Casey Stoney: Her story so far with United Women
Manchester United Women’s head coach Casey Stoney has signed a new contract which will keep her at the club until at least 2022.
The 130-cap former England international oversaw promotion from The FA Women’s Championship in 2018/19, in what was the Reds' first season as a professional women’s club.
United have adapted to life in the top flight well, winning three of our five Barclays FA Women’s Super League matches so far. As a new chapter begins, we’ve picked out the six best moments so far for Casey and her side...
8 June 2018 – Appointed as MU Women head coach
Following our successful application to join The FA Women’s Championship, Manchester United Women were founded on 28 May 2018 and Casey was appointed as head coach 10 days later.
“I am delighted to have joined Manchester United. This is the biggest club in the world. The fact that we are going to have a women’s team and I’m going to be able to introduce that from scratch, to build a team, build a philosophy, with the biggest club in the world, means that, for me, there is no more exciting opportunity.”
19 August 2018 – Victory in our first competitive match
Casey quickly set to work building a squad of 21 players, which was announced on 13 July. Just over a month later, the Reds faced our rivals from down the M62, Liverpool, in the FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup. Lizzie Arnot’s 83rd-minute goal clinched a historic victory and United went on to reach the semi-finals of the competition, before being knocked out by Arsenal.
“These girls have put an absolute shift in for six weeks after being thrown together. To go out there and dig deep, to show a bit of character was really pleasing.”
9 September 2018 – Reds rack up a club record win
Three weeks later, United announced our arrival in league football in the grandest of manners. Aston Villa were the unfortunate victims as the Reds stormed to a 12-0 away win, with Jess Sigsworth setting out her stall for the season by scoring five. Buoyed by the remarkable victory, Casey’s side would go on to win seven of their next eight games, although the boss was keen to manage expectations initially.
“I wasn't pleased with the start of the game, I wasn't pleased with the end of the game, I don't think they were either. It's about maintaining our standards and being relentless with everything we do, it's one game of many.”
17 April 2019 – Promotion to the top flight is sealed
The Reds’ only league defeat of the season came at Durham at the beginning of December. After that disappointment, Stoney’s side embarked on a run of 10 consecutive wins to see the season out, with promotion clinched after the seventh of those: a resounding 5-0 home victory against Aston Villa. Three points against nearest rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the end of March had all-but clinched the title, and it was confirmed on 20 April with a 7-0 win over Crystal Palace at a bouncing Leigh Sports Village.
“We set out to win the league. It was always our target. We were always on track, we had a blip against Durham but I have to say, it’s credit to those players, the backroom staff and the support we get at this football club. I couldn’t have achieved it on my own, it’s the hard work by everybody that’s made us get to this point.”
11 May 2019 – United parade the trophy
After an 18th win in 20 games – a 5-0 victory over Lewes – captain Alex Greenwood lifted the Championship trophy in front of a season-high crowd of 3,702 at Leigh Sports Village. The Reds had dominated the division from start to finish, scoring 98 goals and conceding just seven, and Stoney was keen for her players to savour the moment before turning their attention to the top flight.
“I told the players to enjoy this moment because you don't get many of them in football. There are lots of lows and not so many highs, so when you get the highs you enjoy them, you celebrate them together and know that you have worked extremely hard to achieve them.”
28 September 2019 – Reds clinch first top-flight win
After narrow defeats to Manchester City and defending champions Arsenal in our opening two WSL games, Casey’s side got off the mark in the highest division, defeating old rivals Liverpool 2-0 at home courtesy of strikes from teenage star Lauren James and captain Katie Zelem. In recent weeks, we’ve followed the victory up with further league success against Tottenham and Reading, as well as two wins out of two in the League Cup.
“There was a lack of intent in the first half. We spoke about that. It's about making sure we keep our standards really high. If we can match what we had against Man City, we should be better against Liverpool. That's no disrespect to Liverpool, it's just about keeping our standards high.”
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