Pride Park captain and record appearance holder Tash Allderidge spoke to Impetus‘ Ben Gilby about her footballing journey and life at the Derbyshire Ladies League Division One club (7/4/22).
Above: Tash Allderidge (left) strides forward with the ball for Pride Park. Photo: Shaun Hardwick.
Tash Allderidge first played for Pride Park in December 2006 and has now amassed over 150 appearances for the tier seven Derbyshire Ladies League Division One side, scoring over 50 goals in the process.
Pride Park’s captain first discovered her love of the game at the age of five. “I first started playing football at primary school in an after-school club when I was about five. After realising a love for the sport, I started playing outside of school at a football group where I was the only girl.
“When I turned 10 years old, I trialled to join Pride Park U11s in their first season. They were the first girls’ football team I’d even heard of and I’ve played for them now ever since. In 2013, I joined Burton Albion Ladies for a season, helping them gain promotion to the Regional League at tier six alongside playing for Pride Park U18s. We then became Pride Park Ladies after moving to open age, and I have played for this team ever since, captaining the team for the last five years.
“Pride Park have always been a welcoming and friendly club with a great atmosphere on and off the pitch. Although everyone in the team plays for enjoyment, we are also very competitive on the pitch and want to be winning games. It’s great to be able to play week in week out with a group of teammates who I would also class as my friends.”
With her status as a keen Newcastle United fan, Tash had some very famous strikers as her idols growing up.
“My role models when I was younger were Alan Shearer and Michael Owen – for his football ability, not his punditry! However, when I started playing central midfield, I really idolised Hatem Ben Arfa because of his amazing dribbling of the ball and regularly getting goals and assists from midfield during his time at Newcastle. When you watch a player doing that for your favourite club, you just want to get out on the pitch yourself and do the same.”
Pride Park’s captain has found the most recent couple of seasons the most challenging of her career – a direct result of the added complications of COVID.
“It was so hard going months without being able to play football, training, or matches. Sundays just aren’t the same without football! Fitness was also a pretty big challenge once we were able to play again. During lockdown, I’d done a lot of running to try to maintain my fitness, but you need a different type of fitness for football so it took a while to build that back up when we were playing regularly again.”
With the season gradually moving towards the business end, Tash highlighted how she’s viewed the Derbyshire Ladies League Division One this time around.
“It has been extremely competitive. It really feels like a season whereby anyone could beat anyone. Some of our most competitive matches have been against Belper Town, playing two matches against them so far this season, winning one match each, however, they have been very hard-fought and close matches both times.
“Our toughest opponents were probably Draycott Victoria who have some great players and know how to win games. We lost to them in our first match this season but we have another two matches against them so we’ll see if we can get a better result!”
In terms of aims for the rest of the season, Allderidge said: “As a team, it would be great to finish in the top half of the table this season, especially with how competitive the league is this year. Personally, I would like to build up more confidence to take on players in matches and be able to get up the pitch more to help our strikers on the attack and hopefully adding to my goals and assists tally in the process.”
Taking the slightly longer-term view, Pride Park’s captain has some big ambitions for the future.
“I would love to play with Pride Park at a higher level, on the regional league, if we were to go for promotion, to see what it’s like to play against some different teams at that level.
“Also, I’d love to play in and win a match in the Womens’ FA Cup with Pride Park. We made our first appearance in the FA Cup in 2019, losing 5-1 against Hepworth United, a team playing at a higher level than us. It would be great to enter again and maybe even win a match to get into the next round.”