Column: West Ham captain Gilly Flaherty on returning to action in 2021

Arfa/West Ham United

West Ham Women's captain Gilly Flaherty in training - Credit: Arfa/West Ham United

As we prepare for our first match of 2021, it feels like a long time since we had the chance to step out and play a competitive fixture, following what has been a strange and difficult period.

It has been over a month since our last match, after two postponements and the festive break, and we are all excited to be back out on the pitch, competing for points once again. 

I think there was a lot of hope across the globe, when the Covid-19 pandemic began in early 2020, that by the time 2021 came around we would be in a much stronger position.

Sadly, as we all know, the battle against coronavirus is ongoing.

Those of us based at Chadwell Heath saw the impact the virus can have, when a small handful of individuals tested positive towards the end of last year.

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All of us, from all walks of life, must continue to follow the guidance from the league and the government, and work together to get through these difficult times. 

A new year brings new beginnings on the pitch, however, and on behalf of the squad I would like to welcome our new manager, Olli Harder, to the club. 

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We’ve had the opportunity over the last fortnight to work closely with Olli and get a good grip on his style and philosophy, and every single person involved with the team is excited for what the future holds.

This weekend’s match is the first in a new era for the West Ham United women’s team and we cannot wait to get going. 

It was against Tottenham Hotspur that we opened the 2020/21 season back in September, in what was a hard-fought and physical fixture.

I think we were very unlucky to not take the three points that day and, while neither side has enjoyed the first half of the season that we hoped for, we know this match is a huge opportunity to begin the new year in the best possible way; with a big performance and three points. 

From everyone at West Ham United, I would like to wish you a safe and healthy 2021, and hope you enjoy this weekend’s game, live on the FA Player. 


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