Following the recent curtailment of Bradford City AFC Women's season by the FA, Matthew Kermode spoke t0 first team manager Chris Hames.
Hames has been in the post for a little under 18 months, and has seen both his seasons at the helm cut short due to the COVID pandemic. This time both City's First and Reserve sides played just four out of 22 and five out of 20 games respectively.
With no action on the pitch since December 2020, when City signed off the year with a 1-1 draw at Barnsley, the club has moved to form the overall Bradford City Women & Girls set-up under the Community Foundation, with Foundation coach Gareth Davis becoming part of the senior staff, working with Reserves coach Manny Mehmood. This Reserve side will now become the Under 23s for 2021/22, providing a clear route from Bradford City Girls Under 9s through to the senior first team. The coaching team have brought the players back into training this week, even with no confirmed fixtures at this stage. Hames said: "We are a highly ambitious side and will use this as an opportunity to continue to develop, to improve and gear ourselves up for a strong campaign next season".
"We want to take this club up. Work has had to be off the pitch, but there has been plenty of it to make sure that when we are back we can kick on. New staff have joined, new ideas and new targets set so should hear us up for an exciting future".
When it comes to the ending of the 2020/21 season, Hames understood the difficult position the FAWNL committee found themselves in, he said: "It's a shame to see the league curtailed, again, we are all just desperate to get back playing, but I do believe that the FAWNL have done all they can to try and find a positive resolution. I’d be keen to see the league give us a cup competition to chew over, and failing that I know a lot of work has been done behind the scenes to make sure some games are played before we break for summer".
Hames was keen to recognise the attitude of the players in what has been a challenging time for a new squad that have barely played together: "It’s disappointing, we all just want to be playing, but we get that that’s how life is at the moment. The group have handled it brilliantly, we’ve supported each other where it needs supporting, and pushed each other where we need pushing. By the time we kick off again in a league we will have had almost an 18 month pre-season, so pressure will be on a bit!"