Record-breaking Gunner reaches 100 club while Arsenal legend retires

This week brings a mixed bag of news. The Lionesses
are still waiting for their first victory in the 2013 Euro Championships. A
loss to Spain in the opening game and a draw to Russia means that tonight’s
game against group leaders France is a must-win encounter. France have won both
their games so far and are the first team to already qualify for the knockout
stages from Group C.

England were
very unlucky against Spain who scored a winner in the 93rd minute.
Coming from behind not once but twice, it must have been gutting for Hope
Powell’s side to see the final score 3-2. Rachel Yankey acknowledges that but
also highlights the strong character of the squad who will try their best to
ensure a win against France.

We were so disappointed
with the way we lost against Spain on Friday night. It took real character for
us to equalise so late on, so to lose from that position was horrible.

Toni Duggan’s
equaliser versus Russia in the second match ensured that England still have a
hope of qualifying if they beat France and have the other results go their way.
This is the way Group C currently stands and England would have to beat France
and hope Russia can pull off a result versus Spain but with a smaller margin so
that the Lionesses’ goal difference would put them second. It is a tough
situation but everyone at Gunners Town would like to wish them the best.

A career milestone for another Arsenal and England
player while a legend retires.

Following Rachel
Yankey’s England record of 126
caps
for her country recently, it is a
matter of great pride that Arsenal right-back Alex Scott also joined the 100
club against Russia.

At the same
time, we have to bid goodbye to a legend. Jayne Ludlow announced
her retirement a few days ago. The 34 year old made an indelible mark in the
club’s history when she not only captained the side during their 2007
quadruple, but also helped them win a domestic treble in her debut season
(coming from Southampton) by scoring 28 goals, and a total of 26 major trophies
throughout her career. It is a 13 year old career marked by records as well.
The Welsh international is the Arsenal Ladies’ all-time top scorer with more
than 200 goals and the FA Players’ Player of the Year three times. Though the
club will miss her leadership abilities and keen football skills, it is good to
know that an entire generation of young female footballers will get the chance
to learn from her. She states that one of the reasons for her retirement is her
wish to go into full-time coaching, an area she finds herself enjoying more
than being a player. Ludlow is already an academy coach for Arsenal as well as
Wales and has recently completed her UEFA A License. Vic Akers pays tribute,

Jayne’s
athleticism, technical ability and eye for goal made her one of the best
box-to-box midfielders in the women’s game. It was a privilege to have worked
with her for all these years and I wish her every success in the future.

Before I sign
off for the week, here are two very interesting links relating to women’s
football. July 8, 2013 marked the 20th anniversary of the FA running
the women’s game and BBC Sport paid tribute to the growth and development of
the women’s football, as well as now-forgotten names who paved the way for the
current generation of female footballers to pursue their passion. For 50 years,
female players had to defy an openly hostile FA who believed that it was an
unsuitable sport for the fairer sex, and for another 20 years after that they
had no support or infrastructure. In one feature, BBC Sport interviews some
pioneers of the game who overcame
bans and bias to build the foundations of the game in the country
,
while in the other it lists some forgotten
heroes.

One month left
for club football to be back, take care and keep sane amidst all the transfer
window madness!

Clear Eyes. Full
Hearts. Can’t Lose.

Anushree Nande


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