Billericay Town Ladies, a club going places

by Mystical Mike

Monday, July 21st, 2008
 

Good luck as the Blues take on the mighty West Ham

Just to prove it’s not all about us guys here at UKFF we interviewed Kerry Oldham of Billericay Town Ladies FC about womans football, the lifestyle, social scene and what it means to be a female footballer in todays society, she’s also a little cutie!

I always played sport as a child for as far back as I can remember. We were lucky to live in a cul-de-sac with a large green area in the middle for all the kids to congregate. Most of the other kids were boys and therefore the sport of choice was mostly football…with a little bit of tennis around Wimbledon time. As a child of the eighties however there were no football teams for girls to play in. I was allowed to play at primary school but only in friendly matches, and once I went up to secondary school football was out of the question. So I joined the local tennis club, Brentwood Hard Courts, and played as often as I could at school, playing on the school team every year. I don’t think at that time I considered playing sport my fitness or health, I was just a competitive child who enjoyed winning!

Kerry

I gave up tennis around age 16, when I became a Senior, sadly this seemed to bump up the cost for the training sessions and with my going off to art college it was unsustainable. There was a period of around 5 years when I was studying at college and university, during which time my health suffered greatly. A bad student diet and too much beer gained me a couple of stone which I could do without.At 21 when I came home from Uni leaving all my friends, and joining the ratrace I was at a bit of a loss socially and health wise. I knew I had put on weight and I wanted to make new friends but I hated the gym and found it a bit of a lonely task, which is why I decided to join a team. Football was the obvious choice and I quickly signed for Romford Ladies who at the time were the longest standing ladies football team in London. We competed in the Greater London League at the time. It was a wonderful way to make new friends, a couple of whom are still really close to me now. We would train on Tuesday nights and play our matches on Sunday afternoons. I had always found Sundays pretty boring but finally I had something to look forward to, it was great.I played at Romford for 4 seasons until I had to have a knee operation, this coincided with Romford Ladies folding and therefore my football ‘career’. My knee was quite painful so I decided to stop playing. This was quite hard to take, so I consoled myself with partying for the next 4 years! Back on the booze and bad diet I realised I had slipped back into my student ways. I tried going to the gym but just found it dull and too easy to drop out of. Without the team around me there was nothing to push and motivate me.So in 2006 at age 30, with my knee greatly improved thanks to the long rest, I decided it was time to try again. Myself and a few friends who had been playing at another club in the interim decided we would join Billericay Town Ladies run by Kim Coster (also the Essex Ladies coach), who at the time were competing in the Essex County Women’s League. This was the best move I’d ever made. I now find myself get ready to play against the team I have supported since I was 2 years old, it’s a dream come true to line up against West Ham!! Billericay LadiesIt took a little while to get my fitness back and I was very worried if, at 30 I would be able to compete at the level of the rest of the team. But with good training and hard work I felt comfortable and happy to be back on the pitch. The girls at the new team were very welcoming and we all became friends very quickly. It was so nice to be part of a team again.We won the league in 2007 and progressed to the Eastern Region Womens League which sits about 5 leagues below the Women’s National Premier League. In the 2007-08 season we finished fourth and hope this season to break through into the Premier Division. The team is beginning to flourish and with new players joining all the time the squad is gaining strength and momentum.I love playing for Billericay for so many reasons, it keeps me fit and it means I can meet up with my friends twice a week for lots of laughs as well as hard work. We all look out for each other on and off the field which is great, like a little social support group when you need it!Now both my young nieces play football thanks to a big drive by the Essex FA to get girls into football. Both are doing so well, I have already tried to sign them for Billericay! I only wish these clubs had been around when I was their age and I may have been able to develop my football to a higher level. Luckily girls’ football is taken much more seriously now and any girls should have no problem finding a local team. If they are unsure they can always use the UK’s best footy website to find local teams recruiting players. This site is brilliant and helps players of all ages and sex to find teams to join.For now I intend to play for as long as my little legs allow…fitness and health is much more important to me now and I can think of no better way to keep in shape and have fun.

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  • SarahJ

    nice to see you guys are giving us girls a chance, plus someone who actually plays footy and doesn’t just wear a kit!

    Good luck for the season Kerry & Billericay FC

    Girls footy rules and you guys better watch out!!

  • Timmy

    it’s true to say Womans football is no longer a joke, apart from the keepers of course. I would like to see how a very good ladies team would do against an average mens team. That would be very interesting indeed.

  • Kerry

    Hey Timmy….how average are we talking? Pub team are we? Beer bellies and jumpers for goal posts? 😉

  • Kerry

    Actually, I am only joking. My personal feeling is that the arguments about whether men and women can compete against eachother at football are a little irrelevent these days. No one would dispute that our physiology is very different and therefore this affects the type of football that is played. Most women footballers aren’t necessarily feminists who want to compete on the same level as men….we just want to compete at football and be respected as sportspeople who are simply in the same game as you guys. Let’s all respect eachother’s choices to play football and be supportive of eachother. Us women have supported the men’s teams for years – how about a little support for us?

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Darren

    I found this on wikipedia

    Women Banned in England and Scotland

    Despite being more popular than some men’s football events (one match saw a 53,000 strong crowd), women’s football in England and Scotland suffered a blow in 1921. The Football Association, in England, banned women from playing the game on Association members’ pitches, on the grounds that the game (as played by women) was distasteful. A similar decree was made by Scottish football authorities. Some speculated that these decisions may have been driven by envy of the large crowds that women’s matches attracted. The ban led to the formation of the English Ladies Football Association, and women’s football matches were moved to rugby grounds and park football pitches not affiliated to the FA. The ban limited public exposure for women’s football and slowed its growth, but did not stop it. Women’s football continued to draw dedicated players and fans.

  • http://aloadofcobblers.blogspot.com Danny Brothers

    Very nice article…the women’s game is growing by the year and the standard is definately on the up…the world cup saw some really good quality. Good luck for the season at Billericay!

  • Parks numero uno

    womens football has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. i play 5aside and im starting to see more women play.

    I’d like to wish all women players up and down the country all the very best for the coming season and beyond.

  • Timmy

    i would say its more like beer cans for goal posts with lots of big Fat Northerners smoking and farting. Wanna a game then?

  • Kerry

    Timmy – do you play for Newcastle United? 😉

  • Timmy

    ha ha, close pet, Hartlepool, Monkey Hangers are us!!

  • Parks numero uno

    i must admit that watching womens football has certain perks. from a male point of view,id rather watch 22 women running around in tight shorts than watching 22 men.

  • http://www.btfc.no Per-Helge

    Very interestering article! But I don’t belive a second that Kerry is over 30… 🙂 I’m the chairman of the norwegian supporters club for Billericay Town FC, and have alreday seen the ladies play three times. I’m over again in september, and it looks like I can get to se a cup game with the ladies team. Not sure if I should though, they have lost all the three games I’ve seen with them…

  • Kerry

    Hell Re-Helge, nice to hear from you! Yes we have our the preliminary round of the Women’s FA Cup in September as well as our first League Cup game. Please say hi if you manage to come over, we’d love to meet you and hopefully win for you this time. Can I ask – how did Billericay end up with a supporter’s club in Norway?

  • http://www.btfc.no Per-Helge

    I will be coming over the first weekend in september, watching a norwegian band (guys I know), playing at Riga Music Bar in Westclliff-On-Sea on friday 5th, watching Billericay Town playing Harrow Borough on saturday 6th, and now watching Billericay Town Ladies playing FA Cup on sunday 7th!

    I saw my first match with the ladies september 7th 2003, FA-Cup vs Southwark (lost 1-4), my second on april 10th 2005, league match away vs Bowers & Pitsea (lost 0-1) and my third on october 23th 2005 FA-Cup home vs Hastings (lost 1-6).

    How did Billericay end up with a supporter’s club in Norway?

    Ooh, that’s a very long story…

  • http://www.btfc.no Per-Helge

    Looks like you’re going to play away the sunday I’m there, against Hemel Hemptead. Any chance for a lift?

  • Quinton

    go on the ladies, good luck for the West Ham game!!

    xx

  • http://romfordladies.com Maureen Wilkins

    I used to play for Romford ladies back in the 70s, I have lots of information about them as they had a 21 years game, against the old team we won 1-0, I scored the winning goal, I have four Englnad certifictes, from the 70s , which they gave out , no england caps back then, email me mogsy56@hotmail.com and I can give you some more info.
    Maureen

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