Casey Stoney at the Aon Training Complex in 2018.

Two years of Casey Stoney at United Women helm

Monday 08 June 2020 12:26

Manchester United Women's debut season in the Women's Super League was formally concluded on 5 June, bringing Casey Stoney's second campaign as manager to a close.

The United Women boss has been at the helm since the club was founded in 2018 and in that time, the former England international has overseen a history-making season in the Women's Championship, before a fourth-placed finish in our debut top-flight campaign.

Upon the cancellation of the rest of the 2019/20 season, Stoney said: "We wanted to finish the season, but I do think it was the right decision. I really do, because the health and the safety of our players, staff and everybody at the club has to be a priority at this time.

“I think to finish fourth is positive, but, for this club, we’re always trying to strive for more and be more successful. We had a few little bumps this season where we weren’t maybe as consistent as we needed to be. We’re not far off the top three, we know that based on the margins of the scores, but we need to turn results around and start winning them.”

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Ten days on from United Women being founded, Casey was confirmed as manager, and had the task to draw a squad together for pre-season ahead of our first-ever fixture - a Continental League Cup tie against Liverpool on 19 August 2018.

Upon her announcement as boss, Casey said: “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.”

At Prenton Park, the Reds put on a fine display against WSL opposition, and secured a historic victory, courtesy of an 83rd-minute winner from Lizzie Arnot.

More success was to follow, as United embarked on our Women's Championship campaign in scintillating style, securing a 12-0 away victory against Aston Villa. Six different Reds got on the scoresheet, with Jess Sigsworth netting five, Lauren James and Kirsty Hanson each grabbing a brace, and Katie Zelem, Mollie Green and Ella Toone all notching up a strike.

Despite the incredible scoreline, Casey remained level-headed when she spoke after the match. “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.”

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Our victory in the West Midlands was the start of what would be a campaign to remember for Stoney, the players and the fans. Out of our 20 league matches, United Women won 18, drew one and lost one, en route to promotion with two games to spare.

As well as our success in the league, Stoney's side made it to the semi-finals of the Continental League Cup, dispatching WSL's opponents in Everton and West Ham United along the way, before being knocked out by Arsenal. 

“We set out to win the league. It was always our target," Casey said. "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.”


Ahead of our first season in the top flight, Casey signed seven new players, including Dutch World Cup star, Jackie Groenen, and proven WSL talent in Hayley Ladd, Jane Ross, Mary Earps and Abbie McManus.

The campaign began with two tough assignments, travelling to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City and hosting the reigning champions Arsenal at Leigh Sports Village. After two narrow defeats, which showcased United's capabilities of competing in the top division, Stoney and the Reds recorded our first WSL victory, defeating Liverpool 2-0.

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With two seasons under her belt, and after signing a contract extension with the Reds at the beginning of the 2019/20 season, Casey is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead going into her third term in charge.

“I can’t wait,” the manager said. “I love football and I’ve missed it. I’ve missed being on the grass with my players and coaching and developing the team. I’m excited to see what the squad’s going to look like. I’m excited to test ourselves again in this league. When we get people back in the terraces watching, I can’t wait to see our fans and hear them singing again. Hopefully, we can show what we’re capable of next year.”