The whole atmosphere around Barclays FA Women’s Super League club Birmingham City feels completely different since new boss Carla Ward arrived at the club.
The 36-year-old’s appointment at The SportNation.bet Stadium in August brought fresh hope to a club seeking much-needed stability since Marc Skinner departed in January 2019.
Just two months on from Ward’s arrival and the club seems to be one which is full of confidence and new found belief. Given the positive impact which Ward has made almost immediately upon her arrival at Birmingham City, I doubt that there has been a single mention of the dreaded ‘R’ word amongst the club’s fanbase since the season kicked-off, despite many fans fearing the worst for most of the summer.
So how does Ward’s early-season record compare to Birmingham City’s position 12 months ago? FA Women’s Super League Full-Time have taken a look at the facts and figures from both seasons and the early days of the Ward era certainly paints a positive picture.
Last season saw Birmingham City pick up just three points from their opening five fixtures in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League. They lost four of those games with their only victory being a 2-0 home success over fellow strugglers Liverpool. Marta Tejedor’s Blues failed to score in four of their opening five matches while they conceded eight goals, leaving them with a negative goal difference of six.
It is fair to say that there has been continuous improvement game-after-game in Ward’s tenure at the club so far. Birmingham City have doubled their points tally from last season by the same point this term after winning two of their opening five matches. While Ward’s side have conceded the same number of goals as last season, the really encouraging factor is that they have hit the back of the net on seven occasions, and increase of five in the ‘goals for’ column. In-fact, the Blues have scored more goals in their first five games under Ward than they managed under former boss Skinner in 2018/2019 when the club finished in fourth position in the table while their current goal tally can only be matched by their record in 2017/2018 during the winter era. The club’s improved performances this season have resulted in a more than comfortable league placing of seventh compared to tenth in 2019/2020.
Prior to Skinner’s departure, Birmingham City were known for their organisation, physicality and being so difficult to beat, even against the very best sides. There are already signs that new boss Ward will bring the good days back to the club and she may even hand Birmingham City a licence to thrill in the final third in the process. It’s exciting times for Blues fans who will undoubtedly be desperate to get back into grounds and witness the ‘Ward Revolution’ first hand.