INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN IN THE GAME - JACKIE CLEMINSON
What is your role within Bishop Auckland Ladies?
I am the Ladies secretary and look after their immediate finances and any fundraising.
Tell us about how you got involved with Bishop Auckland Ladies?
I have been involved with grass roots football since 1998 when my son was 4 years old and when he joined a local 6 a side league. I become his manager and the team secretary too so he could continue to play. When he was 18 I wanted to do something for females in the bishop Auckland area as there was a huge gap and most of the junior girls seemed to drop out at 16/18 years old. I approached the then director of football Rob Bowron at Bishop Auckland FC about forming a Women’s team. The rest they say is history. The ladies were formed in May 2013 with the Development Team 2 years later.
What do you enjoy about being involved with your role at Bishop Auckland Ladies
I love seeing the players develop and enjoy their training and football. We still have a couple of the original players play for us now and the Ladies section has come a long way from when they started with just 5 players.
We now have over 45 players at the club with 5 coaches and several of our players are coaches to our junior partner club Bishop Auckland Girls. It’s a magical feeling seeing everything you’ve worked so hard for right there in front of you.
What is your best memory you have faced in this role?
One of the best memories I have is watching the team taking part in the Womens FA Cup for the first time - We played Penrith away and although we were beaten 1-0 after extra time with what was the final kick of the game we came so close and the girls played their socks off until the final whistle. The bus going home was buzzing.
What are the biggest obstacles you have faced in this role?
One of the biggest obstacles is having to manage the players around work / shifts - we have a lot of young players who work in the hospitality / retail industry. Some employers are very adaptable around their training and games but others are not interested. It’s frustrating on a weekly basis. The other major obstacle is recruiting - management staff especially as in coaches, physio, media personnel, but also sometimes players. Goalkeepers always seem to be the major shortfall.
What advice would you give to females wishing to get involved in roles within the game of football?
I would say grab it with both hands - take up the challenge - you won’t regret it. Make sure the club is right for you and go for it. Whether it’s junior football or adult there is still a great deal of pleasure seeing the players develop and progress.