Date: 19th February 2008 at 6:02pm
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Vital Villa gives a brief history of the Aston Villa Ladies F.C. courtesy of Vital member Meyouldy!

Aston Villa Ladies Football Club was formed in 1973 as Solihull FC. In 1989 Solihull responded to an advert from Aston Villa FC for help in forming a ladies team “Villa Aztecs”. In 1996 the Club agreed to change its name again becoming fully recognised as the ladies team representing Aston Villa. Two year’s later the Senior Team won promotion to the National Division of the FA Women’s Premier League. Sadly they were ill prepared for this and were relegated back to the Northern Prem the following season.

With lack of investment and constant changes of management this is sadly where they have stayed, more than once fortunately avoiding relegation. Andy Mulligan who has agreed to continue in this role next season now manages the team. The club hope this will bring a little stability and have agreed a 3-year plan with Andy to attempt once again to reach the dizzy heights of the National Premier league. This will be no easy task as despite being a big draw for fans and players the Aston Villa name definitely works against them when it comes to attracting sponsorship from elsewhere!

People are under the misconception that because they use the Villa name they are fully supported and financed by the club. Support from Aston Villa FC amounts to approx £20,000 this year in the form of kit and training venue, nothing last year and approx £25,000 per year the previous 3 years. This can be compared with Charlton 1.5m last year, (sadly did fold earlier this year when men’s club ceased funding although now reformed) Arsenal Ladies, although no official figures are available is believed to be part financed by an agreement David Dein and Wenger drew up with the pro players, that they contribute a very small percentage of their salaries to the ladies club amounting to a tidy sum.

Even Smaller pro clubs, Lincoln City support their ladies club to a reported tune of £100,000. Not surprising that these teams retain their better players by covering their expenses and are Premier league or in the case of Lincoln fighting for promotion.

Aston Villa Girls FC has moved forward with talented girls coached from under 10 to under 16’s. Running a Centre of Excellence funded by the FA and a development squad at most age groups, which is self-funded and offers girls who would have nowhere else to go the opportunity to play competitive football in a Villa Shirt.

At least 4 juniors have been recognised by England and attend England training camps. Despite not being able to produce results for CoE (ridiculous FA rules), we have one of the most successful in the country. This is thanks in many ways to the current CoE director, Martin Harrison, and the professional way in which he looks after his coaches and players alike. Martin has been asked to commit to the role next season but is yet to confirm this will be the case. Aston Villa girls would love to retain his services.

All members of AVLFC committee are unpaid volunteers. All coaches in the development squads claim minor expenses (£5 p/w) and CoE coaches are funded by money attained from the FA.

In the future, Vital Villa will be keeping a tabs on the performances of the Aston Villa Ladies Football Club, results, reports, interviews and much more.

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