Yeovil Town Ladies Chairman Stephen Allinson spoke to BBC Somerset presenter Emma Britton on Friday 3rd July, as the Ladies announced their plans to stage a forthcoming FA WSL match at Huish Park.
EB: I know what you've got to say, but I'm going to let you do it, as this is exciting news. What have you got to reveal, exclusively on the Breakfast Show?
SA: That's very kind - our first game back after the mid-season break is on Sunday 19th July, and I'm very pleased to announce exclusively, and before anyone else knows about it, that we'll be playing it at Huish Park, the home of the Glovers. So that's fantastic - get along to Huish Park stadium, and follow the feel-good factor from the Women's World Cup, on Sunday July the 19th.
EB: How big a deal is this, because there will be people listening who thought you always played there but you don't - you're slightly separate from the men's team.
SA: That's right - we play at Sherborne Town at the moment - that's our home ground. But we're very grateful to them, and it's a great home for us, and I know you've been there, and enjoyed the experience there. We've always said, if it's possible, that we'd like to showcase some games at Huish Park and now seems the best time of all, and I'm very grateful to John Fry and my colleagues at Yeovil Town that they're working with us on that. I think that it's going to be a great advert, and a great opportunity. It shows the 'one club' mentality, which we want to embrace and great to have some who haven't seen our Yeovil Ladies come along.
EB: When would the last time have been that the Ladies played there? Wasn't it Leeds United?
SA: It was - that little club, I think!
EB: Less of the little, Steve Allinson! (referring to Emma's support for Leeds United)
SA: Yes, it was 2013 - that's right. We had about 600 fans there for the FA Cup. That little club beat us, as you'll recall, but it was a great atmosphere. We're certainly aiming for well in excess of 600 this time!
EB: That's an important point, because the game that I was at recently, there were well over 500 fans at Sherborne Town Football Club, and that was a record. Now obviously the capacity at Huish Park is much greater. Will you be able to get enough fans to come along to make a decent atmosphere. Is that something you worry about?
SA: Yes, that's a very fair point and obviously that's part of the reason why we're doing this now to see how this will go. We're aiming for over a thousand fans, and over a thousand fans will give us a great atmosphere. As always we'll be doing a lot in terms of pre-game and post-game engaging with the fans, because that's something that we're really passionate about in Women's Super League, in that it's very much a family experience. So I'm sure it will be a great atmosphere, and it's up to the fans of Yeovil and the people of Somerset to come along and share that with us.
EB: Now I know the team were training last night, so at what point were they told that their first game back after the Women's Super League break was going to be at Huish Park?
SA: Well some of them have been told privately but actually some of them will be finding out today, just like you! But that's fantastic, as this is a proper exclusive Emma!
EB: (laughing) Morning, girls! Guess where you're going on the 19th of July?
EB: There's been the mid-season break, and during that break we've had the Women's World Cup. I've talked to Jamie (Sherwood) the manager, and also to Corinne (Yorston) who is one of the players, about what difference the Women's World Cup is going to make for the future of women's football in this country. I know you're very passionate about promoting Women's football. How do you feel, even though the best England can now do is third place - has this made a difference?
SA: I certainly think that already it's made a difference. The secret of course is what we can do to follow that through. I actually spoke yesterday to the head of women's competitions at Wembley, and she was telling me that despite the (semi-final) disappointment, she's had a constant stream of people in the FA in her office saying what can we do to make sure we really build on that. That's from the men's game as well. So that's the really important thing, so that we don't just say "hey, well done" - and it was well done. But actually this is something where we want to go and win this in four years time, and also we want to build the Super League on the back of it.
EB: Do you think we could see more games being played at Huish Park, possibly in the future?
SA: I'm going to say that I'm sure we can. We've talked to John Fry about it, and he's very keen to develop this. We're very grateful and happy at Sherborne, but it's certainly something that we'll be working with, and let's hope that this is a good example to show the way forward.
Back to Top of Page