Leicester City Women were newly promoted to the WSL for the 2021/2022 season. This was their first time in the English women’s top flight, having won the Championship title in the 2020/2021 season. The foxes first season in the top flight was rocky, with few victories and a relegation scrap with Birmingham City. Championship title winners, to barely escaping relegation. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this seems familiar.
All jokes aside, will the foxes win the league this season? Highly unlikely. Are they able to avoid relegation? The outlook is much better if taken from this angle. The 2021/2022 season was not only their first time in the top league, also their long time manager Jonathan Morgan left the club mid-season after seven years. Lydia Bedford arrived in December 2021 as the new manager to see out the remainder of the season.
Lydia Bedford chats to LCFC TV after beginning the pre-season campaign against OH Leuven pic.twitter.com/vu11nfmEYO— LCFC Women (@LCFC_Women) July 28, 2022
Last season was a year of adjustments and learning to adapt to a higher level of competition. There is reason to be more optimistic for the upcoming season. The foxes had not won a match prior to a win in mid-December against Birmingham City. All four wins and the only draw came after Bedford’s arrival as manager. She was a much needed injection of new blood, and instilled enough of a fighting spirit into the team to keep them up. Bedford tinkered with formations a few matches, but found success in a 3-4-3 and used that for most of her short time with the club. It may not have always been pretty, but she got enough points to avoid relegation. This season’s goal is to be higher up in the table, with no definitive position noted.
The current atmosphere around the women’s camp is starkly different than the men’s. The lady foxes are ambitious and optimistic on how they can improve this upcoming season. The summer transfer window has been active for the women’s team. Three new signings and one loan player were signed in July. Josie Green from Tottenham, Aileen Whelan from Brighton, and Erin Simon from Racing Louisville all signed permanent deals with the club by the end of July. Carrie Jones comes on loan from Manchester United. Compared to the men’s team, this level of transfer activity almost seems excessive (too soon?).
The club clearly backs the women’s team. Leicester women are the only club to have their own training ground, taking on Belvoir Drive upon the completion of the Seagrave facility for the men. The foxes are also the only club in the WSL that uses the men’s stadium, with the majority of home games played at King Power. Perhaps you haven’t heard, but we have the best owners.
A preseason win against Southampton this past weekend will have the team feeling confident about their training. Reading at home is the next preseason match, for August 20th. This will be the foxes first test against another WSL team this preseason. The following weekend the team will play Brighton & Hove Albion. First match of the season is September 11th away at Everton.