Yeovil Town Ladies have announced that the club's first team will be playing their home league matches at Wells City's Athletic Ground for at least this coming season. The club have been playing at Sherborne Town's Raleigh Grove for the past two years, but have made the move across the county ahead of their move back to the FA Women’s Premier League. Like Raleigh Grove, the Athletic Ground has excellent facilities, but with a far superior playing surface the club have opted for this move, allowing them to play the standard of football required for operating successfully at the higher level.
Speaking today, Glovers’ joint manager Nigel Williams spoke of his delight in finalising the club’s new home:
"Having been looking for a home pitch since the end of last season, I am very pleased we have linked with Wells City. We would have liked to have stayed in the Yeovil area, but pitches are at a premium and the standard we have risen to required a good standard of playing surface.
"Obviously it would be great to play at Huish Park, but that was not an option. We will continue to work with Sherborne Town to look at how we can help bring their surface up to standard, but in the meantime we are grateful for the welcome we have received from Wells. We hope that our supporters will travel that little extra to watch us this season."
Fellow manager Sarah Lawler is also sad to be leaving Sherborne, but is excited about the move to the Athletic Ground, and the possibilities it will present the team playing on an excellent pitch:
"Although it is a shame we will be moving further away from the Yeovil area to play our home games this coming season. Wells City FC are absolutely fantastic and are by far the best venue available to us that complies with the FA Premier League ground grading in Somerset.
"We have listened to the players on the matter of trying to improve the home ground facility, and as a result for the short term this means a move away from Sherborne for the league fixtures. Sherborne will be working hard to bring their pitch up to standard in the next couple of seasons, so we hope to bring our league games back to this venue in the future, provided the surface improves.
"Our relationship with them is excellent, and we are planning on playing some cup games out there this season, but the priority must be the league and in order to fulfil our ambitions as a team the players need to have confidence in the surface they are playing on.
"As a team we like to keep the ball down and play good football, and playing our league games at Wells we will allow all the hard work the players put into training on Tuesday and Thursday nights to pay off on a Sunday. Our league away record last year was fantastic, but when we played at Sherborne last season in what should have been our home advantage we simply did not perform as well due to the surface.
"Wells City FC have an excellent set up, and we will work in partnership this season to promote Girls and Women’s Football in the area. The club also has a thriving female section much like ours, and we hope to attract players, families and football supporters from this area to come and watch us play."
The club realise that the move to Wells will mean supporters have to travel a little further, but as Lawler explained the club really appreciate the fans loyalty, and hope they will enjoy watching good football on a good pitch:
"We were really lucky to have had a good following of Yeovil Town supporters over the past two seasons at Sherborne, and I want to thank every supporter that backed us. I would like plea to those people who have followed us battle our way back into the FA Women’s Premier League to come and watch us at Wells City, so that we can show them how we want to play football against excellent opposition, making a real advert for Yeovil Town and Women’s Football.
"A lot has changed from the first time we were in the Premier League in 2010/11, from the management, professionalism and the players. What has to be the most noticeable change is the style of football we encourage our side to play. Given that this is the most significant change in the club and it being a key element to our success in the last season, the pitch that we play on must be the number one priority to get right to give the players every confidence in competing in this league. We believe this team will do that, and the decision we have made has been to help them enhance their game so that they can enjoy this season and the challenges it will bring us. Personally I am really excited, and I cannot wait for the season to kick off."
The Yeovil Town Ladies Reserve Team will continue to play their home matches at the Somerton Sports Ground.
[Ali King - Yeovil Town Ladies.]
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