Newcastle United Women: The history
Written by Joseph Nelson
Newcastle United Women will make history on Sunday, 1st May, playing their first ever fixture at St. James' Park. Becky Langley's side has gone from strength to strength this season and the future looks very bright for the Lady Magpies. Ahead of Sunday's landmark fixture, we took a closer look at the history of Newcastle United Women, from the 1989 inception to the present day...
Newcastle United WFC was formed in 1989.
The first major achievement for the Lady Magpies was in 1996, when they appeared at Wembley Stadium to face Manchester United Women ahead of the FA Charity Shield. Although Newcastle Women lost this fixture 2-0, it had put the club firmly on the map.
MOVING THROUGH THE TIERS
The 1999 season proved to be a fruitful one for the Lady Magpies, as the club achieved promotion to the Northern Combination Women's Football League and also won the League Cup.
By 2001 Newcastle Women had become an established member of the Northern Combination League and set out a five-year plan to reach the FA Women's Premier League.
The club set about reaching this ambitious target, finishing runners-up in the Northern Combination League at the end of the 2003/04 season.
In 2004, the Lady Magpies also ventured into European competition, achieving major success when they won the Lloret Cup in Barcelona.
REACHING THE PREMIER LEAGUE
The 2004/05 season ended on a positive note, as the Lady Magpies secured promotion to the FA Women's Premier League Northern Division. In addition to this triumph, the club was renamed Newcastle United Women's Football Club.
In the years following their promotion, Newcastle Women preserved their Premier League status, reaching the FA Women's Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history.
In the decade following their promotion to the FA Women's Premier League, the Lady Magpies retained their status as a Premier League side, with the most notable successes coming in the form of a Northern Combination Women's Football League title in 2012 and two Northumberland FA Senior Cup triumphs in 2008 and 2012.
The conclusion of the 2015/16 season saw Newcastle Women make history once more, as the Lady Magpies achieved their highest ever league position, finishing ninth in the third tier of the Women's footballing pyramid.
In addition, the Women's development side also won the FA Women's Premier League Reserve Division Northern in the same season.
NEWCASTLE UNITED FOUNDATION AND NORTHUMBRIA UNIVERSITY
In 2017, Newcastle United Women became part of the Newcastle United Foundation, and just two years later a partnership with Northumbria University saw current manager Becky Langley take over as the Lady Magpies' boss.
Langley, who also heads women's football at Northumbria University, has now been at the club for three years, with the squad making great progress in that time.
Langley lifted her first trophy as manager of the club in 2021, overseeing an emphatic 5-1 victory over Wallsend BC Women in the final of the Bluefin Sport Insurance Women's Cup.
After that victory, the Lady Magpies' manager said: "(The win) is a benchmark for us in knowing how to grind out difficult results. This will help us in difficult fixtures next season."
And that character has certainly been evident this term, particularly in the narrow 2-1 victory over local rivals Durham Cestria in February.
Engrossing is the best word to describe how this season has been for Newcastle United Women supporters and players alike.
From finishing eighth in the FA Women's National League Division One North last year, after the season was abandoned due to the coronavirus pandemic, Langley's side has become a force to be reckoned with.
The Lady Magpies have mounted - and sustained - a serious title challenge this term, while also reaching the fourth round of the Vitality Women's FA Cup and the final of the County Cup.
In the FA Cup, more than 2,700 fans turned out at Kingston Park to support Becky Langley's side against Ipswich Town Ladies - the biggest crowd in the club's history.
Newcastle Women have been the most prolific side in the league this season, scoring a total of 73 goals across 20 matches, with the 7-1 win over Alnwick and the 10-0 demolition of FC United of Manchester living long in the memory.
ST. JAMES' AND BEYOND
As the Lady Magpies prepare to face Alnwick Town Ladies at St. James' Park, the future of Newcastle United Women - and women's football - is very bright.
Becky Langley's side will make more history on 1st May, and she will be hoping that this memorable occasion can act as a springboard for the future of women's football in the North East.
Cash turnstiles will be in operation in the East Stand on Sunday, with entry just £3 for adults and free for juniors. All supporters under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
Further turnstiles will be open in the Gallowgate End and Leazes End subject to demand.
Photographs courtesy of Colin Lock/@Tyneside_NUWFC