Ladies night at Upton Park is a big hint of a brighter future

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In years to come March  2016 could be seen  as one of the biggest  months in West Ham  Ladies’ history and the  dawn of an exciting new  era for the club.

Their game against Tottenham Hotspur Ladies at the Boleyn Ground on March 8 showed just how far they’ve come from  some pretty awful and  depressing lows in the  four years that Blowing  Bubbles has covered the  club.

They had hoped to  break the Women’s Premier  League attendance  record of 3,256, which  was set at the Amex by  Brighton & Hove Albion  and Charlton Athletic  back in December 2015.

As Blowing Bubbles  went to press, I had  every confidence leading  up to the game that they  would be able to break  it for several reasons,  including the fact that  it gave West Ham fans  another game to watch  under the lights in the final  season at the Boleyn  Ground.

But whether they have  or they haven’t, the fact  West Ham United gave  permission to the Ladies  to use the Boleyn in  the first place speaks  volumes to someone on  the outside for how the  Ladies are seen in the  men’s club hierarchy.

It’s also testament to  the drive, determination  and enthusiasm of the  club’s two chairmen,  in particularly Stephen  Hunt. Ever since they  arrived at the club,  the focus has been on  transforming the Ladies  with a focus on getting  them into the Women’s  Super League by 2017.

Is this game at the home  of West Ham United a  sign of things to come?  Will there be chances to  see the Ladies playing at  the Olympic Stadium? It  looks promising, even if  the results on the pitch  haven’t been.

This season was always  going to be a transition.  Players have left,  including a few senior  players such as Stacey  Little, new recruits have  been brought in, and  youngsters have been  promoted into the first  team.

The results have  reflected the journey the  club is on — last month’s  hammerings against  Blackburn, Charlton
and Coventry were key  examples — but the bigger  picture of what the  future could hold for the  Ladies must stay in the  forefront of the minds of  the players, coaches and  everyone else associated  with the club.

It’s going to be very interesting  to see how this  month’s clash against  Spurs impacts the Ladies’  attendances for the  remainder of the season,  and into next season.

No doubt there will be  plenty of young girls in  the stadium — possibly  experiencing their first  (and last) live game at  the Boleyn. The Ladies  will be seen as heroes  with some of the youngsters  walking away from  the game dreaming of  perhaps one day playing  for the West Ham  Ladies.

Whether or not this  will translate in them  wanting to pitch up  come rain, wind or sun  every Sunday to watch
the latest Ladies league  game remains to be  seen, but the club cannot  be faulted for doing  everything in its power  to appeal to the West  Ham community and  position itself as another  avenue for supporters to  enjoy another XI proud  to wear the badge.

I’d personally like to  see the Ladies get the  chance to play after the  men – something that  happens on a regular basis  at Twickenham after  England men’s play.

We’ve always enjoyed  a wonderfully successful  and positive relationship  with the club even during  the rough times and  look forward to continuing  our coverage of the  West Ham Ladies.

We  will continue to report  independently and ask  the awkward questions,  but we will never be negative,  we will continue  to support them, and  we envisage being able  to report on more highs  than lows over the next  four seasons.

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