“Personally, I'd love for us to be pushing for promotion again, and I know the team will echo my thoughts on that one.”Following our conversation last week with Head of Women's Football Ged Maloney, we sat down with defender Lindsey Whitton to discuss the 2019/20 campaign from an on the field perspective as Harrogate Town AFC Ladies sit just one promotion away from a place in the Women's Premier League.
Whitton, who played twelve times for the yellow and black of Town last season, says she's excited for the new season to get underway.
“I can't wait for the season to get started, it will yet again be a tough competition, but I'm looking forward to playing against good sides like Hartlepool and South Shields.
“I'd say they were our two strongest competitors last season and we had a mixed bag of results against them, so it'll be good to come up against them again with the determination to come back with some vital points.
“We had a brilliant 2018/2019 season, but with back to back promotions since our first season in 2016/2017 we knew this league would be a big challenge.
“We had various setbacks with injuries and player availability which meant we may have dropped more points than we would have liked to, but overall it was a good one!
“Personally, I'd love for us to be pushing for promotion again, and I know the team will echo my thoughts on that one.
“I feel like we created a good foundation in our squad last year which is exciting, and I feel like the club has done a great job of recruiting some new players which can only enhance our chances of success.”
Thanks to the success of England's performance at the World Cup this summer, a conversation about women's football can't be held without discussing our heroic Lionesses, and Lindsey was indeed one of the millions roaring them to victory in front of the TV.
“What a world cup it was, I loved every minute of it!
“We've had record breaking viewing figures totalling 28.1 million watching BBC coverage, with a peak audience of 11.7 million for the semi-final match against USA - This year's World Cup has smashed all previous viewing figures, it's unreal!
“I think the big challenge now for the FA is how they can translate that into the Women's Super League; How can they encourage the nation to watch their lioness heroes on a weekly basis?
I think this being the third successive Semi-Final in a major tournament for our Women's team will be a major influencing factor in further developing our game across the country.”
Lindsey continued, clearly very excited and passionate about the subject – “I quite often think that people don't see football as a sport for girls and I hope that this World Cup has broken the various stereotypes of women's football and opened the minds of people across the country to encourage their daughters/sisters/nieces to give football a go.
“Most importantly though; role models have been created around the world and more importantly for us at a local level around Harrogate and Yorkshire.
“Young girls will have watched local players like Rachel Daly and Lucy Staniforth playing in front of thousands of people in a stadium, to millions of fans at home and think - she went to my school, she played at my club, I could do that.
“These girls will start to believe now that becoming a professional footballer, representing your country and wearing those Three Lions isn't just a dream, but could become a reality for them and that will be an incredible legacy of this world cup.”
Lindsey and co return to action after some tough pre-season training sessions on Sunday 21st July when Leeds Development visit The CNG Stadium.
By Isaac Martin