ONE of the most successful football clubs in the Dispatch district have been adopted to become Notts County’s first ladies’ set-up.
Linby Colliery Welfare Ladies have joined forces with Notts and will play under the Magpies’ banner from next season.
The exciting partnership has been announced by Linby Ladies’ chairman Andrew Eastwood, who is a lifelong Notts fan.
Formed 14 years ago, the club will play in the npower League One outfit’s famous black and white stripes. Their senior side will be known as Notts County Ladies, while their junior teams will be called Linby Magpies.
They have also adopted a new badge, based on the Notts County crest, but will continue to play their home games at Church Lane in Linby.
Said Eastwood: “I first approached the club two seasons ago, when Sven-Goran Eriksson was manager, and it didn’t happen.
“But I had a meeting with the new chairman, Ray Trew, things progressed and I am really chuffed.
“I stipulated I wasn’t there for any money. I just wanted to be associated with the club.
“Ray was great. The meeting didn’t last very long. He was on board straight away.”
Linby are respected as one of the leading ladies’ clubs in the Notts Girls League and throughout the East Midlands — both on and off the field.
Now they hope this link-up with a professional club will raise their profile even higher.
“Girls’ football has had a bit of a dip,” added Eastwood. “We suffered a bit and lost a couple of teams. But I feel this link will inject more interest.
“The men’s club at Linby Colliery Welfare have been really good to us over the years.
“The news of us changing our name has been warmly accepted and they share our excitement.
“Notts County have been so welcoming and supportive. The girls are really excited.”
One of Linby’s players, Hazel Clark, echoed the views of Eastwood, whose father and grandfather are also big Notts fans.
“The deal leaves me speechless,” said Hazel.
“It’s every player’s dream to play for the club they support. I go down to Meadow Lane every week, cheering them on.”
In a bid to attract new players, Linby are holding a recruitment evening next Wednesday (June 8) at the National Comprehensive School on Annesley Road, Hucknall.
Girls between the ages of nine and 13 should go along between 6 and 7 pm, while those aged 14 and over should go between 7 pm and 8 pm.