Women’s Super League 2019/20: The fans’ view from the stands plus expectations for new season

This is one glamorous component!!

Arsenal celebrate winning the Women’s Super League with the trophy in May 2019

Credit:
John Sibley/Action Images/Reuters

The eighth Women’s Super League Season will get underway on Saturday afternoon as Manchester City take on newly promoted Manchester United at the Etihad. 
Arsenal are the defending champions, narrowly pipping City to last year’s title. Manchester United will be competing in the WSL for the first time, while Tottenham will also look to make an impression following their promotion to the top flight last year.
Here, we brought together supporters of every club in this season’s Super League to get their views on how they think their team will fare, how they came to support them and to tell us about the clubs fan base.
We want to hear from other Women’s Super League fans. Tell us why you are a fan of your club, how you came to be one, and what you hope for the season ahead.
Arsenal
Why do you support your club?
I’ve been following Arsenal in the Women’s Super League for a few years now.
It wasn’t really until the last Euros in the Netherlands – where I am from – that I got into women’s football. 
Before that I watched some of the World Cup (2015) and Bayern München, as I had become a bit of a fan of Vivianne Miedema. After the Euros she moved to Arsenal, joining three other Dutch players who were already at the club. It is because of her that I now follow both Arsenal and the Dutch national team, with great interest.

Are you part of a fan base?
I’ve been a member of the Arsenal Women’s Supporters Club for a year and even though I’m not often in the stadium it’s a nice group of people to talk with online. They create a great atmosphere in the stadium and provide awards for the players of the match and the year.
Our team has a strong bond together, helping each other out and working together to accomplish their goals.
How do you think your team will fare this season? 
With Joe Montemurro we’ve got a great coach, someone the players appreciate and knows how to make the players and the team stronger and better.
Last season we battled through adversity to claim the first league title in seven years.

Arsenal fan Max Kalversma thinks that Joe Montemurro is a fantastic coach

Credit:
 Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images Europe

Lots of players got injured and we didn’t have enough squad depth to field a full eleven without using youth players at some point. I’m afraid that’s something that hasn’t been improved over the summer: starting this season we’ll have the same amount of players we had last time out.
Montemurro likes to have a smaller group of players to work with, but I feel we might be shooting ourselves in the foot again. With Champions League, the WSL and two cup tournaments, we might be overstretching ourselves a little too much.

Where in the table do you expect them to finish? 
I expect the team to be playing for the league title again. We’ve got a formidable (although slightly small) group of players who will be aiming to retain the title.
It might depend on how far we progress in other competitions (Champions League & cups) whether we’ll be able to be top of the table at the end of the season. It will be hard to progress in all four competitions and come out winning any one of them (as we’ve seen with Chelsea last season).
Our pre-season hasn’t been amazing when playing against top European clubs, but Chelsea hasn’t been doing much better.
What do you make of their summer signings? 
Over the summer we signed five players. I think Zinsberger will make a fine replacement goalkeeper and I suspect she’ll mostly be our number one.
Jill Roord came over to boost our already strong (attacking) midfield. I like Jill and I’m happy that she’s joined Arsenal, but found this a weird choice for her at first. Jennifer Beattie and Leonie Maier are good players for our back line. They’re fine players, but probably around the same level we already had in our defensive line.

Max Kalversma
@MaxKlaversma
Birmingham City
Why do you support your club?
I began supporting Birmingham City Women in 2012, in the run-up to our only major cup win; beating Chelsea in the FA Cup Final at Ashton Gate. Club legend Karen Carney caught my attention with her footballing brilliance and I was hooked ever since seeing her play for the first time.
Are you part of a fan base? 
I’d like to think I am part of the wider Blues Women family. I know a good number of the season ticket holders who go down to Damson Park week in, week out and they are a tight-knit bunch. The supporters’ club is less active on social media than it used to be but we have our dedicated podcast ‘Great Since 68’ to keep everyone up to date with the latest news around the club.
How do you think your team will fare this season? 
This season is a tough one to call for a number of reasons, it’s definitely a season of transition for us at Blues. After losing 10 first-team players over the summer, it’s going to be near impossible to replicate our fourth-place finish of last season.

But Blues have built their reputation on the back of being able to overcome the odds and hopefully under manager Marta Tejedor we can do the same this season. It’s her first full season in charge too, so we need to give her time to show what she can bring to the club.
What does your club do well on the pitch and what do you think they could improve on from last season? 
Ever since the Women’s Super League began Birmingham City have been a club that has been able to compete with the best without having the budget to do so. Last season was no exception as we picked up our highest points tally in WSL history.
We are a team that isn’t afraid to take the game to the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea. If I had to pick an area to improve on it would be game management. In certain big games last season we dropped points late on in matches.
Where in the table do you expect them to finish? 
After the exodus of players in the summer I feared the worst for the upcoming campaign, but Liverpool proved last season that you can survive under testing conditions. We’ve lost a lot of talented players but we still have enough quality to steer clear of relegation. I think 8th.

What do you make of their summer signings? 
I am optimistic about the signings the club have made over the summer. You’ve got established Women’s Super League players like Brianna Visalli from West Ham but also untested players like Rebecca Holloway and Adrienne Jordan. From the highlights I’ve seen though, Holloway looks like a star in the making.
Craig Hadley
@craighadlee
Brighton & Hove Albion
Why do you support your club? 
Growing up in Sussex in the 90s gave the choice of supporting lowly Brighton team or a Premier League club. Unlike almost all of my friends I chose Brighton. Whilst initially just following the men’s team, the club’s recent investment and professionalisation of the Women’s team has caught most imagination.
Are you part of a fan base? 
Like most WSL teams, the Brighton Womens team’s fan base is comparatively minuscule compared to that of the club’s men’s team. And playing their home games over 20 miles away in Crawley hasn’t helped that either. But with WSL season ticket sales hitting club record numbers, there is hope that can change, and the record breaking crowd for the last home game of last season against Arsenal shows plenty of potential for growth.

How do you think your team will fare this season?

Defensively the team are relatively solid and resolute, and last season they made most teams work hard to break them down, bar the handful of heavy defeats that come with the territory as a newly promoted team. An attribute shown best by the team’s comparable defensive record to the remainder of the WSL outside the top four.
But goals were hard to come by with Ellie Brazil top scoring with just four, and it will be hoped

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