We are delighted to announce that the application we made for our women's team to be moved up to the East Midlands Regional Football League Division One North has been fully accepted by the FA's Women's Football Board. The move is effective immediately meaning that Grimsby Town Women will be playing in Division One North as soon as the 2020/21 season commences.
The move to this league is the culmination of a lot of hard work from everyone at the club that has supported the project since we took our first steps into women's football last summer. The team has been led by manager Dale Houlston, and whilst promotion seemed inevitable with just two games left to play, the COVID-19 virus meant that all women's football came to an early end. All results were expunged and league standings null and voided. It looked almost certain the Mariners were set to have to play a further season on the bottom rung of the women's football pyramid at tier seven. But with a late twist to the story, The FA decided to review the women's football pyramid and asked clubs to make their case in applications for a move up to a higher division. To the delight of everyone, Grimsby Town Women were considered to be very worthy candidates for the move.
On hearing the news, a delighted manager, Dale Houlston said: "I am absolutely over the moon with the decision and I think that the FA have made an excellent call in the interest of women's football in our county. There was no doubt that had those final two games gone ahead, then we would have been crowned champions with promotion. It was unequivocal and we set out a compelling case in our application which was also well supported by Steph Powell at Lincolnshire County FA. So I would also like to thank Steph for her support".
We asked Dale what the reaction of the players has been. He said: "They are really buzzing and proud as punch for each other. So are the coaching team as well. Hayley, Sophie and Dom who put so much hard work into last season. They all stay in touch daily in their group chat, and I think there might be a few celebratory glasses of beer and prosecco enjoyed tonight in their online virtual gatherings. I have no doubt that they will all enjoy this moment and look back on it as being a somewhat surreal moment in our history. It's obviously not the usual way a team would enjoy celebrating, but it will still mean every bit as much to them".
On what this means next for the Mariners, Dale said, "Well that's part one of our women's football plan completed isn't it. We can now look forward and prepare for next season in the knowledge of where we are going to be. It gives our players every bit of the reassurance that they needed, and it also enables us to continue to look at strengthening the team to compete favourably at the next level.
"We want to be in a position to compete strongly again as we want to be pushing on and winning promotion to tier five. Grimsby Town Football Club is an extremely competitive and well-run club throughout, and we always enter competitions to succeed. But I would just like to add this. As a football club the well-being of the entire organisation is of paramount importance and things are very difficult in the world of professional football at the moment. So from our point of view, we are fully supportive of everyone that is employed by the club. They have our entire admiration for the way that they are coping and managing things, especially when we see reports of people taking pay cuts for the future well being of the club. Grimsby Town is a massive part of the community, isn't it? You only have to see the manner in which supporters are raising money yet again for the club they love, to see just how central the club is to the Town and its surrounding areas. Well, hopefully, we have now given the community a little bit of something to cheer about at a time when there isn't a great deal of joyful moments in football. We have been so well supported by the community too and so it's nice for them as well isn't it"
We will continue to keep you up to date with further developments with the women's team as they occur during the summer. But in the meantime, if you feel that you could be a future Grimsby Town Women's player, then please register your details here.