Opinion: Why Leigh Sports Village is so special

Saturday 01 April 2023 10:55

Whether in a work capacity or for his own pleasure, football writer and United Women match programme contributor Jamie Spencer can’t get enough of watching Marc Skinner’s Reds these days, and here he tells us why he never wants to miss a trip to Leigh Sports Village…

A massive part of football is the atmosphere and energy in the stadium and I think Leigh Sports Village is the best place to experience that anywhere in the WSL. As a stadium, it’s perfect for the team. United Women are consistently bringing in some of the league’s biggest crowds already, making it a truly great place to watch football.

The Old Trafford games, like we saw last weekend as we beat West Ham, are wonderful occasions for the fans, players and staff alike, as well as being a great opportunity to introduce new supporters to the women’s team.

But when it comes to that real matchday buzz, with the atmosphere, the connection and the closeness between the fans and the players, it’s difficult to beat a bouncing LSV in the women’s game.

United players love it and away teams often find it so tough because the fans make it a proper fortress, which you don’t get at too many other WSL grounds – you’ve only got to look at the attendances across the division to see that.

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The crowd at LSV is like a family, its own community. You will see the same faces week after week and friendships for life are made in those stands, which is great to see. Whatever your age, everyone is always welcomed with open arms.

The ‘Barmy Army’ singing section, so adored by the team for their vocal and loyal support, even has a songbook and pretty much every player has a super catchy chant – once you hear ‘Super Leah Galton’ it is guaranteed to be your ear worm for the next week! Ella Toone often calls it ‘our home’.

Mary Earps barks instructions so loud to the defenders in front of her because otherwise they won’t hear her over the noise, and Leah Galton says she gets goosebumps when she emerges from the tunnel and sees fans in all four stands, motivating her to play even harder.

This season, the biggest games against Chelsea and Liverpool have seen such high demand for tickets that every stand has been opened, completely surrounding the pitch.

The same will be true for the upcoming Arsenal game, as well as the Manchester derby in May – the final home game of the season. With so much riding on these games, the fans will play a huge role as the 12th player as they roar the team on.

As Manchester United Women, and the women’s game in general, continue to grow at speed, how incredible it would be to start seeing all four stands open at every game in 2023/24 and beyond – for up to 10,000 supporters to be part of it for every game. When it comes to United taking the next step, that has to be part of it.

The opinions in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Manchester United Football Club.


On Friday, the club launched its women team’s season-tickets sales process for next season.

Current season-ticket holders have been informed that they have until 18:00 BST on Friday 5 May to renew for next season.

Prices will be increased for the upcoming campaign for the first time since the team was formed in 2018. This rise reflects increased operating and energy costs at Leigh Sports Village, as well as helping ensure the club can continue to compete in all competitions on a consistent basis.

More information can be found here.