Fulham's Ladies follow Tigana's example

Wednesday 15 August 2001

It's not just the men who are aiming to take their new league by storm this season, Fulham Ladies are raring to make it two promotions in a row by winning the Southern Division.

After a fantastic start to their professional status, winning promotion from the South East Combination League and finishing as runners-up to Arsenal in the FA Cup, the Ladies are aiming to do a treble this season; hoping to win promotion to the top flight as well as picking up the FA Cup and the League Cup along the way.

They want to do it by following the example of their male counterparts and playing the Jean Tigana brand of attractive football. "We have a blueprint of how we want to play," explains manager Gaute Haugenes.

"We are under the Fulham umbrella of wanting to play attractive football and we want to play a good passing game this season. Fulham, in particular, know how to play football. We talk to the coaches from the men's first team and learn from them. They are very open to us and we are definitely aiming to play the passing game like them."

Haugenes joined the professional set-up last season as assistant manager - part of a package deal which brought his wife, Norway international midfielder Margunn, to the team.

Haugenes has taken over as manager for the 2001-02 season, following Frank McMorrow's return to PE teaching, and firmly believes he can help achieve the club's three-year plan of winning the National Division and being the best club side in the world!

To help get promotion to the National Division this season, the team have had seven training sessions per week and two new internationals have been drafted into the squad - last season's Southern Division Player Of The Year Kristy Moore and England international Rachel Unitt from Everton. Haugenes explained:

"Kristy Moore was a very exciting player last year for Barnet and she scored 23 goals in the league. We have been playing in pre-season games with three forwards - Kristy with Rachel Yankey and Marianne Petterson - which is a deadly combination. Rachel Unitt is a player with extremely good passing skills, and she is a player for the future - for England too."

The first team's season kicks-off on August 19 with an away tie at Ipswich, and the first game in the London areas is against Wimbledon on August 26.

The home matches have been rearranged until mid-October while Motspur Park undergoes maintenance.

The team are hoping for as much support as possible - and there's no excuses because entry is always free. "All the people who see a women's game for the first time all say how impressed they are," admitted Haugenes.

"They are surprised to see how skilful our players are. We would really like people to come to watch us.

English fans are much louder than other fans. The 14,000 fans supporting us and Arsenal at the FA Cup Final were amazing. We also had 1,000 fans at Kingstonian for the semi-final and that was like having 10,000 fans there - it lifts the players."