'What are your plans?' - Ex-Sunderland star reveals recent talks with Black Cats director and future hopes
England captain Steph Houghton has revealed her hopes for Sunderland Ladies.
Ex-Sunderland star and current Manchester City player Steph Houghton has revealed her hopes for the Lady Black Cats – and has spoken of a recent chat with Dave Jones, a non-executive director at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland Ladies proved fertile soil for the growth of stars, with Houghton, Jill Scott, Lucy Bronze, Carly Telford, Lucy Staniforth, and Beth Mea, to name just a few, who all broke through in the North East.
But due to a lack of support from previous ownership groups and an FA restructure, Sunderland Ladies demoted two divisions despite not finishing in the relegation zone.
But the Ladies are now in the up again, having seen a successful application to join the Women’s Championship approved last summer.
Indeed, Mel Reay’s side are top after two wins from two so far this campaign.
She said: “In terms of the players you named there, there’s even more. The likes of Lucy Bronze and Carly Telford.
“I think back and that wouldn’t be a bad XI to be honest and we wouldn’t do too bad in the Super League. “But yeah, of course, imagine if we had all stayed together?
“Imagine if we’d been able to play for Sunderland in this league, it would have been amazing and we would have backed ourselves to do something special but it wasn’t meant to be.
“I think with the restructure of women’s football, it needed support from the men’s team and unfortunately Sunderland weren’t able to provide that to the female game.
“I know I have done a lot of work with Dave Jones on Sky and I’m always talking to him and asking what are your plans for women’s football?
“The new directors have come in and everything seems so positive now. I’m hoping that people are realising that North East football for women is a hotbed. There’s a lot of young players who have been coached really well at the Centre of Excellence.
“So why not have a pathway for them to go and play and for the club to have a really good women’s team like everyone else in the country?”