Impetus partner club Euxton Girls in Lancashire have recently come to the end of their first full season of football in two years. Michael Taylor from the club spoke to Ben Gilby about how they have overcome the challenges of lockdown to add even more teams to their club with hopes for greater growth after the Euros (30/6/22).
Above: Euxton’s U14 West team celebrating County Cup success. Photo: Euxton Girls.
After losing two years due to the pandemic, it’s been a busy season of growth for Euxton Girls, based near Chorley in Lancashire, as Michael underlined.
“The growth of the club and teams and the retention within the teams has been very high, the club has doubled in size, there will soon be 21 teams. That’s all happened since lockdown over the last two years which is just amazing, and I think we’re pretty much the biggest girls club in the county which is testament to all the hard work that everyone’s put in and keeps putting in to keep all the girls playing football on a weekly basis.”
With the growth comes additional challenges, particularly as finances are a challenge for everyone at the present time. Michael highlighted how the situation is impacting Euxton in particular.
“The biggest cost for us is facilities, they just aren’t getting any cheaper and with the squeeze on everyone financially at the moment, it’s a difficult balancing act. We have to be accessible to everyone regardless of status, and at the same time everything still needs to be paid, with us not charging any signing-on fees for two years is something we’ve had to look at again this year while not increasing our monthly subs.
“To put it in context, we’re actually cheaper than paying for Netflix a month, and we’re always applying for grants to help with the cost of pitch maintenance, kits, coaching courses, insurance, and ongoing equipment and costs. In terms of what we are looking to develop next, access to facilities is the main one through the winter especially and is something that’s under constant review.”
It’s not just the continuing growth of the club in terms of player and team numbers, but also in terms of finals and league success.
“I think all of the teams pretty much have been in contention for something at the end of the season as well as all the way through. Our U7s and 10s were standouts getting to their first and second finals respectively and playing at League One men’s side Fleetwood Town’s Highbury Stadium as well as the U14 West team winning a second consecutive county cup final at the LFA County Ground.
“In addition, my team, U14 North won their first-ever league title and there were several other close ones with the Development team narrowly losing out in a semi-final, and the U17s in a final on penalties. All in all, it has been a really good and long season.
“From a personal point of view, aside from my own team, I’m especially pleased for our women’s and Development teams, both have had really good seasons, with the Devs making the step up to open age football, with a squad of mostly 16 and 17 year-olds to start with and a tough learning curve but with a very respectable mid-table finish and the women’s team only four points from the top of their division in the county league in their first full season, definitely two teams to watch next season.”
Euxton’s ongoing links with FA Women’s National League Division One North side Chorley have continued to strengthen over the season in a number of positive ways.
“It has definitely created some excitement and momentum amongst all the teams, from the juniors upwards,” admitted Michael. “It was a proud moment to see Mollie from our U17s named in the Chorley first-team squad towards the end of the season and hopefully this will be the first of many going forward.
For the younger teams, from being mascots and seeing and meeting the likes of Lisa Topping and Laura Walker on the pitch as well as at training. It’s a fantastic opportunity to build on for both clubs, and for us to be involved with a National League club on our doorstep, who in my view should be getting a lot more recognition than they do, is something we can build on and drive forward with the management at Chorley who are a great team to work with and we’ll do all we can to make it thrive.”
With a successful season behind them, Euxton are not resting on their laurels, as Michael wants to make sure that the club is well-positioned to cater for further interest in girls’ football as a result of this summer’s home European Championships.
“We’re fully expecting the Euros in the summer to have a huge impact and more girls wanting to play across all the age groups from Wildcats through to the womens. We’ve got a number initiatives and partnerships to look at over the next few weeks and the summer in time for next season and I think the main focus is going to be stability after two years of stop start.
“Then we can see where the land lies across the club after a period of consistency. There’s a lot to be positive about and build on and cement what we’ve built and retained over the last two years and we’re all raring to go again in September.”
For more information on Euxton Girls and other Impetus sponsored players and partner clubs, click here: https://impetusfootball.org/partnerships/
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