2018/2019 was an incredible season for West Ham United Women on and off the field but attentions are now swiftly turning to the 2019/2020 campaign as pre-season begins.
Last term, the team enjoyed a stunning first season as a professional side, reaching the final of the FA Women’s Cup and getting to play at Wembley Stadium and even becoming the star’s of a BBC reality TV show.
But their biggest and most important achievement of all was surely what they were able to pull off in their first-ever taste of the highest level of women’s football in England, the FA Women’s Super League 1.
Entering it not knowing whether they had what it takes to stay up and not get relegated to WSL 2 let alone put in a decent bid for some of the higher positions, Matt Beard’s girls were able to collect a highly impressive 23 points.
This was enough for seventh place and a finish above the likes of Liverpool and Everton, ending up just four points behind Reading Women in fifth place.
A huge factor that helped the Hammers stay comfortably clear of the relegation zone for the bulk of the term was the early-season points they were able to pick up against sides such as Reading, Yeovil Town and the Toffees.
That’s why everyone at Rush Green would have been relieved when they saw the WSL fixtures for the ’19/20 campaign, which were announced on Wednesday morning – there’s a great chance for this West Ham team to get early points on the board once again.
The club’s second season as pros may start in the trickiest fashion possible, with a trip to reigning WSL 1 champions Arsenal, but things soon improve.
Birmingham City, a team they almost beat at home last time out and will be confident as they were hampered by a cup run back then, await next up on home soil before the newly-promoted Tottenham Hotspur pay Romford a visit in a highly-anticipated London derby.
Then it’s Brighton & Hove Albion, a side they finished comfortably above last term, in the second away outing of the season and it will be Sunday 24 October before they’ll have to clash with another top-four outfit, at home to Chelsea.
It will be imperative that if West Ham aren’t going to suffer with second season syndrome in the dizzy heights of WSL 1, they take advantage of these early opportunities to get results in the bag.
If they can, Beard’s side could find themselves fighting for the top four rather than the top six next season.