Stephen Gill – My Season Review 2023-2024

It is never easy being a Blues fan yet again Blues Women have failed to get promotion back into the WSL and to be fair we never look likely to yes, there was some good moments beating Sunderland before the Christmas break and beating West Ham in the Conti Cup was some of the highlights but losing eight games in a twenty two game season is not good enough .

From the somewhat highs from the season before going on a magnificent seven and beating the champions Bristol City on the last day of the season and losing out by a point I couldn’t wait to support the girls in blue again . But on the 22nd of June 2023 are assistant Jo Potter left Blues to become head coach at Rangers and what a job she has done having an 85.71 percentage win record in her second job is really sensational. Jo was replaced by another former Blues player in Emily Simpkins who left Charlton to become Assistant Coach to Darren Carter on the 20th of August.

At the end of the season Darren said that he wanted to have a fast start to the season not another slow start and with the new ownership of Knighthead completing the purchase of Blues on the 13th of July . And with Tom Wagner wanting to grow the women’s team brought in Matt Alvarez and also brought in England Women’s football legend Hope Powell CBE on the 20th of July. And with the contact extensions of Martha Harris Christie Harrison-Murray Libby Smith and of course the Barclays women’s player of the year super Jade Pennock Blues mean business . The Blues

 also brought in Kate Dungate, Charlotte Clarke, Lily Agg, Neve Herron, Ellie Mason and getting former loanee Charlie Devlin on a permeant deal after leaving Leicester City on a free. Also, they brought in former players Jade Moore & Remi Allen and also Blues broke the club transfer record to bring in Ivanna Fuso from Manchester United . And on deadline day their brought in South Korean Internationals  Cho So-Hyun & Choe Yu-Ri

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 

The pressure was on for Darren to get us over the line and there were no excuses this time but yet again we started slower not picking up a point in the first four games losing to Blackburn on the opening day of the season 1-0 from a Meg Hornby goal just after the break. 

Are first home game against Crystal Palace didn’t go to plan either losing 1-2 under the new stewardship of Laura Kaminski replacing Dean Davenport goals from Aimee Everett 11 minutes from time and a debut goal from Araya Dennis got the eagles the win a big Lou constellation goal got Blues of the mark in the goal scoring chat. 

After that was a disappointing draw away to Lewes with the only bright spark with Ellie Mason last minute shot was brilliantly saved from Sophie Whitehouse. 

After that it was are second home game against Karen Hills Charlton Athletic and yet again it ended up in defeat when Lucy Thomas made a huge mistake and gave Charlton a penalty up stepped Kayleigh Green and put it past Thomas. 

OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 

At the fifth time of asking on the first of October Blues finally got their first win of the season at the snow’s stadium when they beat Southampton 1-3 with Libby Smith getting two and an own goal from Rosie Parnell got Blues the win. 

After that we were home against Sunderland the black cats took the lead in the 18th minute with Mary McAteer, but it was cancelled out 12 minutes from time from the Scottish maestro Christie Harrison-Murray.  

Then we lost are first game in the Conti Cup to Brighton 0-3 . 

But responded brilliantly with a 0-4 win over Sheffield United with a thunderbolt from Martha Harris . 

The girls were finally getting their mojo back with a brilliant win over newly promoted Watford, winning 5-2 with Ivanna Fuso getting her first for the club. 

Then another win at St Andrews when we beat relegated WSL side Reading with Charlie Devlin getting two cracking goals . 

Then it was a trip to Princes Park to face a team we have never beat until now, a Gemma Lawley header in the 4th minute got us all three points against London City Lionesses . 

Are final home game of 2023 being a 3-1 win over Durham with Jade Pennock getting her first for the season with Fuso and Allen getting the other two former Blues player Eleanor Ryan-Doyle got the goal for Durham. 

DECEMBER 

Then it was another loss in the Conti Cup against Charlton 1-0. 

Then we beat a gutsy MK Dons side in the FA Cup with Yuri getting her first goal in Blue with Ivanna finishing the game off. 

Then came the performance of the season going up to the black cats and beating them 0-3 with goals from Agg a Westrup own goal and rounding it all of Jade Moore but the game came at a cost when Jade Pennock strained her hamstring . Blues finished top of the table at the break.

JANUARY – FEBRUARY 

Blues didn’t make any further signings in the January window.

The first game back was extra time win over Burnley in the FA Cup which I have to mention with one of the best goalkeeping performances I ever seen from the former Everton & Leicester City goalkeeper Kirstie Levell . 

Blues won the game 1-3 with goals from Smith and two goals in extra time from Walker, her first of the season, and Jade Moore.

A few days later another one of the highlights of the season when we beat WSL side West Ham United in are last Conti Cup game goals from Agg and another rocket from Harris got us off the mark in the cup.

A few days day later a first home league game of 2024 when London City Lionesses came to town, and we didn’t have to wait long to see Cho scoring a cracker her first for the club .

But when there was hope there was a downfall and when we went to Watford expecting three points on the run, we were on the hornets stung us in the back side. Substitute Michelle Agyemang scoring twice in eight minutes to give Blues their first defeat of 2024.

Then on the 10th of February Blues were knocked out of the FA Cup to Leicester City 6-2 although we took the lead.

Then it was another defeat this time at home to Marieanne Spacey Southampton side Blues took the lead on the fifth minute from Fuso but just on the stroke of half time Lucy Thomas gave the ball away and it ended up with Molly Pike and hit into the top corner. And former blues player Katie Wilkinson got the winner for the saints twenty minutes from time.

MARCH – APRIL

Blues like the season before where on a down fall and needed to start winning games fast but then came a poor showing against Blackburn Rovers drawing 0-0 which was nothing to write home about .

But are game in hand against Reading got us going again with a player of the match performance from Lily Agg scoring two and setting one up . In a 0-4 victory with also two more academy players playing for the first time in Riya Mannu & Millie Pullen coming on late on in the game, a great moment for those two.

Blues return to St Andrews on the 24th beating Lewes with a great goal from Devlin and Walker her first league goal of the season and you can see what it means to her. But that wasn’t what everybody was talking about this game was the return of Shiv Wilson almost a year out with an ACL injury an emotionally moment for the Jamaican International .

Blues needed the miracles of all miracles with to get promoted but on Sunday 31st of March all hopes were over when we went to the Valley and lost 3-1 to Charlton Athletic everything that did went wrong went wrong from Muya goal charging down Thomas to the own goal and Thomas again giving the ball away to Katie Longhurst in the 92nd who chipped it over her to confirm Blues will stay in the championship . 

On the 11th of April Darren Carter left Blues to pursue other opportunities . His record at Blues Overall he had 67 games he had 52%-win rate and a 39% loss rate.

Emily Simpkins filled in for the game against Crystal Palace which we lost 1-0.

On the 15th of April Blues appointed Amy Merricks on a three year deal she spent eight and a half years at Brighton and was England Under 19s coach before she moved to St Andrews .

Amy’s first game in charge was Infront of a record crowd of 3,101 as we beat Sheffield United 1-0 with a Lily Agg cool finish passed former Blues Goalkeeper Fran Stenson .

Amy’s last game in charge of this season was a disappointing 1-0 loss to Durham with a Sarah Wilson header that won the game for the wildcats. But on a positive Jade Pennock made her start in four months.

Overall Blues season ended we finished fifth winning eleven drawing three and losing eight scoring thirty three and conceding nineteen.

MY THOUGHTS ON THE SEASON

Again, it’s another season in what could have been yes, there have been some good moments with the wins over West Ham & Sunderland, but the bottom line is that we failed are objective to the season I think the decision to keep Darren on was wrong in my view it should happened in the summer to start of fresh and bring in their own person . Also like the season before I was worried that we would drop points after the Xmas period would be key for us and after that Watford defeat, I was worrying. Yes, we had injuries but so does everyone else a fifth-place finish was really disappointing with the ambition of the ownership where it is going it’s a bit like the men’s side, we give you what you want to support you on and off the pitch but on the pitch the staff and players need to execute the plans but yet again another slow start we were playing catch up . And also, before I go on congratulations to Crystal Palace and Laura Kaminski and winning the league the best team i seen this year at St Andrews and good luck in the WSL. For Blues and Amy, I think there will be changes . We need a recognize striker to help the forward line . We need to keep the likes of Lily Agg and Lucy Thomas i think we need to trim down the squad I think it’s too huge . And give the likes of Louanne Worsley who has been banging in the goals Nottingham Forest Abbi Jenner who i was surprised that she went out on loan and Abi Cowie who is at Forest too.  It definitely going to be an interesting summer under Amy Emily & Hope.

MY AWARDS OF THE SEASON 

Player Of The Season Lily Agg 

Young Player Of The Season Neve Herron 

Goal Of The Season Martha Harris against Sheffield United

Save Of The Season Thomas save from Alanta Thomas against Sheffield United

Feel Good Moment Of The Season Shiv coming on against Lewes

THANK YOU FROM ME

Just want to thank you again for liking my blogs and sharing them it means a lot i always try to be honest in what i do and i cant wait to get going again for 24/25 season.

SEE YOU NEXT SEASON STEPHEN GILL KRO 

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