The Future

Looking forward after relegation and hoping club honours word to allow access to facilities

Louise Quinn’s Birmgingham City suffered the drop to the Championship earlier this month.

BIRMINGHAM CITY’S LOUISE Quinn says this season was a difficult experience for her side, as they suffered relegation from the Women’s Super League while also encountering challenges in relation to facilities.

2232080 Sportsfile Republic of Ireland's Louise Quinn. Sportsfile

The Blues had been the basement side for much of the season, and their drop to the Championship was confirmed after losing 6-0 to Manchester City earlier this month. Along with Quinn, there are six other Irish players on the books at Birmingham with Jamie Finn, Harriet Scott, Lucy Quinn, Eleanor Ryan Doyle, Emily Whelan and Marie Hourihan all plying their trade there.

Quinn says that losing their top-tier status is a painful blow, but stresses that there were some encouraging moments for Birmingham to look back on this season.

“It was a long end to the season but I think some of those performances towards the end of the season were some of our best games. We nicked that draw from Chelsea, obviously a very harsh penalty.

“And to have three games in the last week of the season, and two of those to be [against] Chelsea and Man City was a really tough ask. And then to finish how we did in the second city derby and getting the win over Aston Villa brought a bit of satisfaction and joy to the fans of the club.

“But it was extremely difficult, but it was easy to go to work everyday because the training was still intense. We were working hard and trying to figure everything out, and then sometimes you’re put against some quality teams and you’re just trying to push through. It just wasn’t to be for us, it was a tough ask right from the start to be honest.”

The coming weeks will bring some down time for Quinn, as she prepares to take some time off before linking up with the Ireland team to resume their World Cup qualification campaign. Vera Pauw’s side will travel to face Georgia on 27 June.

She has one year left on her contract with the Blues, and has engaged in some positive talks with the club about the future. Returning to the WSL is the main objective to aim for, but Quinn hopes that Birmingham City addresses other issues regarding facilities next season too.

“I’ve been chatting to Darren Carter, the manager, and the club, and hopefully it is their intention to want to bring the club straight back up to the WSL, and hopefully the club are true to their word in terms of backing us up in terms of facilities that we can use in the club.

“That was something we struggled with at the start of the season, with the younger teams having priority over us, and the quality of the pitches needed to be better.

“Just the backing in general. I feel if they can provide that, I would want to stay with Blues. But for me now, it’s just time to kind of switch off and let that season settle. But it would be a great challenge to be in the Championship and like Niamh Fahey with Liverpool, get them promoted again.”

manchester-city-v-birmingham-city-barclays-fa-womens-super-league-city-football-academy PA Ireland's Harriet Scott and Louise Quinn after Birmingham City's loss to Man City. PA

Elaborating on this problem, Quinn adds that some of the issues were corrected in the final stages of this season which in turn resulted in better performances from the side. She believes that some further improvements could make a huge a difference next season.

“We’re all at the same Blues training ground, but there are a lot of different pitches, and the pitches we were given just weren’t up to a standard that we needed to be at. That’s something that’s been spoken about at Blues. The girls from last year and the year before have tried to really put their foot down and change things in the club.

“So, there was definite improvement from last season to this season but just the quality needed a makeover. I’d probably even say that from the men’s perspective, their pitches need a bit of a do-up as well.

“But it was a struggle from the start and once we got Darren Carter, he’s a Blues legend and a man of his word. He’s determined to stamp his authority in women’s football, but then also especially for Birmingham where he’s born and bred. He has really stepped up to the mark and has made sure in trying to get the best that we can get.

“I think it showed towards the end of the season in our performances that we were training on better quality pitches, and not having to hang around the training ground all day to try and link in the gym with a pitch session, to get lunch and do this, that and the other.

“It was definitely a smoother run in, and it’s something now that the club are hopefully seeing, and there are people in the right places that want to back and support the women’s side of the club.”

The SPAR FAI Primary School 5s National Finals took place in AVIVA Stadium on Tuesday, 17 May, where Republic of Ireland’s Louise Quinn was in attendance as girls and boys from 28 schools took to the field in a day that they will never forget. 

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