Katy Sandalls on women's football: Suffolk you have done yourselves proud - now keep going!
PUBLISHED: 10:00 11 September 2019
This month Katy Sandalls discusses the growing attendances in women's football and how important it is that the buzz continues.
The new season has finally kicked off in all women's football leagues - and what a kick-off it has been.
Nationally, we have seen some incredibly attendance across the country with over 30,000 seeing in the first Manchester derby of the WSL era and another 20,000 heading to Stamford Bridge to watch Chelsea beat Tottenham.
It's fair to say it's been a weekend to remember for women's football fans after the positivity of the world cup and the size of its viewership. For context the previous best figure for women's football was around 6,000. To be pulling a crowd five times bigger than has been experienced before in FAWSL is pretty impressive.
It's a theme that has continued here in Suffolk where Ipswich Town Women managed to break their own club record and attract a crowd of 761 in their derby game against Norwich.
Having been down at the Goldstar Ground for the game it was obvious to see that there was a real buzz about the ground with huge groups of men's team fans gathered to see what will likely be the only home first team derby of the season.
The fans were as loud as they were numerous; singing, banging on the hoardings and generally trying to put off Norwich's goalkeeper.
A buoyant atmosphere that was typified by a small group of fans who were so pleased by the results that they fell over onto the pitch several times during the game.
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Not all of these are typical features of the women's game, not at the moment at least, but it was good to see fans bringing over some aspects of the sport.
For their part Town put on a show to remember for fans pushing to better their rivals by 4-1 and managing it in some style with good pace and some fantastic shots.
At full-time the crowd was buzzing, the team were buzzing and the staff were elated; the girls boomboxes were up full blast in the dressing room but even that wasn't enough to drown out manager Joe Sheehan's screams of joy.
Together players, staff and supporters had created an evening to remember.
Just four days later over 200 fans returned to the Goldstar Ground to see Town snatch another three points against Actonians.
A considerable drop on their previous game but still the highest attendance for their league; something which the Tractor Girls are managing pretty consistently at the moment.
Games like that against Norwich are always likely to draw more fans, even a certain Mr Lambert made his way down on this occasion, but it's keeping them that is important and that seems to be the case for teams like Town at the moment.
Indeed, I was impressed not only to hear that fans were planning to turnout in force for the reverse fixture later in the season -something City's goalkeepers are sure to be trembling at the thought of - but that a Town Women's Supporters club had really kicked up a gear as well.
It's a real sign of positivity and hopefully of things to come. Growing a fan base will be key for supporting a team with ambitions as big as Town's over the next few years.
Keep it up Suffolk, you've done yourself proud.
MORE: Watch the highlights of Tractor Girls' superb Norwich win as Lambert watches on as part of bumper crowd
Elsewhere in the county it's been kick off time for all of our local leagues.
A reminder that we have teams playing in the FA Women's National League, the Eastern Region Women's Football League and the Suffolk Girls and Women's League.
I've talked a lot about Town in this column but it's essential that we show our support at all levels so please get out there and see how your local team is doing, there's more than ever in the SWGL.
Indeed, Suffolk clubs will be in County Cup action this weekend so there really is no excuse not to get out there and make the most of the footballing talent on offer in our region.
There's been some big scorelines so far with Needham Market's Reserve squad proving to be a forced to be reckoned with and Bury Town also racking up some strong goal differences.
Both squads of course are in their first seasons in the league.
A reminder as always to give a follow to our dedicated women's football social media accounts Glancing Header on Twitter and Instagram.
We've got some exciting plans for the rest of the season so keep up to date with all our goings on through those channels.
If you have any women's footballing stories to share then that is also the best place to do it, or you can get in touch with me @katysandalls or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.