Newcastle United coach highlights ‘massive step’ brought about by Amanda Staveley

Newcastle United Women’s manager Becky Langley believes the side have made ‘massive’ progress since officially becoming part of the club in the summer.

The Lady Magpies are set to host their second ever match at St James’s Park this Sunday (2pm kick-off) as they welcome Barnsley in the Women’s FA Cup second round. Over 22,000 supporters flocked to St James’s to watch Langley’s side back in May, a figure that is set to be smashed this weekend with over 25,000 tickets already sold.

Since the previous match at St James’s Park, Newcastle Women are now under the same ownership as the men’s side following a formal restructuring spearheaded by co-owner Amanda Staveley.

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Staveley targeted the women’s side as an area to develop following the takeover. And the progress has been significant with the club also re-establishing a women’s development squad in a bid to progress through the divisions.

Newcastle United Co-owner Amanda Staveley on the pitch after the FA Women's National League Division One North match against Alnwick Town Ladies at St James' Park on May 01, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Discussing the impact of becoming an official part of Newcastle United, Langley told The Gazette: “It’s been a massive step, a really positive and progressive step forward and everything we’re doing is much more professional because of the support of the club.

"We just want to keep repaying Amanda and the owners for their support and keep getting through to the next round of the cup. We’re leaving no stone unturned at the club, we’re working very hard behind the scenes and the girls are training three times a week plus playing their uni and college fixtures to make sure that they’re the best athletes they can be and the best players they can be for the club. Everything we’re doing is really forward thinking.”

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Becoming part of the club has also seen Langley appointed in her role on a full-time basis while the players are now being paid a part-time salary.

“Absolutely the changes have been really beneficial,” Langley admitted. “Previously we didn’t train at the men’s training ground so we’re able to utilise that.

"On Friday, we played on the grass pitches to prepare for the game and get the same carpet-like surface that we’ll play on at St James’s and I think it’s little things like being invited over to watch the men’s games or speaking to Amanda in the chairman’s suite.

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"The players are being paid part-time now which is really important to support them off the pitch as well as on. It’s the little things like buying new football boots, supporting them driving themselves to training, it’s those little things that have made a huge difference.”

Everything seems set-up for The Lady Magpies to have a good season, but there will be plenty of eyes on them this Sunday – and with that comes pressure.

“The players know and I know that there’s very proud parents, grandparents, friends and family in the crowd,” she added. “We’ve got to go out and for all the sacrifices that they’ve made throughout the players’ football journeys, we need to be making sure that we’re performing for them.

"The biggest message for me is ‘when you come off the pitch, have you given everything and did you enjoy it?’ It’s a once in a lifetime experience almost, or second for some! We’ve just got to make the most of it.”