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Barclays Women's Championship Guide 2022-23

Friday, 19 August 2022

All you need to know about the Women's Championship as it kicks off this weekend.

Barclays Women's Championship


Find out who's in and who's out as the Women's Championship, the second tier of women's football, kicks off!

Birmingham City's Siobhan Wilson

Birmingham City

Ground – St Andrew’s B9 4RL

Tickets - Event Tickets List - Online ticket office (

Twitter - @BCFCWomen

Manager – Darren Carter

Last season – 12th WSL

Players joined - Siobhan Wilson (Crystal Palace), Martha Harris (Manchester United), Mollie Green (Coventry United) and Lucy Thomas (Coventry United). Loan deals - Tara Bourne (Manchester United), Fran Stenson (Arsenal), Charlie Devlin (Leicester City) and Ashley Hodson (Liverpool).

Players left - Rebecca Holloway, Veatriki Sarri, Marie Hourihan, Emily Whelan, Lucy Whipp, Sarah Ewens, Cecilie Sandvej and Arabella Suttie.

After being relegated from the WSL at the end of last season, Birmingham appointed Darren Carter as permanent manger and former Birmingham player and Lioness Jo Potter as assistant head coach over the summer. They have managed to keep a lot of the squad from last season including captain Louise Quinn, Jade Pennock, Christie Murray and Lucy Quinn.

They have sign players with Championship experience including Siobhan Wilson from Crystal Palace, and Mollie Green and Lucy Thomas from Coventry United. They also signed Martha Harris from Manchester United. They have brought in on loan young goalkeeper Fran Stenson from Arsenal and Charlie Devlin from Leicester City, who has won the Championship twice with Manchester United and then Leicester, as well as Tara Bourne and Ashley Hodson.

Blackburn Rovers

Ground – Sir Tom Finney Stadium PR5 6UX (Clubs main ground – Ewood Park BB2 4JF)

Tickets - Event Tickets List - eTickets (

Twitter - @RoversLadies

Manager – Gemma Donnelly

Last season – 10th WC

Players joined - Evie Smith (Liverpool) and Faith Nokuthula (Brighton & Hove Albion). Loan deals – Chloe Williams (dual registration Manchester United) and Niamh Murphy (dual registration Manchester United)

Players left - Aimee Hodgson, Chelsey Jukes, Chloe Dixon, Katie Anderson, Erica Cunningham, Amaya Coleman-Evans and Annabel Blanchard.

Gemma Donnelly has signed a few new players for Blackburn after they finished 10th in the Championship last season. Evie Smith comes in from Liverpool and Faith Nokuthula joins from Brighton. Welsh international Chloe Williams and Scotland youth international Niamh Murphy have also joined on dual registration from Manchester United.

Most of the squad from last season, including Hannah Coan and Saffron Jordan, have re-signed for the 2022/23 season but Player of the Year and joint top goalscorer Annabel Blanchard has joined Championship rivals Crystal Palace and long serving player Chelsey Jukes has also left the club.

Bristol City's Abi Harrison

Bristol City

Ground – Robins High Performance Centre BS8 3TN (Clubs main ground – Ashton Gate BS3 2EJ)

Tickets - Buy Tickets: Bristol Sport Ticketing (

Twitter - @bristolcitywfc

Manager – Lauren Smith

Last season – 3rd WC

Players joined - Fran Bentley (Manchester United), Olivia Clark (Coventry United), Jodie Hutton (Aston Villa), Chloe Mustaki (Shelbourne), Shania Hayles (Aston Villa), Elyssa Boddy (Leicester City), Vicky Bruce (SC Sand) and Emily Syme (Aston Villa).

Players left - Flo Allen, Satara Murray, Izzy Cook, Maisy Collis, Simran Jhamat, Ava Kuyken, Sophie Whitehouse, Mel Johnson and Gwen Davies.

After being in the chasing pack behind Liverpool for most of last season and eventually finishing third, Bristol City will be looking to get back to the WSL at the second time of asking. A lot of comings and goings over the summer with eight new players coming in and ten leaving. Among those still at The Robins is Abi Harrison who won the Championship Player of the Year award and finished top goalscorer in the league last season with 17 goals.

Fran Bentley has joined permanently after being on loan last season, Welsh international Olivia Clark joins from Coventry United, and Jodie Hutton, Shania Hayles and Emily Syme have all signed from WSL side Aston Villa with Syme returning to the club where she started.

Charlton Athletic

Ground – The Oakwood DA1 4EU (Clubs main ground – The Valley SE7 8BL)

Tickets - Buy Tickets: Charlton Athletic Ticketing (

Twitter - @CAFCWomen

Manager – Karen Hills

Last season – 5th WC

Players joined - Angela Addison (Tottenham Hotspur), Freda Ayisi (Lewes), Corinne Henson (Watford), Emily Simpkins (Brighton & Hove Albion), Sophie O’Rourke (Lewes), Heidi Logan (Lewes), Tegan McGowan (Chelsea), Poppy Soper (Chelsea) and Mel Johnson (Bristol City). Loan deals - Sian Rogers (Aston Villa), Lucy Watson (Chelsea) and Elisha N’Dow (Aston Villa)

Players left – Eartha Cummings, Jess King, Anna Filbey, Sophie Hillyerd, Becky Jane, Vyan Sampson, Hollie Olding, Elisha Sulola, Megan Wynne, Elise Hughes, Sophie Quirk, Lois Heuchan and Natalia Negri.

Charlton Athletic finished fifth in the league last season, which was their first as a professional side. Karen Hills has been busy in the transfer market with 12 players coming in and 13 leaving over the summer.

Among those joining from WSL sides are Angela Addison from Tottenham and Emily Simpkins from Brighton. Experienced forward Mel Johnson has also signed from Bristol City. Sian Rogers, Lucy Watson and Elisha N’Dow have all joined on loan for the season from WSL clubs. Captain Lauren Bruton has re-signed for another season with Charlton, as have Emma Follis and Ella Rutherford.

Coventry United's Merrick Will

Coventry United

Ground – Butts Park Arena CV1 3GE

Tickets - Home | Coventry United

Twitter - @CovUtdWomen

Manager – Lee Burch

Last season – 11th WC

Players joined - Cara Milne-Redhead (Seton Hall), Mia Smith (Watford), Merrick Will (Oxford United), Meesha Dudley-Jones (Bridgwater United), Ebony Wiseman, Rosetta Taylor, Hayley Hoare (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Simran Jhamat (Bristol City), Evie Gane (Portsmouth), Arabella Suttie (Birmingham City), Megan Alexander (Oxford United) and Jodie Bartle (Celtic).

Players left - Anna Colville, Becky McGrother, Mollie Green, Olivia Clark, Phoebe Warner, Lucy Thomas, Grace Riglar, Katie Wilkinson, Naomi Hartley, Olivia Fergusson, Nat Johnson and Destiney Toussaint.

After completing ‘the great escape’ at the end of last season and staying up in the Championship thanks to Mollie Green’s late free kick, there have been a lot of changes at Coventry United over the summer. Jay Bradford left as manager at the end of May. Then it was announced that the club would move to a part-time set up for this season following further financial concerns.

Lee Burch was appointed as new manager having previously been in charge at Millwall Lionesses, Yeovil Town and London Bees in the top two divisions. Sian Osmond is the new assistant head coach and has worked with Burch previously at London Bees and then managing them herself. They also changed name to Coventry United Women. A lot of the players from last season left the club over the summer but Burch has brought in 12 new players including Jodie Bartle who returns to the club, Merrick Will, Evie Gane and Arabella Suttie.

Crystal Palace captain Annabel Johnson

Crystal Palace

Ground – Hayes Lane BR2 9EF (Clubs main ground – Selhurst Park SE25 6PU)

Tickets - Buy Tickets: Crystal Palace Ticketing (

Twitter - @cpfc_w

Manager – Dean Davenport

Last season – 4th WC

Players joined - Fran Kitching (Sheffield United), Fliss Gibbons (Brighton & Hove Albion), Chloe Arthur (Aston Villa), Anna Filbey (Charlton Athletic), Rianna Dean (Liverpool), Annabel Blanchard (Blackburn Rovers), Kirsten Reilly (Rangers), Natalia Negri (Charlton Athletic), Paige Bailey-Gayle (Leicester City), Hollie Olding (Charlton Athletic), Ellie Noble (Lewes), Elise Hughes (Charlton Athletic), Polly Doran (Melbourne Victory) and Shauna Guyatt (Chelsea). Loan deal - Chloe Peplow (Reading).

Players left - Bianca Baptiste, Hannah Churchill, Grace Coombs, Leanne Cowan, Millie Farrow, Sophie McLean, Kate Natkiel, Siobhan Wilson and Chloe Morgan.

Crystal Palace finished in their highest ever league position last season and will be looking to improve on that. The Eagles have made some impressive signings over the summer including Scottish international Chloe Arthur, Jamaican international Paige Bailey-Gayle and Fliss Gibbons from WSL clubs as well as Chloe Peplow on loan from Reading.

Rianna Dean has joined having been part of the Liverpool squad that won the Championship last season, and she was also with Tottenham when they won this level in 2018/19. A lot of players that have signed have experience of playing in the Championship including Annabel Blanchard, Anna Filbey and Elise Hughes. Amongst those still at the club are Molly Sharpe and last seasons Player of the Year Aimee Everett.

Durham's Beth Hepple


Ground – Maiden Castle DH1 3SE

Tickets - Durham Women FC (

Twitter - @DurhamWFC

Manager – Lee Sanders

Last season – 6th WC

Players joined - Georgia Robert (Sheffield United), Tatiana Saunders (Lewes), Jess Clarke (Sheffield United), Saoirse Noonan (Shelbourne) and Maria Farrugia (Sunderland).

Players left - Abby Holmes, Nicki Gears, Kathryn Hill and Danielle Brown.

Durham announced earlier in the summer that they were turning to a full-time operating model from this season. Lee Sanders has sign Georgia Roberts, Tatiana Saunders, Jess Clarke and Maria Farrugia from other Championship sides and Saoirse Noonan has joined from Shelbourne who play in the Women’s National League in the Republic of Ireland. #

Last season’s Player of the Yeah and captain Sarah Wilson has signed a new contract with the club, as has Beth Hepple who scored 14 goals in all competitions during the 2021/22 season.


Ground – The Dripping Pan BN7 2XA

Tickets - Buy tickets for Lewes Football Club (

Twitter - @LewesFCWomen

Manager – Scott Booth

Last season – 8th WC

Players joined - Josie Longhurst (Brighton & Hove Albion), Emily Kraft (FFC Frankfurt), Sophie Whitehouse (Bristol City), Amber-Keegan Stobbs (Watford), Nat Johnson (Coventry United) and Libby Copus-Brown (Newcastle Olympic). Loan Deal - Emma Thompson (Chelsea)

Players left – Zoe Cross, Georgia Timms, Lucy Ashworth-Clifford, Shanell Salgado, Tatiana Saunders, Freda Ayisi, Ini Umotong, Nicola Cousins, Sophie O’Rourke, Heidi Logan, Ellie Noble, Lea Cordier and Izzy Collins.

Lewes appointed Scott Booth as their new manager in May. The former Scotland international had previously managed Glasgow City and had a short spell at Birmingham last season in the WSL. Whilst he was at Glasgow City, they won six consecutive league titles, two Scottish Cups, one Scottish League Cup and reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League in 2020. Natalie Haigh was announced as new assistant manager in August. Amongst those staying with Lewes include Northern Ireland international Rebecca McKenna, who also won the clubs Player of the Season award for last season, and Paula Howells who won the Supporter’s Player of the Year. New signings include Welsh international Josie Longhurst, goalkeeper Sophie Whitehouse and experienced defender Nat Johnson.

London City Lionesses

Ground – Princes Park DA1 1RT

Tickets - TICKETS | Lionesses (

Twitter - @LC_Lionesses

Manager – Melissa Phillips

Last season – 2nd WC

Players joined - Lois Joel (West Ham United), Millie Farrow (Crystal Palace), Lois Heuchan (Charlton Athletic), Lucy Shepherd (Washington Spirit), Hermione Cull (Arsenal) and Sarah Ewens (Birmingham City).

Players left - Hannah Short, Lily Pursey, Kenni Thompson, Annie Rossiter, Alli Muprhy, Mollie Rouse and Brooke Nunn.

London City Lionesses finished as runners-up to Liverpool in the Championship last season and will be looking to go one step better this time. Amongst those Melissa Phillips has brought in are Lois Joel from WSL side West Ham, Millie Farrow who won the Championship with Leicester in 2021, and Sarah Ewens who scored 64 goals in 98 appearances for Celtic between 2016 and 2021.

Players still at the club from last season include Amy Rodgers, Rianna Jarrett, Lily Agg, Jamie-Lee Napier, Hayley Nolan and Atlanta Primus.

Sheffield United captain Sophie Barker

Sheffield United

Ground – Bramall Lane S2 4SU

Tickets - Buy Tickets: Sheffield United Ticketing (

Twitter – @sufc_women

Manager – Neil Redfearn

Last season – 7th WC

Players joined - Rachel Brown (Nottingham Forest), Sophie Haywood (Aston Villa), Bethan Davies (Huddersfield Town), Naomi Hartley (Coventry United) and Grace Rigler (Coventry United). Loan deals - Marie Francis-Jones (dual registration Manchester City) and Sophie Barker (Leicester City)

Players left - Sophie Walton, Kasia Lipka, Matilda Taylor, Sam Sharrocks, Fran Kitchen, Lucy Watson, Ocean Rolandsen, Jess Clarke, Georgie Robert, Jess Reavill and Sophie Bradley-Auckland

A lot of Neil Redfearn’s squad from last season have stayed at the club as they look to push on from finishing seventh last time around. Player of the Season and top goalscorer Courtney Sweetman-Kirk has signed a new contract with The Blades, as have Maddy Cusack, Mia Enderby and Althea Paul.

Sophie Haywood has joined from Aston Villa having won the Championship with them in 2020, Naomi Hartley re-joins Sheffield United after spending a season at Coventry United and Grace Rigler also joins from the West Midlands side. Former captain Sophie Barker has re-joined the club on loan from Leicester. The club announced over the summer that they will be playing all their games this season at Bramall Lane.


Ground – St Mary’s Stadium SO14 5FP

Tickets - SOUTHAMPTON FC | Women's fixtures | Southampton FC

Twitter - @SouthamptonFC (Matchday - @SaintsFCWomen)

Manager – Marieanne Spacey-Cale

Last season – 1st WNL

Players joined - Paige Peake (Ipswich Town), Beth Lumsden (Oxford United), Sophie Harris (Leicester City), Megan Wynne (Charlton Athletic), Lexi Lloyd-Smith, Katie Wilkinson (Coventry United) and Ashleigh Ward (Actonians).

Players left - Alisha Ware, Caitlin Morris, Katie Rood, Kirsty Whitton, Sara Luce, Shannon Sievwright and Shelly Provan

Marieanne Spacey-Cale’s Southampton won promotion to the Championship after beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 in the National League Championship Play-Off Final. Most of that side have signed new contracts with the club after it turned professional in May.

Among those who stayed on include Sophia Pharoah, who scored the winning goal against Wolves, and Northern Ireland international Laura Rafferty who has also played for Chelsea, Brighton and Bristol City in the WSL. Among the new players are Megan Wynne who won the Championship with Spurs, and forward Katie Wilkinson who has experience at this level with Aston Villa, London Bees, Sheffield United and Coventry United.

Sunderland's Emma Kelly


Ground – Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground DH5 9NA (Clubs main ground – Stadium of Light SR5 1SU)

Tickets - Home - eTickets (

Twitter - @SAFCWomen

Manager – Melanie Reay

Last season – 9th WC

Players joined - Abby Holmes (Durham), Nicki Gears (Durham), Danielle Brown (Durham), Tyler Dodds (Glasgow City) and Brianna Westrup (Rangers)

Players left - Eva Blakey, Maria Farrugia and Daisy Burt

Sunderland finished ninth in their first season in the Championship after getting promoted. In May, they rebranded to Sunderland Women. Not that many changes in players with only five in and three out and the majority of last season’s squad having sign new contracts. Captain n, Emily Scarr, Emma Kelly and Louise Griffiths.

Joining the club are Abby Holmes, Nicki Gears and Player of the Season award winner Keira Ramshaw is still with the club as are Neve Herroand Danielle Brown who all come from Durham, or in Holmes and Brown’s cases re-join the club. Tyler Dodds has joined from Glasgow City (another to return to the club) and Scotland international Brianna Westrup has signed from Rangers after captaining them to the Scottish title last season.

The Women's Championship kicks off on Saturday 20th August at 12:30pm when Southampton host Charlton Athletic at St. Mary's Stadium. All other fixtures will be played on Sunday 21st August.

All matches will be shown live on the FA Player.

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