What was the motivation/inspiration behind setting up Caversham United Women?
Paul Gutteridge (PA): At Caversham United we’ve been big advocates of women’s football for a number of years now. The female game has continued to grow in recent years and it was clear that creating a women’s team should be at the mind of any forward thinking football club, which we claim to be. The main hurdle for us as a club in setting up a women’s team was ensuring that the foundations of the club were strong enough that we could support our female players and team(s) to continue to enable participation in years to come, rather than being a “flash in the pan”. I truly believe we are now ready to do this. Hence, Caversham United Women!
What was the motivation/inspiration behind joining Caversham United?
Georgia Graham (GG): Caversham United are such huge advocates for women’s football and have been wanting to add a women’s team to their club for a while now. Initial discussions were held back in 2020 but the timing just felt right to make the move ready for the 2021/22 season. We were really keen to be a part of a club that is so forward thinking and has such a big social media following, we felt it was a great opportunity to shine a light on women’s football and our team.
The team made their debut appearance at the Burghfield tournament, how did they get on? What are your initial thoughts on the team/s performance?
PG: Writing this response the day after the Men’s Euro 2020 final is disturbing me greatly. The teams did very well, barely conceded a goal throughout the tournament and lost the final on penalties. Deja vu, much? That aside, we entered two teams in the Burghfield tournament and it seemed incredibly fitting that their first game as Caversham United Women was… against each other! That game ended as a 0-0 draw, but maybe they went easy on each other! Overall though, it was a really proud moment to see the ladies take to the pitch in the Caversham United kit. The start of something special, I hope.
GG: The Burghfield tournament was a great day, it was a really well run event and both our teams did very well. Typically the first game was between our two teams, a 0-0 draw! The girls hadn’t done any pre-season training prior to the tournament but I was really impressed with the performance. Unfortunately we lost out in the final via penalties but there were so many positives to take.
How do you intend to be/continue to be inclusive now you have a women’s team?
PG: Inclusivity is an important value of this club. We accept players from any background, ethnicity, sexuality or gender; and try to make every player feel welcome. We’ll continue to adopt that ethos across all of our teams. We’re at a bit of a juncture where the club is trying to grow faster than we have backroom staff at the moment, so, if anyone reading this wants to get involved please do get in touch!
What’s preseason looking like for you?
GG: We have quite a busy pre-season schedule planned which kicks off this Sunday against S4K. This is followed by trips to Wantage Town, Goring United and Kingsclere, before two home ties against Holyport and Alton. I felt it was important to plan a thorough pre-season because we have already missed so much football due to COVID. I want to ensure the team is in the best possible shape and ready to kick off the TVCWFL season in September.
The team recently revealed their sponsorship with Breast Cancer Now, why did you/they pick them?
PG: As you no doubt know, our men’s side have formed a fruitful partnership with Balls to Cancer, raising over £6,000 for them in the past 2 seasons. Charity is another big part of what we do as a club, recently raising £3,000+ for the Bradley Lowery Foundation in a charity match. As such, we put it to the players of the prospective women’s team to see who their chosen choice of charity was – Breast Cancer Now. The charity have been great so far and we look forward to working with them in the future. Hopefully we can develop a fruitful partnership as we have on the men’s side with BTC!
GG: Breast Cancer Now is a charity very close to a number of our hearts, we felt very passionate about highlighting the amazing work they do and showing our support. The men’s team have formed a really successful partnership with Balls to Cancer, raising over £6000 for them, so we hope to do the same with Breast Cancer Now.
What are your ambitions for the future of the women’s team at the club?
PG: I think we need to be realistic here. It’s got to be the winning of the Women’s F.A. Cup this season, or it’s a failure in my eyes. Kidding, of course, but we have applied for entry into it! We may need to borrow a local stadium depending on how we get on…. (Hint, local clubs)! The squad is looking promising and I’m excited to see what we can achieve. We’ll look at ambitions once the TVCWFL confirm the league constitution for next season.
GG: We will wait and see the league constitution for next season before setting any targets but I am really pleased with how the squad is looking. It should be an exciting season for Caversham United Women!
PG: The more we talk about women’s football, the more it’s noticed and the more it grows. It’s as simple as that really.
#WomensFootballWednesday has been a feature on our social media for a couple of years now and we encourage other clubs and football fans to join us. We’ve been fairly successful in doing so and it has even been trending on occasions, which is fantastic. And now finally, we can back up our support of the women’s game by boasting our own women’s team now.
PG: Everyone should get themselves along to watch our women play this season! Oh, and don’t forget to give them a follow on the socials – @CavershamUtdWFC.
GG: Thank you very much for your support and continued coverage of women’s football, you do a brilliant job!
Caversham United Women kicked off preseason in style on Sunday against S4K FC Berks County Ladies, cementing a 5-0 win over the Fawkes. You can see the full women’s preseason schedule right here.