Tottenham Hotspur Women Football Team
At the start of the 2019/20 season, the Tottenham Hotspur women’s side joined the WSL for the first time. This marked a notable achievement for a squad who had been formed back in 1985 but had taken some time to make an impression on the sport.
The side therefore has a longer history than many of us might have thought so let’s take a moment to see how it all began and how the Ladies section of this great club has finally joined the elite.
The team now known as Tottenham Hotspur Women was first formed as Broxbourne Ladies in 1985. Spurs had long been associated with this area of East Herts and the senior men’s training ground was located at nearby Cheshunt for many years. Things remained unchanged for a number of years until, in 1991/92, they were allowed to change their name and become affiliated with Tottenham Hotspur.
The side continued to rise through the ranks and began playing national division football in 1996. A historic success came along in the 2015/16 season as Spurs Ladies won the double of the Ryman Women’s Cup and the FA Women’s Premier League Cup. These were undoubtedly impressive achievements but with other clubs such as Chelsea and Arsenal developing their women’s teams at a more rapid rate, Tottenham had yet to make it into the top flight of English football.
The management set about addressing that issue by bringing some high profile signings into the club. Welsh International Sarah Wiltshire and England Under 19 star Coral-Jade Haines were among those who made the switch to North London and helped the club to achieve their aims.
By the time the 2018/19 season had begun, the ladies team had made some significant changes. Along with some key signings, the club were to change their name from Spurs Ladies to Tottenham Hotspur Women and they were now playing at a professional ground – Barnet’s Hive Stadium.
The clear aim at the start of that campaign was to gain promotion from the second tier of English women’s football and into the Women’s Super League for the very first time. Over 20 games, Manchester United were the dominant force in the division and they would eventually claim top spot by winning an incredible 18 matches and losing only once.
Spurs would have to settle for second place but it was enough to secure that WSL spot. In 20 Championship games, Tottenham women would win 15, draw one and lose four. They totalled 46 points and with a gap of five points to third placed Charlton Athletic, it was enough to secure promotion. The highlight of the season was definitely an 8-0 demolition of Millwall while the hero up front was Rianna Dean who finished as joint second top scorer in the league with 14 goals.
Tottenham Hotspur women had to make some difficult decisions ahead of the first season in the top flight of English football. The squad had performed well to secure promotion but a sweeping change of personnel was needed and ultimately, no fewer than 11 players were released at the end of that 2018/19 campaign.
Perhaps the most surprising decision came in releasing Sarah Wiltshire who is now playing at Yeovil Town but clearly the club felt that some fresh faces were required. Coral-Jade Haines remains in the squad as does Rianna Dean whose 14 goals last season came in just 19 games.
Captain of the side is Jenna Schillaci who is an experienced defender who has been with Spurs since way back in 2009. Also providing experience is a new signing Gemma Davison. The 32 year old winger is a much travelled player and has featured for 10 women’s sides including old rivals Chelsea and Arsenal.
That experience mixes nicely with some promising youth but how are Tottenham Hotspur Women rising to their first season in the WSL? The answer is a positive one and after three opening games, the side recorded two wins and a loss to claim six points. That put them in fifth place, three points ahead of the Manchester United team who romped home in the Championship in 2018/19.
There’s a long way to go but that’s a very bright start and one that suggests Tottenham Hotspur ladies belong in this division. We’ll certainly be watching their performances with interest as that Women’s Super League season progresses.