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From The Chair: 'The injustices impacting the growth of women's football are a driving force for us'

Read Diane Culligan's extended programme notes ahead of London City's clash with Reading this afternoon.

Diane Culligan, London City Lionesses (Image: Wing Chong)
Diane Culligan, London City Lionesses (Image: Wing Chong)

A very warm, and hot, welcome to Princes Park.

Well, we were hoping for another exciting season and last week's five-goal thriller against Watford certainly didn’t disappoint especially as we secured all three points. Despite going behind early on, our resilience shone through to come out on top with terrific goals from new signings Connie Scofield, Danielle Carter and Chantelle Boy-Hlorkah.

All three writing themselves into the ever-growing London City Lionesses history book. Congratulations to Connie for being the Payer of the Match and special a mention to Grace Moloney, who made some important saves to ensure victory over the Golden Girls despite the tremendous amount of pressure they laid on.

So what of today’s game? Well, I’m delighted to welcome Liam Gilbert and Reading FC. Like us, they are a squad with plenty of new faces, with a new manager, with Liam’s taking the helm in August this year.

They return to the Barclays Women's Championship after their relegation from the Barclays Women’s Super League last season, two draws and two points put them seventh in the table whilst we sit fourth (we could be third, but alphabetical order takes precedence this early on!).

Our last encounter against The Royals was a Vitality Women's FA Cup fourth round clash back in Jan 2020, when Reading progressed and Fara Williams graced the hallowed turf of Princes Park and scored a spectacular goal from a free-kick. Much, of course, has changed since then and so I expect a much more even and fiercely contested battle.

I’ve never been one to shy away from addressing the challenges that face and hold back the women’s game. Perhaps not as publicly outspoken as others, my approach has always been to take action, small, systematic, sustainable steps to address the inequalities and deliver more and better opportunities, whilst letting others do the talking.

The underlying injustices and negative behaviours that have impacted the growth of women’s and girls' football have been a driving force and an inspiration to me, and my current and former colleagues here at London City Lionesses. Fiercely independent, so we can do things the right way, never just accepting that’s the way it is.

I was pleased to see Women in Football’s Open Doors Agenda launched this week, which calls on FIFA and the game's governing bodies to ensure that women working in the game, on and off the pitch feel safe, welcome and supported.

The Open Doors Agenda comes in response to FIFA‘s invitation at the Women’s World Cup in Sydney last month for women to just push the doors and say what football needs to do.

Perhaps that’s part of the issue, a lack of awareness and appreciation? They should know what is needed. Society has moved on and expectations have evolved - so maybe it has more to do with a reluctance to change and relinquish power - foolhardy in my view.

Events in Spain show us there is so much more to do to fight the misogyny and sexism, which is holding us All back. I encourage you to find out more and support the call to make Football fully gender inclusive.

Anyway, back to today’s task. Please do enjoy the game, there are three more points available so let’s hear our Pride roar!

Come on City!


Tickets are still available for today's clash with the Royals, don't miss out on a thrilling afternoon of football at Princes Park!



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