by Sylvain Jamet
Saturday 1st August will the see the first ever FA Women’s Cup final to be played at the home of football between Chelsea Ladies FC and Notts County Ladies FC.
Around 30,000 spectators are expected for the game of women’s football – a record crowd for the competition.
The previous record stands at 23,291 fans at Nottingham Forest City Ground in 2008 when Arsenal Ladies defeated Leeds United Ladies. Six players from that final will be at Wembley on Sunday: Flaherty and Davison for Chelsea, who were at Arsenal at the time, and Telford, Walton, Clarke and Bradley who were with Leeds.
There will be nine Lionesses that came back from the World cup with a bronze medal on display tomorrow: Kirby, Chapman, Rafferty, Aluko for Chelsea, Bassett, Chamberlain, Telford, Greenwood, White for Notts County. Although Kirby and Chamberlain are not eligible to play as not registered on time.
Notts County have complained, as they will only have one goalkeeper available and she has just come back from the World Cup with an injury. Obviously, it is not their fault that Telford was injured during the tournament but the fact that they have no cover and are moaning at the FA is just plain ridiculous.
The rules were published back in 2014 and players are allowed to play in the semi-final and final, if they were registered for Round 6 to be played on the 12th of April. This is because the summer window was in place between June and July and it would have been unfair for a side to sign top quality players during that window and play them in the final.
Notts County currently have three goalkeepers in their book, Telford, Chamberlain on loan from Arsenal and Hill. Only Telford is eligible for the final as the other two were signed during the Summer window. The fact that they only have one keeper is their own mistake but they still blame the FA for it.
For example, at the time of Round Arsenal Ladies had FOUR goalkeepers on their book: two first team players, Byrne and Chamberlain, and two reserves players Augustus and Morgan. Had Arsenal been in that final they would have been allowed to play any of those four or maybe even the u17 goalkeeper Allen.
You do wonder what happened to Notts County’s reserves team goalkeepers. Also what about their original back-up who was registered at the time of Round 6? They released her during the Summer while they knew that they had no one else to cover for Telford for the FA Cup final.
You can also wonder why their players have been giving it large, coming with statements like “we are now a big team after reaching the Final“, considering they did not beat any WSL 1 team on their way to Wembley. They beat two WSL 2 side and one WPL side (third level of women’s football). In contrast Chelsea beat WSL 2 side Watford Ladies then the Arsenal Ladies and Manchester City Women.
Expect an interesting game with contrasting styles between Chelsea intricate passing and attacking football mixed with flair against Notts County strong physical and direct football, a game based on aggressive pressing and counter attacking at lightning speed.
Hopefully entertainment will be on the order of the day rather than a dull battle of trenches otherwise viewers might be turned off by the spectacle.