National Award Brings Ewe Rams WSL Dream Closer To Fruition
Last weekend Derby County Ladies FC were formally recognised as the best operated club outside of the Women's Super League (WSL ) when they were named Premier League Club Of The Year at the annual Women's FA Awards held at Wembley Stadium.
The award was made at the prestigious annual FA Women's Awards at Wembley Stadium and is seen as the latest chapter of success as the club looks to take the final step to joining the games elite within the Women's Super League (WSL).
Shortlisted clubs were judged on five criteria ;- On the field success, engaging with the local business community, club structure, profile and media footprint and community projects, and Club Chief Executive, Duncan Gibb feels that its award to Derby was fully justified.
" To take that final step from Premier to Super league, clubs currently have to not only win the league, but also prove that they tick all the boxes off the field. Derby County has worked tirelessly across a number of fronts over the past few seasons as we look to move from being a Premier League ' also ran' to a title challenging side with a WSL off the field set up firmly in place.
In terms of on the field success this year, at the time of making our submission our first team had won 19 out of 26 games in 2015, representing a 73% win ratio. Beneath that level we appointed an Academy Director to oversee our nine junior sides, most of whom are competing for league titles and cups at their respective age levels at regional level.
The local business community have really taken to both our development to date and aspirations and as a result we have increased external investment by nearly fourteen times over the past two years, growing our club partner base to 36. In terms of structure we have moved from a simple committee to a club board of directors all with specific roles aimed at strengthening the club both on and off the pitch.
Our media footprint and profile growth has been equally staggering, and our dedicated weekly columns in the main two local papers, programme slot on BBC Radio Derby and regular feature in the national media have done wonders for the club in terms of raising awareness of the club. In terms of community engagement projects, the club embraces its ambassadorial role through children's hospital visits, attendance to community events and our hugely successful schools football festival, that featured 47 local schools earlier this year.
In winning this award, the FA are to all intents and purposes saying that our off the field ducks are all lined up. The key for us is to build on that and look to match these achievements on the field. That is coming along nicely and if the two come together then Rams fans will be able to enjoy their ladies side competing with the games elite and their household name players "
This weekend the club will be very much hoping that it is third time lucky as they endeavour to play their twice postponed Premier League Cup home tie with Sporting Albion FC. The first game was called off due to a waterlogged pitch, while the game was called off again last weekend when the clubs Borrowash Victoria home ground was deemed unfit following strong winds the day before.
Whilst the club will be hoping to progress in the League Cup competition they have been handed a testing FA Cup 2nd round tie away to Premier league title rivals, Preston North End.