Newcastle United Women hailed as 'local heroes' after league title win

Julia Barthram met the Newcastle United Women's side as they celebrated their promotion to the Championship at a civic reception in the city.

A civic reception has been held to celebrate Newcastle United Women's promotion to the Barclays Women's Championship.

Becky Langley's side sealed promotion to the second tier of English women's football in their first season as a fully professional outfit.

The event at Newcastle's Civic Centre on Wednesday 8 May was attended by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, leader of the council and a delegation of 40 players and staff from the club including part owner Amanda Staveley.

Head coach Becky Langley said: "There's a lot of work to do behind the scenes to make sure we're prepared for the Women's Championship.

"It's a big step up, we're against teams who've been established in that league for many years as full time professionals so we need to keep evolving and improving.

"We're excited to recruit some staff and some players as any team would in any season to keep evolving. It's going to be a fantastic preparation phase to get into pre-season for next season, and really looking to kick on."

The Magpies ended the season in style, beating West Brom 4-0 to chalk up their 19th win of the campaign and put them eleven points clear at the top of the FA Women's National League Division One North.

Newcastle United Women won the title by 11 points, sealing promotion to the Barclays Women's Championship. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Promotion also means Newcastle will be in the same division as Durham and Sunderland, and Langley said her side are relishing the prospect of a Tyne Wear Derby.

She told ITV Tyne Tees: "We're really looking forward to those games against Durham and Sunderland and I'm sure the Newcastle United fans will be really excited for that Tyne and Wear derby.

"We've been trying to level up to get to the level of Durham and Sunderland for many years now, obviously they've established themselves in the FA Women's Championship. Sunderland had an excellent season last season and full credit to them.

"We've got that bite about us - we want to win and we want to show them what we're all about. We want to be finishing the season as high as possible and ahead of our local rivals."

The Lord Mayor of Newcastle described the players as fantastic role models for women and girls across the city. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Lord Mayor Cllr Veronica Dunn said the players were "new local heroes" for the city and praised them as role models for girls and women across Tyneside.

She said: “Newcastle Women’s football team are winners and that is felt right across our city. It just makes people feel good knowing our teams are winning things. “They have had a marvellous season on and off the pitch and we are very proud of the way they have represented our city. They are wonderful ambassadors for girls and young women who want to play football and so it is right that we honour their contribution to the city. “They have won promotion two years running now so who would bet against them making it a hat-trick and winning promotion to the Women’s Super League! “This is about so much more than football. It is about showing girls and young women they can play the same sports as men, enjoy it and be accepted in society. I wish them all the best for next season.”

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