Beth Mead slams decision by non-league club to axe women's teams

  • Teesside-based Thornaby FC voted to continue without its six female teams
  • Over 100 players affected by club's decision
  • A handful of leading players have publicly criticised the move
Beth Mead slams "disgusting" decision to drop over 100 players
Beth Mead slams "disgusting" decision to drop over 100 players / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

England and Arsenal forward Beth Mead has described the decision of a non-league club on Teesside to axe all of their women's teams as "disgusting".

Thornaby FC’s committee announced on Sunday that it had voted to disband their women's teams after a "difficult year" and that progressing "without the women" was the only way the club could continue to operate.

The move will leave over 100 players without a club, disbanding a setup that includes Under-7s, Under-8s, Under-10s, Under-11s, Under-15s and the senior women's team.

First team manager Abbey Lyle said the club's players had been "floored" by the decision, and the move was quickly condemned by England international Mead, who two years ago was announced as McDonald's Fun Football ambassador in order to help launch more grassroots sessions for young girls.

Writing on social media, the 29-year-old posted of the decision: "The women’s game is on the up but we still have committees making these horrible decisions.

"It’s not good enough, these young girls deserve better.”

Mead offered to send the team a signed England shirt to help "keep them inspired", and her messages of support were quickly echoed by Tottenham Hotspur captain Bethany England and Aston Villa's Scottish international forward Kirsty Hanson.

“The fight for women to keep their place at the table is a never ending battle,” England wrote. "This should not be happening, these womens and girls deserve better!

"My thoughts go out to everyone involved at the club, players, staff and volunteers.

“How can you let this happen as a club?", Hanson added. “Women’s sport is growing, it’s obviously not seen as a priority for some.”

The Grassroots Football Organisation publicly urged "the club to reconsider its position as a matter of urgency", and it has since been confirmed that the six board members who voted to scrap Thornaby FC's women's teams have stepped down from their positions.

Chairman Gary Morris and Phil Genery - the only two to vote in favour of keeping the teams - are now set to form a new diverse board that includes representatives from the women's side.