Tottenham Hotspur Women will play their first football match under their new manager Rehanne Skinner this Sunday, against Brighton & Hove Albion at The Hive in Edgware. However, starting now, the club will be training at Tottenham’s Hotspur Way complex, the same location as the men’s and youth teams.
The BBC reports that prior to this point, Spurs Women had been training just one day a week at Hotspur Way, with the rest of the training sessions happening on the pitch at The Hive. For Skinner, tasked with raising Tottenham’s profile in the English women’s game, this is a significant development.
“The club [Spurs] are very aware of that and want to keep supporting aspects of what we need to be able to achieve that over a more sustainable period. We have everything in and around the players that we need to create a high-performance environment. It’s now on our doorstep. The stuff we have access to now is unbelievable and obviously the players are ecstatic about being in this environment, which is great.”
I admit to being surprised by this revelation, though in hindsight maybe I shouldn’t have been. We have seen training photos of Spurs Women at the Hotspur Way complex, and those photos have been regularly shared on Tottenham’s social media channels this season and last. However, it wasn’t readily apparent to this Spurs fan located 7500 miles away from London that those photos were taken the one day a week that the Women were allowed to train there.
Frankly, it’s a bit astounding that this is only happening now. The Hotspur Way complex has 15 full size training pitches and plenty of space for all Spurs teams to work from the youth clubs on up, including the Women. I suppose I assumed that once Spurs Women promoted to the WSL that they’d immediately have been offered to train at the same top-notch facilities that the men had.
According to the BBC, Skinner says that the transition to full time training at Hotspur Way wasn’t something that was a condition of her employment with the club, but rather was “already something that was happening”.
“The club were very aware that the facilities the players needed, needed to evolve. It obviously shows their interest in the women’s team because they felt it was the right time to make that move. That made a statement to me about the intent that was around, looking after the women’s team and incorporating them, so that’s been a real positive step for everybody really.”
I’m obviously thrilled that the club is starting to show more ambition by giving the Women the same opportunities and facilities with which it provides the men. I wish it had happened sooner, but any progress should be considered good progress, and that progress also includes the appointment of Skinner. Now, as we have said frequently, the next step is significant financial investment in the club so that they can attract and develop players that will help them compete with the best in the WSL.