Kelly Smith was one of the two guests alongside Pauline Cope Boanas at the Shekicksback event on Monday and revealed a number of things, not least that Arsenal are set to make a ‘big announcement’ soon – likely details of a new stadium for the women’s team and u21s.
The event was organised by Shekicks magazine and the womensoccerzone podcast with both players telling stories from their playing days.
Kelly also mentioned a few bits about the current and future Arsenal Ladies season.
Smith said she “was not rushing to be back [from injury] for the end of the season, as there were only two League games remaining.”
She is close to full fitness but not ready yet and with two League games and one-to-three Continental Cup games to be played, it seems obvious that there is no need to rush to get back on the pitch following the ankle injury which left her furious and resulted in an online tirade against the player who had injured her.
Kelly also mentioned that she can only train two or three times a week due to her injury history that is quite extensive, but not quite as long as Abou Diaby’s.
As we already reported in our article about Alex Scott, Kelly acknowledged that the Arsenal Ladies team had stood still while club like Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool had increased their funding for their women’s side.
It was clear, especially in the last two seasons, as Arsenal failed to qualify for the Women’s Champions League and are in danger of missing out for the third season in a row.
Kelly also mentioned the fact that training times had recently changed from 5pm to 2.30pm. There is hope that in the future the women will be able to train in the morning as they are not allowed to train at the same time as the men’s team at the moment.
She also mentioned that from conversations with Ivan Gazidis, the funding allocated to the Ladies would be increased to be able to compete with City, Chelsea and Liverpool. This means that top quality players should be signed in the next transfer window (from January 2016 to March 2016).
And last but not least, Kelly mentioned there would be a big announcement from the club made soon.
The rumour going around at the event was that Arsenal could be about to build a small stadium dedicated to the Ladies, like Manchester City have done with their Academy Stadium; one that is shared between their u21 team and women’s side.
Next season will be an important one for the Arsenal Ladies and the future looks great with stability in the coaching staff guaranteed as Pedro Losa is contracted until 2019.