Kristy Moore can't wait

Thursday 2 May 2002

With only four days to go before Fulham Ladies take on the Doncaster Belles in the Women's FA Cup Final, the squad are starting to put the finishing touches to their preparations and feeling the first signs of the butterflies that only playing such an important game in front of a big crowd can bring.

Former Barnet player and Australian international, Kristy Moore, clearly enjoying her first season with the Whites and very excited about the opportunity to play in an FA Cup Final, spoke this week about what a fantastic opportunity it has been for her to come and play professional football with Fulham.

"It's been an amazing experience," she said, "And something I've wanted to do all my life. There's nothing like this in Australia, and to have this as your job and to be able to do it every day is really something."

It can be a long week when you're sitting around waiting for something as big as a Cup Final at the end of it. This is where the professionalism of the team comes to the fore - this is a single-minded and determined bunch of players, and it shows.

"Everyone's starting to get keyed-up now," said Moore, "But we're trying hard to keep focussed on the game. It's as Sturla (Sturla Voll, Fulham's assistant manager) keeps telling us - it's not just about this week, we've worked hard for this all season. We've just concentrated on how we play, and now we've got to go out and do it on Monday, and if we can do that we can come through. Everyone's very excited.

"We've kept things pretty normal this week, perhaps things have been a little bit lighter to keep us fresh."

Last year's Cup Final was obviously a huge disappointment to everyone, a feeling heightened by the unreasonable sense of expectation that surrounds everything at Fulham. That loss will act as the perfect motivator for the team, says Kristy.

"I think that will drive the players on that little bit more. I've been in similar circumstances in Australia; I lost two Cup Finals before winning a third, so I know what it's like to lose and I don't want to go through that again.

"I don't know a great deal about Doncaster, only what Sturla has told us; he's been to watch them a couple of times. He's said that they're quite physical; they really want the ball. I played against them once for Barnet a few years ago and they were like that then. I think we're a better footballing side, so I think we've got a good chance as long as we stick to our game.

"We'll stick to what we've done all season and play our normal game. We've confidence in the style of football we play and hopefully that will see us through."

And then after the Cup Final it's the Premier League and the culmination of a lot of hard work by everyone at the Club.

"I just can't wait," said Kristy, "It'll obviously mean a hard game for us every week next year, but the best way of training is playing. We've had a lot of practice on our striking skills this season!

"People say that it must be hard to keep motivated, and you start to ease off when you get to five or six - nil, but we never do. We always keep going and play our hardest, and that's one of the strengths of our squad.

"The team spirit here is fantastic. When I first came here I didn't know anybody, and I was a bit nervous, but everyone was great and made me feel very welcome. It's a very cosmopolitan team, and I guess that helps to bring everyone together."

It promises to be a tremendous game on Monday, two free-scoring teams littered with professionals, the best that the English game has to offer. Fulham have steamrollered their opponents this year; it won't be so easy against Doncaster, but there's a steely glint in Kristy Moore's eye that tells you that if the Cup isn't coming home next week, it won't be for want of trying.

"We're very confident about Monday," she said, "It would be a tremendous achievement if we could do it and it would really raise the profile of Fulham Football Club. After last year's disappointment there's an added determination to get it right this time."

The AXA F.A. Women's Cup Final - Monday 6th May. Venue - Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace, kick off 1.00pm.