Becky Langley 'incredibly happy' to end Newcastle United Women's season on a high
Written by Joseph Nelson
Victory in the Bluefin Sport Insurance Women's Cup final last month ensured that Newcastle United Women ended their season on a high, and guaranteed Becky Langley her first piece of silverware with the club.
Following the positive conclusion to the campaign, Langley reflected on another season that has been marred by the Covid-19 pandemic and looked ahead to the 2021/22 season.
The Newcastle Women manager said: "It is such a relief. I am incredibly happy to end the season with something positive. Celebrations have been few and far between, but to be involved in them (last month) was very special."
The FA Women's National League Division One North was cancelled in March 2021 due to the virus, embroiling Langley and her squad in uncertainty at a time when they had built up much momentum.
"At the start of the season we were on course for our targets," declared Langley. "We had huge victories such as winning away at Brighouse and the FA Cup win over Barnsley. When the season was abandoned, we tried to stick together as a team, but everyone had different circumstances so it made it extremely difficult.
"We had built up great momentum prior, and when the season resumed it was incredibly difficult to recapture that."
During these tough times, the team has relied heavily on the continued support of fans and the club's official sponsors - Vitality, Arnold Clark and Northumbria University. For Langley and her players, the commitment of each sponsor has helped uplift the squad, providing them with equipment, tools, and motivation to overcome the difficulties of this season.
She said: "The sponsors have been huge for us. They have provided us with financial and emotional support, whilst providing professional services and facilities that greatly boost our performance. Arnold Clark providing our transport has been a great help, as well as the professional facilities supplied by Northumbria University."
When the season resumed, Newcastle United Women played several friendlies alongside their cup efforts and those fixtures provided opportunities for players to step up and take responsibility.
Langley said: "Kacie Elson is a bright young player who we hope to see a lot of next season. She scored two goals in the final and has stepped up hugely this season. Ellen Packham has done fabulously since returning from injury and consistently performed at a high level.
"I can't fault any of the girls. It has been a tough season and we have worked through it together."
Looking ahead to next season, the Lady Magpies manager outlined her aims, as Newcastle Women look to complete a season uninterrupted.
"We want to build a strong squad and really push for promotion to tier three," Langley said. "We want to give ourselves the best chance of getting three points in every single game."
Langley will certainly be hoping the return of fans to outdoor venues can help drive her side to achieving these goals next season and recognised the unwavering support of hundreds of spectators at Whitley Park during the County Cup final.
For Langley, the pitchside presence was a "key to our drive" and she is relying on supporters next season to give her side a competitive edge.
"It will be great to have fans back every week," she said. "They will have enjoyed the competitive nature of (the final), and we hope that many more will flock to our games on the back of that. We hope to attract more people to our matches, and this will give us that home advantage in our home games next season."
Photograph courtesy of Colin Lock/@Tyneside_NUWFC
"We want to build a strong squad and really push for promotion to tier three. We want to give ourselves the best chance of getting three points in every single game."