Image: London City Lionesses / Simon Lapwood

In conversation with Lucy Fitzgerald: An inside look at London City Lionesses’ season

London City Lionesses have etched their way into the hearts of many women’s football fans; the Barclays Women’s Championship club is less than five years old, yet it already has a large presence on the women’s football scene.

The Boar Sport spoke to Lucy Fitzgerald, one of the key members of the squad, about the club’s season and what it means to be a part of The Pride.

London City Lionesses have a unique history; they were only founded on 13 May 2019, following a statement released by Millwall FC which said that the team’s official women’s affiliate team would split from the club to become independent. This change was officially made in June of the same year when the FA transferred Millwall’s Championship licence.

Lucy Fitzgerald has been a part of the club’s squad since the beginning and this season she became the first player to become a centurion for London City Lionesses.

Fitzgerald spoke on her 100th appearance, saying that she “didn’t even realise [she’d] played that many games”. She described it as a proud moment for both her, and her family, adding that being the first one to reach this milestone was “quite special, especially in an only women’s club”.

“It’s so nice when we turn up on a match day to have that atmosphere when we play”

Lucy Fitzgerald on London City Lionesses’ fans

The 23/24 season has not only been a big one for Fitzgerald as an individual, but also for the club as a whole. London City’s home ground, Princes Park in Dartford, has hosted Liverpool and Arsenal this season and the club’s shirts have also begun to be sold on Foudy’s, the first and only official store dedicated to women’s football.

When it was first announced that London City would be founded as a new, independent club, there were questions about how many fans they would attract. This season, in particular, has seen a large growth in the club’s fandom, proving that there was no need for concerns.

Fitzgerald spoke about the process of building the fanbase, describing how it’s “so different” now from what it was like at the beginning. Expressing her gratitude for London City’s fans, she said: “It’s so nice when we turn up on a match day to have that atmosphere when we play. It’s like everyone says, they’re the 12th man. When they’re cheering us on, it does help us, and I think that this year has really shown that.”

It can be argued that the increase in fans is partly down to the signings that the club made prior to the start of the season.

Towards the end of August, both Ruesha Littlejohn and Danielle Carter signed with London City Lionesses. Littlejohn had returned from a summer in Australia, where she had been playing for the Republic of Ireland in the UEFA Women’s World Cup, and Carter has played for numerous WSL clubs, including a stint at Arsenal.

According to Fitzgerald, Remi Allen has made many “positive changes”, leading the standards of the team to become “much higher”

When asked about playing with the likes of Littlejohn and Carter, Fitzgerald commented on how she has been able to learn from their experiences and journeys, saying: “It has been really valuable for all of us young players.” Speaking on Carter specifically, she added: “I think especially someone like Dan, she’s so open, trying to tell you about the experiences she’s had. It’s helpful.”

Star signings over the summer have not been the only changes that The Pride have seen this season. In March, Remi Allen was appointed as the team’s new head coach.

According to Fitzgerald, Allen has made many “positive changes”, leading the standards of the team to become “much higher”. There is now a different culture which aims to improve how the team work together. The squad’s results have also changed following Allen’s arrival; the team have come up with late goals and “keep pushing until the end”.

One of the club’s most memorable games out of their recent fixtures was their 2-1 victory against Charlton Athletic. Fitzgerald described the last-minute win as “a great feeling”, saying that it was either this game, or their away game against Blackburn Rovers, that was her favourite match of the season.

The significance of this victory was further highlighted when Fitzgerald stated that her favourite off-pitch moment this season came following the Charlton match. She called the atmosphere in the changing room “special, because it was one of the first times [the team] all kind of came together”.

London City Lionesses have generated a large following, signed big names, and, ultimately, proven that a women’s team can thrive independently

Prior to The Boar Sport’s conversation with Fitzgerald, London City Lionesses had found out that their place in the Barclays Women’s Championship had been secured for next season.

While the team lost the match that they played on the day that this position was confirmed, Fitzgerald still described the day as “really pleasing”. She said: “We didn’t win, but we’ve got to stay in the league, so that’s important and I think hopefully positive moving forward.”

To close off our conversation, Fitzgerald offered advice to those playing football at the University of Warwick, telling them to “just enjoy it”. She said: “Even when you play professionally, you’ve still got to just enjoy it and that’s when you’ll play your best.”

Going into next season, London City Lionesses will hope to come out in full force. The club is still in its formative years; however, it has already broken barriers. It’s generated a large following, signed big names, and, ultimately, proven that a women’s team can thrive independently.


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