Could you be a future Grimsby Town Women's player?
We heard last week that there is still a great deal of hope that our women's team might be moved up a league to the East Midlands Regional Women's Division 1. Even though COVID-19 forced the FA to end the women's football season early throughout the entire pyramid, without promotion and relegation for many of the tiers, there is an opportunity being made available for advancement. The club has already sent off the application to the FA Women's Board and we will bring news of the outcome as soon as it is received. But in the meantime, we spoke with manager Dale Houlston on his plans for next season.
Are you on the lookout for additional players for next season Dale?
"Yes, of course, we are always interested in strengthening the squad and the door is always open. We brought in players during last season part way through, like Laura Saxby from Grimsby Borough, Georgia Wattam from Leeds United and Dani Brighton who returned to us from the USA. It's free agent time now in women's football where players are free to come and go as they please. So if there is anyone out there that would like to have a chat about the possibilities of joining us, then I would be delighted to hear from them. Unlike last season though when we did an open trial, that won't be happening again this summer. We have a small existing squad that have done terrifically well and I am not going to be releasing a single one of those players. They've all earned the right to be here again next season. We know of potential other players out there that are of interest to us, and when the time is right we will get in touch with them as possible strengthening additions to the squad. But at the moment it isn't clear when the season will start or when we can commence some sort of pre-season. But if there are any players out there that would like to express an interest in coming along to Grimsby Town, then I think we are putting together an online form where they can register with us".
Dale, you say that players are now free agents, does this mean they aren't contracted or registered to other teams?
"That's right yes. Unlike in professional football, players are registered to teams and those registrations expire each season on 31st May. So as of 1st June players essentially become free agents and this is when they tend to start considering movements. Quite a few clubs have already advertised for players, but I haven't wanted to do that until after the end of May because it would be unfortunate if it was to breach an FA rule with a player that was still technically registered elsewhere. Also, there is plenty of time to consider new players because let's face it, we don't even know yet when we are going to be in a position to get started".
Do you have any particular areas in mind where you are looking to strengthen, or perhaps the type of player that you are interested in?
"I don't think we have highlighted any specific areas that are pressing matters for us, and to some degree, I suppose the outcome of the application to move up a league will be key to things. I suppose the goalkeeper position is one that might be considered a priority. We were fortunate to have the use of Georgia from Leeds United last season, but we are not sure yet of the position with regards to that for next season. In terms of the type of players we might add, much of it is about the character of the player as well as their ability. For sure incoming players will need to demonstrate an ability to compete for promotion at the top of the league, because that is what want again. They will need to have that winning mentality. But we also have a very happy group of players at Grimsby, and the spirit and togetherness within the group is one of the best I've seen. So anybody new that comes along will need to be of that ilk too when it comes to being part of the group".
You put a lot of faith in younger players last season Dale, are there any younger players coming into adult football that might be of interest?
"You are absolutely right, the average age of our squad last season was probably 21, with a lot of players playing their first full season in adult football. Seven of those players were 16-17 years of age. Young players like Eleanor, Darcie, Bethany and Ellie were awesome for us last season, and there were others also not a lot older than them. I am aware of a number of talented young players that have recently turned 16, as well as some that will be turning 16 during the season. It's important that we continue to monitor these as they look to move into adult football, and we want to give opportunities to them where we can. We have some good older and more experienced players here too and that is great for the youngsters, and I am sure there will be a number of other experienced players that will be interested in joining us, now that they've seen the journey we've started so well, and where we want to take this".
If you are interested in the possibility of joining Grimsby Town Women then let us have your details by filling in the following form.