Aston Villa Women up – but Wolves Women left to rue decision
Wolves Women boss Dan McNamara says they have been dealt ‘another sucker punch’ after Villa were declared second-tier champions while Wolves’ term was voided.
The WSL and Championship seasons have been decided on points-per-game, with Villa moving into the top-flight as title-winners.
But Wolves, who were nine points clear at the top of the National League Division One Midlands (the fourth tier), saw their results expunged.
And McNamara said: “It is another sucker punch, to be honest.
“Again, it’s just the lack of consistency across the game. It’s absolutely astounding. I think this is another time that I’ve got to try to pick my players up after a really difficult three months.
“Obviously, I’m not taking anything away from the fact the season should have been stopped because of Covid. That was absolutely what needed to come before everything else. It’s just the fact I’ve got to go back and try to lift them again – and motivate them to still come back to the game.”
McNamara, of course, is happy for Villa.
Their head coach Gemma Davies said: “We wanted to finish the season on the pitch and win the league by showcasing the work that players and staff had put in to get us to this point.
“We put so many hours, so much hard graft and so much passion into this season that it’s fantastic to have been rewarded for that.
“For every player, staff member and supporter, promotion to the Super League is the realisation of a dream that we’ve all worked so hard to achieve.”
For Wolves, though, the implications of not being promoted could be very significant.
Star players leaving in order to play higher up in the game is a distinct possibility.
And even bigger than that – given levels three to seven were all null and voided – McNamara worries that participation in women’s football may drop off.
“It’s still a bit early. There’s still a lot of things going on in the world,” he said.
“We can’t do anything until we have a date. Some clubs have been training and signing players, and I can’t get my head around it. I don’t know what they’re signing players or training for as we’ve got no date. “I’m just allowing the girls to stay safe and enjoy their time at home, but we’ve got to prepare ourselves for some of these players wanting to move on and play higher.
“People who are making these decisions don’t understand is that some of these girls are putting their lives on hold.
“These girls don’t have children until their mid 30s in order to grow the game, they don’t see boyfriends for three nights a week, they don’t spend Sundays with families.
“It’s all because they want to see the game grow – bigger and better.
“When stuff like this happens, I just think it gets thrown back into their face.
“I’ve had one message from a player which read ‘what’s the point in playing anymore?’
“Now, that for me is alarm bells – and not just as Wolves manager, but on a far bigger scale.
“How many other female players across the country are now thinking ‘what’s the point anymore?’”
McNamara, though, is confident that his bunch, who have recently raised more than £4,000 for Compton Care with their Compton to Compton challenge, will bounce back.
“It’s a difficult time but I’m sure we’ll come through it, no matter what that looks like,” he added.