Tottenham Hotspur Women has been under the care of manager Karen Hills for a decade now. During that time she has led the club from the fourth division of English women’s football to the top flight, and has won two “trebles” in the past three seasons.
But none of that has been as significant as helping to shepherd Spurs into the top flight of English football for the first time in club history and turning the club into a fully professional side. Spurs finished second in the FA Women’s Championship this season behind the fully professional Manchester United Women, clinching promotion just ahead of Durham Women, who they played in the last match of the season.
Now, the League Manager’s Association (LMA) has rewarded Hills for her achievement this season by naming her the 2018-19 FAWC Manager of the Season.
On Spurs Women’s website, Hills shared the credit with first team coach Juan Amoros, her right-hand man.
“I’m thrilled, proud, all of those emotions. It’s been an absolute dream for the last 10 seasons, gaining three promotions and working our way up to the top level. The London Cup was the first trophy back in 2012, that was the breakthrough for us and the last four seasons have been special - sometimes I have to pinch myself! It’s been an amazing journey and I’m extremely privileged to have worked with so many incredible people.
“Juan Amoros (Head Coach) has been there every step of the way and is very much as big a part of this success as me. It has been a massive team effort from all the players and the staff. Now it’s a whole new world. Go back a few years and we always wanted to pit ourselves against the best teams in the FA Cup. That was the dream back then, every season. We played Notts County, Arsenal, then Manchester City this season, all great experiences and now we’re lining up against the very best in the Super League.”
The challenge is now to retool the squad to be able to compete with the likes of the very best teams in England. It’s an enormous undertaking — despite a wonderful season Spurs are still significantly behind the best clubs in the Women’s Super League, and like most promoted teams expectations should be tempered, at least initially.
However, Tottenham Hotspur Women are one of the success stories in English women’s football over the past few years, and they’ve done it without significant financial backing. That is a credit to the coaching of Hills and Amoros, and her Manager of the Year award is well earned.