It is one of the biggest games in the 33-year history of Huddersfield Town Women FC and it could be huge for the growth of women’s football in the town.
The Terriers take on Super League side Everton in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup fourth round on Sunday January 30 in a game switched to the John Smith’s Stadium.
A record attendance is expected and club officials hope the crowd will be swelled by families coming out to watch women’s football for the first time.
Women’s football has grown in popularity and now receives more coverage than ever before on TV and in the media and Town chair Alison Bamforth believes it is the perfect opportunity to market women’s football across the town.
Formed in 1988 Town Women has risen through the leagues and now finds itself playing in FA Women’s National League North Premier Division. That’s step three of the women’s football league pyramid. It is also two steps down from Sunday’s top flight opponents Everton.
On what it means for the women’s game locally and the club in general Bamforth said: “This game is a significant step in how our club is perceived in the town and we are hoping the marketing around this game will leave a long-standing positive effect on the community.
“We are eager to inspire young girls to get into the sport and we want to create the next generation of Town Women players and fans. This sort of platform gives us the opportunity and we want to grasp it.
“The game itself, of course, will be great but there is also that bigger picture. As a club we must give thanks to Huddersfield Town’s operations director Ann Hough who is a fantastic supporter of ours and has really given us a lot of backing to make this happen.”
Town Women have only played at the stadium once before. That was back in January 2020 against Ipswich Town, again in the FA Cup. The team lost 4-1 that day in front of 1,115 fans, the biggest gate in the club’s history. Bamforth and her current team are looking to beat that attendance record on Sunday.
“It was great we got so many people to come and watch us that day,” said Bamforth. “However, I am always looking to improve and we are wanting to beat that this time around.
“The people that operate the stadium have opened the whole lower tier of the Core Stand/Riverside which I believe holds 4,000 seats. Why not aim for that? Let’s be ultra positive – it would be amazing to achieve that – but just beating the Ipswich attendance would be good.”
Manager Glen Preston is looking forward to the tie and his responsibility is more about what happens on the field than off it.
He said: “I know Alison will be proud of the club on Sunday, as will I. It will be one of, if not the biggest, game in the club’s history and it’s my task to come up with a plan to try and win it.”
Preston will be coming up against Everton boss Jean-Luc Vasseur and England superstar striker Toni Duggan. However he says he isn’t nervous and is prepared for the challenge.
“I have watched all of their games in full and so have done lots of research into them to get my players ready for what will be a huge task.
“Although it looks like only two levels difference, believe me, it is more than that. They have a full-time professionally fully paid-up squad training in some brilliant facilities.
“Our players play for nothing and all have full-time jobs, so the difference is huge. That’s not to say we can’t win and this is, of course, the FA Cup and anything can happen.
“Playing at the stadium is a huge opportunity for our club and the impact we can make on people locally, hopefully helping to inspire new fans and players.”
You can pay on the day at the turnstiles. It’s £5 for adults, £3 for concessions and all accompanying under 16s go in free. The game kicks off at 1pm.
READ MORE: Huddersfield Town Women FC are having a brilliant season so far – catch up HERE