Arsenal Ladies FC have celebrated more than a generation of winning, 38 major honours in 20 years. Add another 15 trophies in other competitions and it’s an astounding 53 honours in just over 20 years.
Arsenal have seen considerable turnover over those 20 years, but continue to replace players with equally skilled and even better talent.
One of the stalwarts of this winning group of Arsenal Ladies is calling time on her career, and last season’s captain is taking time off with her 3rd child expected in the next couple of months.
Should the retirement of Faye White or the pregnancy of Katie Chapman be a serious concern for Arsenal? Yes and no. Arsenal are losing one of their greatest servants on the pitch, Faye White; we are also losing our captain to the birth of her third child (Congratulations Katie and co.). We should not be too concerned because Arsenal Ladies has a culture of battling through and improving; something we wish we saw more from the men!
I remember when Lianne Sanderson left Arsenal, I was genuinely worried about ALFC’s goal scoring; a year later Karen Carney and Kelly Smith left for America and I was mortified. Many players stepped up and a few got the playing time they needed to explode onto the scene. Players like Ellen White and Kim Little took on the challenge and other youngsters grew into the squad; a squad which has remained as the best in England and the elite of Europe. ALFC did not miss a beat and secured consecutive league titles despite the high profile departures.
Today, the Arsenal Ladies squad has a younger feel to it. There are several starters under 22 years of age, they show maturity, skill, and technical football knowledge that is well beyond those years. Part of that comes from the veteran leadership at the club with Faye and Katie; credit is also due to Ciara Grant and Emma Byrne. However, with Faye White calling time on her career, Katie Chapman taking the next few months off and a new manager, some fans could be concerned about Arsenal’s chances in the Women’s Champions League.
I’m not concerned, as far as Arsenal Ladies FC is concerned, this is business as usual. It’s too bad that Faye White will not be in the squad at the Women’s Champions League final at Stamford Bridge, but her presence will be felt through her ambassadorial role, and of course through her continued involvement with Arsenal Ladies. Thank you for being Mrs. Arsenal!
P.S. I had to use the moniker Mrs. Arsenal because her devotion to the club, performances, leadership, and passion for the game remind me of Tony Adams. I hope she appreciates the moniker.