Players in action Crystal Palace Women v Coventry United Ladies, Women's Championship football match, Hayes Lane, Bromley, UK - 18 Aug 2019 Photo: Kate Green for The FA

OPINION: Coventry United have the fight to thrive in the FA Women’s Championship

Coventry United Ladies, don’t you mean Coventry City Ladies?

That is always the response that I get when discussing The Red and Green Girls.

I won’t go into the history of how this team was formed as I’m not qualified to do so, but Coventry UNITED not City have arrived in the FA Women’s Championship.

This club is the perfect example of a women’s team being treated on par with the men’s team in terms of facilities, funding and equipment and support.

I was going to say that United have scrapped their way to the FA Women’s Championship but that would do a disservice
to the brand of football that they play and the off-field work that the numerous volunteers and supporters have put in. Let’s just say that they have earnt the right to play in the second tier of women’s football. This team has a core of players that have been with the club from very humble beginnings. There are no big-time-charlies here, the work ethic and togetherness is clear to see, they do not know when they are beat, and they do not know the meaning of the word quit.

On paper, a move to the FA Women’s Championship is a one-league promotion but quality-wise it feels more like a three-league jump. Teams have more pace, a greater mix of youth and experience and teams can outplay you or outfight you depending on the opposition.

This Coventry United squad isn’t a ragtag bunch of has-beens who are getting their one shot at glory, this isn’t the end of the story, it’s only the beginning. The upward curve starts now, the club have huge ambition on and off the field.

I have identified three players who I think could be the ones to watch for The Red and Green Girls this season:

Sue Wood

Unflappable and always a solid eight out of 10 every week while she is excellent in one on ones. In my opinion, our goalkeeper Sue Wood could play at the highest level. She is affectionally nicknamed Edwin van der Sue.

Beth Merrick

Considering her age, it feels like Beth Merrick been around for a lot longer. She has vast experience playing at this level, is a dead ball specialist and she boasts a shot like cannonball. Expect goals and assists aplenty this season.

Amber Hughes

Attacker Amber Hughes swept the boards at last season’s awards night. She is a player who is quick, skilful and determined. When in full flow she’s a defender’s worst nightmare and I am sure that her name will appear on many a scoresheet this season.

It’s impossible to predict how the season will go but Coventry United have the red and green army behind them who sing loud and fly their flags with immense pride. If you manage to get along to the Butts Park Arena this season to watch this wonderful club and join these loyal fans then you just might come back again.

By John O’Brien

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