Alex Morgan’s loan stint at Tottenham Hotspur Women was more about fitness than a real desire to make Spurs into WSL contenders. She leaves the club and returns to the Orlando Pride in the NWSL with only a handful of appearances in three months of training and two goals, both from the penalty spot.
However, it appears she’s left a more lasting legacy behind the scenes. It seems she’s the reason why Spurs Women are now training full time at Tottenham’s top of the line training facility.
The rumor, which we first saw on Reddit, was that Morgan arrived and saw that Spurs were training at The Hive, the stadium in Edgware where they play their home matches, instead of the sparkling new and high tech training facility that Morgan visited a couple of years ago with the US Women’s National Team ahead of the World Cup. The story goes that she immediately went to Daniel Levy and threatened to expose this fact to her millions of social media followers unless the club allowed the Women to train at Hotspur Way full time, and Levy relented.
It seemed a little fishy at the time, one of those “wow that’s cool if true” kinds of things.
We find this extremely difficult to believe but if true, WE STAN FOREVER.https://t.co/JPplp5uiH2— Cartilage Free Captain (@cartilagefree) December 21, 2020
But then this floated across my timeline yesterday. In an article posted on Soccer America, OL Reign player Jess Fishlock, herself on loan at Reading Women, basically confirmed the story while talking about the impact that the influx of American women’s soccer stars into the WSL has had on the league.
Alex Morgan: four WSL appearances, two goals (both PKs) for Spurs but an “everlasting” influence on the English women’s game. pic.twitter.com/H2QD0eMHEd— Paul Kennedy (@pkedit) December 23, 2020
I’m torn between two impulses here. The first is gratitude to Morgan for throwing her weight around and causing actual lasting change on the women’s game. Morgan is used to higher qualities of professionalism and facilities in the United States compared to the UK.
But it’s not really about gratitude, is it? And that’s the second impulse. As Fishlock puts it, it’s not about being thankful to Spurs for allowing the Women to train at the new men’s facility, it’s the expectation that the women’s clubs should be afforded the same “basic standards” that they offer the men’s side. So I’m also angry that it took Morgan, who’s only here for a few months, to basically shame the club into letting the Women train in the same facilities that the men do.
But that anger is already passing. Spurs ultimately did the right thing, and it seems we have Morgan to thank for it. As far as I’m concerned, despite the marginal on-field returns during her short loan, she’ll always a Tottenham Woman player for life.