Linby girls merge with Lincoln in franchise row

ALL CHANGE -- at Notts County Ladies

ALL CHANGE -- at Notts County Ladies

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Girls at the former Linby Colliery Welfare Ladies Football Club have been caught up in a controversy that will result in a merger with Lincoln City.

Linby have been playing under the Notts County Ladies banner for the past two seasons.

But now Notts have now been taken over by Lincoln City to form a new franchise in the Women’s Super League (WSL). And the Linby arm of the operation will merge with Lincoln under the fresh name of Notts County Ladies Development Football Club.

Lincoln Ladies’ re-branding and re-location has come about because their chairman is Ray Trew, who also owns Notts County.

The name, Notts County Ladies, will be retained and they will be one of eight teams in the top tier of the WSL, with a further ten in tier two.

Fifteen other clubs who applied for the league, including Nottingham Forest Ladies, have been rejected.

And the acceptance of Lincoln has caused fury within the women’s game, including among their own fans, who claim their 30-mile move to Nottingham means they are “the new MK Dons”.

However, the Linby-based club are thrilled about the switch and the future.

Said secretary Carol Eastwood: “We have been delighted to represent Notts County over the past two seasons and are equally pleased to be able to continue under what is a very exciting move for ladies’ football in Nottingham.

“We will be amalgamated into the new set-up and benefit from top-level coaching in the development of young talent in the area.

“Having access to top-quality players and coaches, along with the opportunity for our girls to progress through the ranks to the highest level, can only be a good thing for us.”

Lincoln Ladies’ manager Rick Passmoor added: “In combining our resources, we are building one of the best structured clubs in the women’s game.”

The move was the big talking point of the night at the Linby girls’ annual presentation evening at the John Godber Centre in Hucknall.

Players from the six teams Notts County Ladies ran last season received awards.

Said chairman Andrew Eastwood: “The quality of football throughout the season was really pleasing.

“The club takes development football seriously, focusing more on individual and team performances than winning at all costs.”

The senior first team finished fourth in their league and reached the final of the Notts FA Women’s County Cup final.

The senior development team also finished fourth and reached the semi-finals of the league cup.

The under-13s won the Respect Award from their league, while the under-11s narrowly missed out on glory in their league cup and the under-10s and under-9s improved with every game.

Award winners at the presentation night were:

SPORTSWOMAN -- Brianna Brown, Rosie Bradley, Charlotte Hayes, Alex Mills, Nic Tomkinson, April Bingham.

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER -- Kayleigh Street, Ameliyah Rimell, Megan Green, Georgia Duckworth, Ashleigh Harris, Susan Cronin.

COACHES’ PLAYER -- Ellie-May Bramley, Lydia Sears, Rebecca Shelton, Lucy Wright, Imogen Fitchett, Serena Mason.

MANAGERS’ PLAYER -- Tasia Bruce, Phoebe Wardle-Collins, Tashan Keeling, Amy Wainwright, Sammy Barlow, Jasmin Bear.

PLAYERS’ PLAYER -- Sally Warsop-Hook, Ellie Barrow, Jasmin Hallam, Amy Wainwright, Lucy Harris, Robyn Henton.

CHAIRMAN’S AWARD -- Sandrine Bramley.

VOLUNTEER AWARD -- Nick Clark.

GOALKEEPER AWARD -- Jasmin Hallam.

CLUB TOP GOALSCORER -- Sammy Barlow (36 goals).

JB TEAM OF THE SEASON -- Senior first team.