Amanda Staveley reveals Newcastle's plan to turn women's team professional
Newcastle United director Amanda Staveley has confirmed the club’s intention to pay its women’s team ‘as professionals’ as they eye a rapid rise up the league pyramid towards the WSL.
Newcastle are currently in the Women’s National League Division One North, a regional fourth tier of women’s football in England, competing alongside the likes of Stockport County.
But as well as hoping to rival Manchester City and Manchester United in the Premier League on the men’s side of things, Staveley has similar ambitions to oversee a thriving women’s team.
It will start with investment in the club’s existing players, with the Magpies to pay their squad to be full-time professional players. The ability to train full-time in a professional environment will be an immediate boost at a level where other clubs are only part-time.
Currently, the WSL is the only fully professional women’s league in Europe, but individual clubs lower down the league pyramid have been known to turn pro and invest in order to speed up their ascent into the top flight – including Manchester United and Leicester.
Staveley also wants to introduce the women’s team to the crowd on a matchday at St James’ Park as soon as possible in the coming months, as well as playing a match at the 52,000-seat stadium.
“I’d like them to have a race up the league against the men!” she told The Athletic.
“We’re hoping they’ll do a walk-on at St James’ before the end of the season and we want them to play a match there, too. We want a financial plan that takes them through the next few years. We have to pay them as professionals. That’s a big thing.”
Staveley had previously confirmed the club’s ‘wholehearted commitment to women's and girls’ football' soon after the Saudi Arabian-backed takeover was completed in the autumn.
Newcastle would need to be promoted three times, rising through the Women’s National League and Women’s Championship, in order to reach the top flight WSL.
At present, the Magpies are locked in a promotion battle with Liverpool Feds. At the earliest, they could be in the WSL in time for the 2024/25 season with three successive promotions, which could be possible with the right level of funding and investment.
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