By Jimmy Booker, Sportsbeat – 0870 445 0156
GILLINGHAM footballer Fliss Gibbons was left to reflect on successful season all round after being invited to watch the SSE Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley.
Back in December, Gibbons was named SSE Women’s FA Cup player of the round after scoring four goals in the Gills’ first round 7-1 defeat of Southampton Saints.
Gibbons, in her second spell with the club, was chosen from more than 50 teams and selected from a list of nominees by a panel of women’s football experts.
In recognition of that achievement, the 22-year-old and four friends received free tickets to last weekend’s final, where Manchester City ran out 4-1 winners against Birmingham City in front of a record crowd of 35,271.
And following on from a memorable season in which Gillingham achieved promotion to the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division, Gibbons insisted her trip to the home of football was the perfect way to end the football year.
“I’ve been to Wembley a couple of times before but not for a women’s game, this is a first for me. It’s a dream for everyone to play there,” she said.
“It’s a good spectacle for women’s football and I think it’s great that the game is played at Wembley. They’re both great teams, and hopefully it showed how good the women’s game is.
“It’s been a really good season to be fair for us. We got promoted a couple of weeks ago after winning the league.
“It was a big compliment for me getting the player of the round trophy and I’ve managed to keep going since then.
“As a team I feel like we’ve put in some really good performances so I’m really happy.”
Saturday’s record attendance at Wembley reflected the phenomenal growth of women’s football in recent years, with almost three million active players regularly lacing up their boots in England.
The biggest women’s team sport in the country, football continues to go from strength-to-strength among the female population, and Gibbons insists the possibilities are endless.
“I’ve played for a long time now, since I was about eight,” she said.
“The difference between women’s football now and then is massive and I think it’s only going to get bigger.
“I think the development is brilliant and it’s really exciting for the future.”
SSE are proud to support women’s football at every level with the SSE Women’s FA Cup and SSE Wildcats participation programme. SSE: The energy behind women’s football.