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🗨️ Chambers | "Season's end is sad but hoping more matches at the Madejski to look forward to"

Reading FC Women boss reflects on a curtailed campaign but is hoping 2020-21 can be a positive move forward...

28 May 2020

The FA announced an early end to the WSL season on Monday, so Reading FC Women will be without another fixture in 2019-20. But Royals boss Kelly Chambers is clear in her mind that it is now about looking forward and planning for next season - which could see the women's team increase the game time they get on the hallowed turf of Madejski Stadium.

"Of course it's disappointing that the season has been brought to an end early, but I truly think it was the right decision," Chambers said.

"We have to look after the players, the staff and the families that they all might be going home to. And of course we have to look to protect the clubs as well and consider the amount of money it would have cost for us to get football back and get this WSL season completed.

"So now, it's a case of looking forward. Looking to the future and what is next. We start that planning process now, thinking about recruitment, pre-season build-up and of course waiting on more infomation from the FA on when everything is able to start up again.

"So it's important there is no looking back. We will need to reflect on this season of course, but right now it's got to be about next season and what we want to achieve."

With London Irish's tenancy at the Madejski due to end, it is hoped that there will be more opportunity for fans to see the Reading FC Women side in action in the main stadium next season. So hopefully there is plenty to look forward to in 2020-21.

"There's definitely potential to play some more of our games at the Madejski next season, but there's still a lot that needs to happen behind the scenes - things that need to be ironed out, scheduling of all the games. The men's team play at the Madejski of course, then there's the Under-23s that play there a lot, so it's got to fit. It's still a work in progress. 

"But it would be great if we can play more games there and start to build a fanbase in Reading. It will be nice for us as a club to have a fanbase in the heart of the town.

"So it's got potential. And it's definitely exciting that it might be on the cards. And hopefully in the future we can iron the details out and play more of our games in 2020-21 at the Madejski."

But of course all that depends on the path that football forges out of this unprecedented situation. "It's definitely been a challenging time for myself and the players and all the staff," Kelly said.

"It's a situation that is unusual to everybody. The staff and the players have been fantastic and credit to them with how they have taken this difficult time and tried as much as possible to turn it into positives. 

"For me as a coach, I've been making sure I've been in contact with the players on a weekly basis, whether that be individually or collectively as a team. At first that was trying to keep the players on track to - if we were going to return to league action - stay fit enough to do so.

"The difficult thing was the mentality, asking them to keep going, keep going, without anything to aim for, a date to work to.

"But I'm extremely proud of how the girls have applied themselves. And when there have been difficult times, we've supported each other through that - whether they've needed a break or needed to do something different within the programme, we've been able to support the players and we've had a really good dialogue throughout.

"On a personal note I think it has been a fantastic time for family time. It's a time I've been able to share with Harley, my little one, which I haven't done since she was born -  being in the football world you get straight back into the swing of things and everyone knows how busy football can be. So it has been fantastic just to have that time to spend with the family.

"And it has has given me a lot more time than I'm used to, to reflect on things and to get ready for what I want next season to look like and to make sure we have everything set in stone and ready to go for when the players are back in training."


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