George Parris: ‘The growth of the women’s game has been fantastic’

It’s been great to see West Ham’s women’s team enjoying their first-ever season in the FA Women’s Super League. This month there has also been excitement about their FA Cup semi-final against Reading.

There’s a lot more respect for the women’s game now and more people are coming out to watch the first team games. I saw there were 865 people for the West Ham women’s game against Huddersfield in February which is a great number.

I have been at Brighton & Hove Albion Women for nearly seven years and I’ve seen the women’s game change massively in that time. The biggest change has been that the first teams, here at Brighton and at West Ham, are full time.

Financially it’s not the same as the men’s game but it’s certainly improved as has the integration of the women’s side into the main club. There are, however, still people who know about women’s football but haven’t actually watched a game live. I think if they did, they’d be very impressed – especially with the standard in the top flight of women’s football.

There was a huge increase of interest after the last World Cup and this year’s could be even better if England do as well as they are hoping to.

Everton was a blip

It might have looked like most of our players were already on the beach during our game against Everton at the end of last month but I can assure you they weren’t.

There were just too many players whose performances were below what they needed to be on that day. It happens.

In the Premier League you need seven or eight players performing well to stand a chance – we had too many passengers. But they weren’t already on the beach. They will be wanting to get results right up to the end of the season.

The only good thing about the Everton game was that we didn’t lose by more and for that we have, once again, Lukasz Fabianski to thank.

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