Updated: Saturday, 8th August 2020 @ 2:34pm

'Something big' afoot at Manchester City, says star Steph Houghton as Blues unveil re-branded women's team

'Something big' afoot at Manchester City, says star Steph Houghton as Blues unveil re-branded women's team

By Ruth Dacey

Olympic football star Steph Houghton has warned that ‘something big’ is happening after Manchester City’s newly rebranded women’s football club was unveiled last week.

The new club was revealed at the Etihad Stadium on Friday with a host of major faces present including City manager Manuel Pellegrini, Patrick Vieira, head coach of New York City FC Jason Kreis and New York City FC director of football, Claudio Reyna.

The Sky Blues are hoping to make an immediate impact and with six stellar signings in the close season their attempt to challenge in the top division is clear for all to see.

Steph Houghton made the move from Arsenal Ladies having represented England and Team GB at the 2012 Olympics, and will captain the side in their debut season in the top flight.

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“With Manchester city I just got that feeling that it was going to be something big and I wanted to be here from the beginning. I didn't want to come say two years down the line,” the 25-year old said.  

“We want to challenge with the top clubs and that was key for us as individuals and the team that they want to develop you as an individual but also we want to bring success to the football club and mirror how successful the men’s team has been.

“I want to be a leader and win as many competitions as possible, and obviously work as hard as possible and be successful.”

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Houghton is joined by three fellow England internationals – striker Toni Duggan, goal keeper Karen Bardsley and midfielder Jill Scott along with New Zealand international Betsy Hassett and Jess Holbrook from Liverpool Ladies.

With so much talent in the squad ambitions are high, and former Everton striker Duggen aims to embrace the club’s attacking style of football. 

“You have seen how Man City men have been playing recently- just banging in goals for fun so hopefully we can live up to that,” the 22-year-old said.

“At this club everyone follows the same philosophy whether that be at under eight level or the men and women’s first team. We are going to stick to the same strategy and I think that is a great thing for the club to have.”


Previously named Manchester City Ladies FC, the club was founded in 1988 by City in the Community and, in the 25 years since then, their affiliation with the men’s team has taken various forms, culminating in the statement of a formal partnership with Manchester City in August 2012.

The club was later granted entry to the FA Women’s Super League in April 2013 and will mirror and benefit from its association with its male equivalent- from community programmes, to youth development, scouting, coaching, sports science, digital coverage and first team football operations.

Patrick Vieira, who now manages the men’s Elite Development squad at City, showed a committed support for the women’s team and expressed how his own players could learn from MCWFC.

“In ten years of the women’s game how they have improved technically is unbelievable,” the former Arsenal captain said.

“The boys will support this team because they share the same passion, commitment of the game so I know that the boys will be there and support them.

“When you look at the resources we have we will share them and I am sure they will learn from some aspects of our game. But of course there will be some aspect of their game as well that we and my boys will benefit and learn from them.”

The Sky Blues will compete against Arsenal Ladies, Birmingham City Ladies, Bristol Academy WFC, Chelsea Ladies, Everton Ladies, Notts County Ladies and Liverpool Ladies in the first tier of the newly formed league which kicks off in March 2014. 

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