before games, gave pep talks, helped at every fundraising event, gave game debriefs, gave players cut-outs of articles on themselves from the local newspaper and cheered us all on at every game. She was so passionate and caring it’s hard to imagine a Chorley game without her there.” 

“Every game we play now will be in honour of her memory. Once we get back together as a team we will discuss what options we have to commemorate her throughout the season and at games. I’m sure there will be some pre-game rituals put in place for every game and celebrations of her life and commitment to the club.”

“She’s the centre of a lot of our Chorley stories so whenever we reminisce she will be remembered. Like when I took a shot and she told me how awful it was, or when she’s got her head torch on searching for miskicked shots in the brambles and when she even interrupted a team talk.” 

With coronavirus restrictions starting to ease once more, Lisa updated us on the situation at the moment about training and her own fitness. 

Artwork: Graphics by PW

“Betti, one of our senior players, has continued to do an excellent job with virtual sessions. I’ve continued to get out and run, cycle or kick a ball on the local park by myself. This has helped keep me in some form of shape but I’m definitely ready to get back with the team and push on together. We thankfully haven’t got long to wait as we will be training in April.” 

Despite training starting again, the FA have announced that Chorley’s season in the FA Women’s National League Division One North has been rendered null and void for the second year in a row. I asked Lisa what she felt about the decision:

“This must have been such a hard decision for the FA. Whichever way they decided, clubs and players were going to be disappointed. This time away from the pitch has really made me appreciate the years I have left to play so I’m definitely ready to get going and compete again. We were prepared either way. If we needed to play multiple games a week to catch up we would have but similarly we respect the decision made by the FA and league.” 

Some parts of the country have already said they are going to run County based cup games or friendlies. Lisa ended our conversation by updating us on the situation specifically at Chorley. 

“Our manager, Ben Gooden and the rest of the management team have been working really hard to get a plan together since hearing the news. He is really proactive so I know he will have plans in motion. I know we are getting some friendlies booked in and I’m sure if there is a cup set up in Lancashire we would enter it. Ben is really keen to keep us all fit, healthy and prepared and ready to go into next season strong. He will make sure we use this extra prep time well.”  

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

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