Manchester City defender Jen Beattie thinks a strong show of support at the upcoming SSE Women’s FA Cup final can help her side capture a second title in the space of three years.
City face newcomers West Ham on 4 May, having knocked out current holders Chelsea on home soil in the semi-finals.
With attendances growing year-on-year, all involved will be hoping the crowd can beat last year’s figure of 45,423 – up from 35,271 the previous year, when City beat Birmingham 4-1.
“It’s amazing, it’s definitely a cool feeling being part of a process where everything is going in the right direction for women’s football,” Beattie said.
“The attendances are increasing and that’s great to see and that’s credit to the FA for building a league that players want to be a part of and where people want to attend and watch games.
“Hopefully we’ll get a good crowd at Wembley. We’re a team that feeds off the crowd’s energy.
“I think our fans, first and foremost, have been unbelievable all year and without a doubt we’ll get a good turnout from them and they’ll be supporting us.”
Beattie was on the bench when City last won the FA Cup but is now firmly established as a first-team player, named as Player of the Match in the semi-final win over Chelsea.
Despite that victory, Beattie says City will need an improved performance if they are to go all the way and lift another title.
“As a team there was still much to improve from that game,” she said.
“Chelsea hit the bar and hit the post, that’s something that we will definitely be looking to improve on.
“West Ham have grown throughout the season and while they maybe didn’t start the season as they wanted to, they’ve had some good results and getting to the final is amazing for them.
“It will no doubt be a tough game, it’s a cup final so anything can happen. They’ll be well up for it, but we’ll be the exact same.”
The showpiece event of the women’s football calendar, Beattie has played in FA Cup finals before during her time as an Arsenal player.
Drawing on this experience, she knows that there are few other games that rival it in terms of prestige.
“It’s unbelievable, it’s something that I think any elite team wants to be a part of,” she said.
“The whole aim is to win trophies and win leagues. We’ve got one trophy under our belt [the Continental Cup] and we’ll be looking to win a second next weekend.
“The squad is in a really good place. Training has been going well, hopefully we’ll kick on against Yeovil and leading into the final.”
As the energy behind women’s football, SSE’s ambition is to support girls of all ages in England, helping them join in football from grassroots to the elite level. For more information on SSE’s sponsorships and activities visit sse.co.uk