Sports

Newcastle Women to play game at St James’ Park during men’s World Cup

Newcastle Women will play at St James’ Park for the second time when they host Bradford in an FA National Women’s League Division One North on 27 November.

The Magpies hope it will follow on from the success of the team’s first St James’ Park game in May when more than 22,000 fans turned out.

Despite Newcastle being a fourth tier club, still three levels below the top flight WSL, it was the highest attendance for a women’s club game in England last season, surpassing the 20,000 crowd that Manchester United achieved for a match at Old Trafford in March.

The Bradford game falls during the Premier League break for the 2022 Men’s World Cup in Qatar and so offers Newcastle fans the opportunity to still be able to get to St James’ Park for a live game.

Tickets bought in advance are extremely affordable, priced at just £3 for adults and £1 for concessions. Prices will be double on the door on the day of the game, but still only £6 at most.

Women’s football reached new levels in England during the summer, with more than a cumulative in excess of 570,000 at Euro 2022 – including more than 87,000 people watching the final at Wembley. That momentum has already been seen at WSL level at the start of the 2022/23 season, with 47,000 fans at the Emirates Stadium for the recent north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham, while clubs all over the country reporting increased interest and ticket sales.

“We are thrilled to be back at St. James’ Park,” Newcastle head coach Becky Langley said.

“The support we received at the stadium in May was incredible, and we hope as many supporters as possible can come along in November to make it another very special occasion.

“We are very proud to be championing women’s football in the region and that our players are such fantastic role models. This is a great opportunity to showcase women’s football in the North East and we hope to continue inspiring a new generation of girls and women to play and enjoy the game.”

Newcastle director Amanda Staveley has previously spoken about the club’s commitment to developing its women’s team, declaring in February: “We have to pay them as professionals.”

Staveley said last year: “We are wholeheartedly committed to women’s and girls football…we are committed to helping the women’s team develop and grow.”

With successive promotions, the earliest Newcastle could reach the WSL is 2025. The north east has not been represented at the highest level of women’s football in England since Sunderland dropped out of the top flight in 2018, but the region is a noted hotbed of talent.

England internationals past and present like Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton, Beth Mead, Jordan Nobbs, Jill Scott, Demi Stokes, Lucy Staniforth and Carly Telford all hail from Tyne, Wear or Tees.

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