Pompey Ladies aim to book place among elite

Pompey Ladies boss Vanessa Raynbird
Pompey Ladies boss Vanessa Raynbird
Pompey celebrated Brett Pitman's opening goal against AFC Wimbledon earlier this season

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Ambitious Pompey Ladies are determined not to be left behind in the race to secure Women’s Super League status.

Significant moves off the pitch have already been made to ensure Vanessa Raynbird’s side are fit for national service after the Football Association announced plans to expand the number of teams competing at elite level.

At the moment, only 10 clubs are registered to play in the FA Women’s Super League.

However, under new proposals, that figure will be increased to 20, with the launch of a new second tier by the summer of 2014.

The ‘Game Changer’ plans have created much excitement amongst ladies teams up and down the country, with all interested parties invited to apply.

Pompey Ladies, who play in the Premier League southern division – the best level outside of the Super League – are of no exception and have been working overtime behind the scenes to get their bid in order.

With the deadline for applications (March 4) fast approaching, they have enlisted the support of the University of Chichester to ensure all bases are covered in the strict entry criteria.

And with minimum admission requirements including a club development plan that incorporates a strong business model, £30,000 funds and proof of a sustainable commercial project, a business visioning session will be held at the university tonight in the aim of attracting further support in the bid.

Among those attending will be the Pompey Supporters’ Trust ­– who have given the ladies’ outfit their full support – Pompey in the Community, team chairman David Coyle, treasure Ian Warren and team manager Raynbird.

They are all keen to generate as much support from local businesses or football-minded people as possible, with Raynbird, understandably eager to have her side playing at the highest level.

‘This is a massive ordeal for us and something David and Ian have been working massively on,’ said Raynbird.

‘It’s very exciting as the club is determined to play a part in the FA’s Women’s Super League.

‘But there’s a lot of hard work to do before the deadline and a lot of competition for the places available.

‘Teams from the national division to counties level and university sides are free to apply.

‘And while a team’s ability to be competitive in the new division will be taken into consideration, it’s important that we get our business plan sorted. A new division will replace the national division we are currently in, and rather than drop down to that level, it is important that we get a business plan in place.

‘If we didn’t make it, we’d definitely lose players.

‘At the end of the day, these are good players I have here and they’ll not want to hang around – and I wouldn’t blame them.

‘Saying that, though, they’re so enthusiastic that we succeed and submit our proposal.’

Raynbird encouraged anyone who could back their application or wanted to provide sponsorship to attend tonight’s meeting.

‘We have a meeting tonight at the University of Chichester and local business people or business people with an interest in football are invited to attend,’ she said.

‘The aim is to get as many people on board as possible and have the best possible business plan in place to submit to the FA for the March 4 deadline.

Tonight’s meeting at the University of Chichester Bishop Otter campus starts at 6pm.