Blidworth Welfare U10 girls side take advantage of surge in popularity of female football

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You could totally understand if Martin Weedop spent his precious weekend’s surrounded by his family, kicking back after a long, tiring week and relaxing. But then that’s not really football-mad Martin’s style.

For dedicated Martin there is nothing he enjoys more than being out on the sidelines coaching the Blidworth Welfare U10’s girls team that he helped to create.

Martin’s love affair with the team began when the side was formed earlier this summer and his daughter Kady startesd playing for Blidworth.

Said Martin: “Kady has always enjoyed playing football, but to play for a team she only had two options - one was to travel miles away to another part of the county and the other was to join a local mixed team – which also wasn’t too appealing.

“It dawned on me that if she wanted to play football for a team then there must be other girls her age who fancied something similar. So I had a word with Roger Parkes, who is the Secretary at Blidworth and we took it from there.”

Female football has reached new highs of popularity in the last few years with the emergence of the Women’s Super League meaning that several ladies clubs have now turned professional.

The FAWSL has helped create national attention for women’s football, with games broadcast live on with BT Sport and England matches live on BBC.

Such is the emergence of the women’s version of the beautiful game that 45,619 people recently crammed into Wembley Stadium to see England Ladies take on Germany Ladies for a friendly.

Quite remarkable considering only 40,181 turned up for the men’s friendly with Norway back in September.

Blidworth U10’s play in the Nottinghamshire Girls and Ladies Leagues and come up against the likes of Nottingham Forest, Notts County and Derby County.

The team are currently in scintillating form and recently thumped Radcliffe 7-0 and appear to be in for a good campaign.

Martin said: “My hope for this season is for the team to keep progressing as they have been, to learn to think for themselves when they are on the pitch and most of all to play with a smile on their faces.

“I have two great coaches who work with me ,Jamie King and Mark Shipman, and we all believe in playing football the right way which is trying to play fluid passing football.”

The girls have had some motivation from Mansfield Woodhouse-born, pro Jo Potter who was part of the England Ladies squad that went down 3-0 to their German counterparts.

The Birmingham City defender’s niece Ashleigh plays for Blidworth and Jo can often be seen pasing on her experience to Blidworth’s best.

Martin added: “Jo has been very supportive of the team, she has been down to watch training and also been to support us at matches.”

Blidworth Welfare U10’s Girls training takes place on Thursday evenings at Joseph Whittaker School from 5-6pm. If you have a daughter who is in school years 4 or 5 and would like to play football, or you are interested in coaching at the club, get in touch with Martin on