The 2018/2019 season is almost upon us and so to get you in the mood for the action ahead, we’re trawling the top three tiers of the newly re-branded women’s pyramid to get the lowdown on the atmosphere, expectations, horrors and delights of pre-season from the on-field talents putting in the hard yards and the coaches barking the orders and shaping their teams…
We’re checking in with clubs in the new-look FA Women’s National League (formerly the FA WPL) and now we’re heading to the FA Women’s National League Division 1 North, to the North East in fact, and to Chester-le-Street Town to be precise, a level they have played at since 2013. We caught up with chatty midfielder Anna Collin of the four-time finalists (and three-time winners: 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons) of the Durham County Cup, to find out more…
Anna Collin (Chester-le-Street Town LFC)
SK: How did the close-season break go for you – what did you get up?
AC: It was a nice to have a little break but after a couple of weeks I was itching to get going again, Sundays are not the same without football. I still like to keep active so I play squash, go running or to the gym instead.
SK: How were you feeling on the first day back?
AC: I felt good, we were eased into it, no fitness on the first session back.
SK: What did the players do on the first day back?
AC: Had a catch up before training began and tried to learn the new girls’ names!
SK: How many new faces are there in the squad (staff) and how do you make them feel welcome?
AC: We have a few new faces, both staff and players. We’re a friendly bunch so hopefully we made them feel welcome! There is definitely a big night out planned to welcome them in properly which is always fun.
SK: Who’s been first in the running/fitness sessions?
AC: Laura Hockaday – fit as a fiddle!
SK: What has been the best thing about being back (and worst)?
AC: Best thing has been getting to see all of the lasses again. Worst thing has to be the dreaded fitness.
SK: Who’s been the comedian, making everyone laugh?
AC: Brogan Prudhoe, the class clown and fantastic impressions.
SK: Who’s been the chattiest?
AC: Hmmm, I’d have to say myself on this one!
SK: Who’s come back in the fanciest new footwear?
AC: Sarah Burn had some cracking new boots on yesterday, just a shame they didn’t match!
SK: Who has come back with the best tan?
AC: Nichole Goundry Havery or Sarah Burn. Amy Kelly is tanned all year round.
SK: Who will put the most effort into preening and look their best for the pre-season photo shoots?
AC: Steph Lorraine, without a doubt!
SK: Who is looking really sharp and in-form on the field, in pre-season?
AC: I’d say Katie Ellison and Kacie Elson, both have looked good.
SK: Any personal targets you’ve set yourself for the upcoming season?
AC: To grab at least one goal this year!
SK: Any facts, hidden talents or funny things you can tell us about one of your team mates that we might not know?
AC: For away games, we always have a quiz competition. Nichole Goundry Havery provides the funniest answers ever, she has no clue about anything that is going on in the world.
SK: Who will be your team’s or your own biggest fan?
AC: Melanie Nugent! She will be there whenever she can cheering us on.
SK: What is your home ground like and any tips for newbies turning up?
AC: It’s a good setup, we have a clubhouse right near the ground too. I hope the newbies like rave music as it’s been known for us to listen to that before a game.
SK: What can we expect to see from your team and why should SK readers get behind your team in the upcoming season?
AC: We have some promising new players coming in so hopefully, with a bit of stability this season, we can push for finishing in the top three.
SK: Where or how shall we follow you on social media, this season?