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Football clubs in the Grantham area hope that the Lionesses' success will ramp up local interest in the sport for girls



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Local football clubs are hoping to boost the sport’s profile to girls of all ages following the inspirational success of the Lionesses on Sunday at the Euro 2022 Final.

Hosts England sent a record 87,192 Wembley crowd into dreamland as they won their first major title by beating Germany in extra time.

Thousands of grassroots and amateur sides were set up or expanded following the success of the Women’s World Cup in 2019, resulting in an increase of interest from girls all across the country.

England celebrate winning the Women's Euros with Maidstone-born forward Alessia Russo front row, second from left. MUST CREDIT Picture: PA Images / Jonathan Brady (58378901)
England celebrate winning the Women's Euros with Maidstone-born forward Alessia Russo front row, second from left. MUST CREDIT Picture: PA Images / Jonathan Brady (58378901)

It is hoped the 2-1 win over Germany at Wembley will now now give a springboard that will see a surge of girls and women wanting to be part of the action.

One local club that is keen to see support for the girls grow is Ancaster Athletic.

With 19 girls of varying ages signed up and actively playing the club couldn’t be prouder. Admittedly, the club has a long way to go to have a full team to enter into leagues, but it is working hard with local schools to encourage girls into the sport.

Colin Blankley, chairman of Ancaster Athletic, said: “Our girls love playing, and we would be delighted to have a full team.

"Unfortunately, at the moment they are all different ages so they play age appropriately mixed with the boys, but wouldn’t it be great if they could have their own identity as a team?

“The Lionesses are fantastic and are certainly ramping up interest, but the reality is that this is going to be a long journey to change perceptions and get enough girls into the sport.

“There is still a lean towards gymnastics and ballet amongst parents who still consider activities more traditionally associated with girls, but yes, we are seeing some change, and hopefully we can encourage more girls to join us here at Ancaster as they see what the Lionesses have achieved and watch more games live and on TV.”

Another local team hoping to see just that is Harrowby United. The ‘Arrows’ as they are known hope to welcome girls to the club, saying: “Unfortunately, we have tried a few years’ ago, but couldn’t get the interest, but we are supporting the Lionesses all the way.”

Sport England said it was hard to tell exactly how big a boost the Euros had given to grassroots football, since numbers were still recovering after the onset of the Covid pandemic, but 460,000 more women started playing football after the World Cup in 2019 and the body has tried to “get ahead of the game” by announcing £1m in funding for adult recreational football last year.

Women’s football has come home - let us hope it gets kicked into Grantham.



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