Yeovil Town Ladies Chairman Stephen Allinson and player Helen Bleazard spoke to BBC Somerset, on Friday 8th January 2016, after it was announced that Yeovil Town Ladies would be playing at Huish Park for the majority of their 2016 matches.
CC: It is announced that Yeovil Ladies will be making Huish Park their home for the majority of their home games this coming season. With me is Steve Allinson, who is the club's Chairman. Steve - a big day!
SA: Really exciting Claire. Welcome to Somerset, first of all!
CC: Thank you very much. In terms of being able to say now that this will be home for the majority of the games for the Ladies, that's a positive move forward, isn't it?
SA: It's a brilliant move forward. It sums up how the Ladies game is moving forward generally and it also indicates the ambitions that we have as a club, and how Yeovil Town men are embracing us. To have the brand all at Huish Park is fantastic, and we're so excited that we can have eight games at home this year at Huish Park, the home of Yeovil Town, is going to be brilliant.
CC: So has it been long term planning in terms of putting this deal in place?
SA: Yes, it's been several months. Obviously these things don't happen overnight because you've got to look at all the logistics. We've really enjoyed our time at Sherborne Town. They've been great to us and I want to express my thanks. But it's a bigger stadium and it's better for us obviously. It's a better pitch for the girls and Jamie is obviously excited about the opportunities there, to be able to showcase his football, and it's really good.
CC: In terms of what this will mean to the fans, as there has been quite a big build-up here on social media, it's obviously very exciting for the club. What is this going to mean for the fans?
SA: We're hoping that first of all that more fans will come and watch us. We've got the opportunity to showcase the football for them. I think that obviously a lot of our fans do travel from Yeovil to Sherborne. Now they're going to be closer in that regard. We've got an opportunity to bring more fans in. We've got an opportunity to do more of the kids stuff, both pre and post-game. So I think it's all about family engagement. That's what we feel very strongly about at Yeovil Town Ladies, and we think we can take that to the next level, as well as of course, to win lots of football matches!
CC: From the fans to the players, and with us as well is Helen Bleazard, who was the Player of the Year last year. But what does it mean for all of you?
HB: It's absolutely fantastic. We've played two games here and I think we got over 500 and 700 at those games, which was absolutely fantastic. To be in Yeovil, at the men's club, is just going to be brilliant, moving forward to next season.
CC: I always think there is something special about being able to see a stadium and a ground when there is nobody in it, at a time like this, but what's it like when you do have those 600 fans here, shouting and supporting you. What's it like when you're out there on the pitch?
HB: It is brilliant. We get to see them all along the Main Stand, and it was the first time that my Gran had been able to come and watch. So that was quite touching last year. They're absolutely fantastic and we've got our Youth Teams more involved in coming to watch as well and there's a lot more fans from the men's side as well who are coming to watch, which is brilliant.
CC: It was the first training session back last night, so how are you feeling today?
HB: A bit aching and dusting off the cobwebs. But it was good to be back and we've seen some new faces as well, which is really good. So we're starting to build, coming into the season ahead.
CC: Top four finish last year and going for promotion this year?
HB: Absolutely, without a doubt - that's our only priority - to get promoted this season.
CC: Steve, we'll know the fixtures in the next couple of weeks, won't we?
SA: Yes, that's right. The season kicks off in late March, and we'll know when our first game is, in a couple of weeks and obviously we'll be publicising that for the fans. We can't wait and it's really exciting for us. Thanks to everyone, and thanks to BBC Somerset for the exclusive here (with the announcement of the venue for the 2016 season). We had a great relationship here with you and we look forward to it next year.
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