Premier League

Tottenham’s wait for silverware rumbles on but progress cannot be ignored

Bethany England

At the start of the 2023/24 season, few could have predicted Tottenham Hotspur would be 90 minutes away from their first piece of major silverware in the women’s game.

After three comfortable mid-table finishes in their first few seasons in the Women’s Super League, Spurs found themselves in the thick of a relegation battle last term. As a result, in March last year, previous manager Rehanne Skinner was sacked after her side suffered nine straight defeats in the WSL.

Vicky Jepson took charge on an interim basis until the end of the campaign, steering the Lilywhites to safety as Reading were the side to ultimately succumb to the drop. The January arrival of Bethany England significantly aided Spurs’ chances of survival, but they sailed far too close to the wind for the club and supporter’s liking.

As a result, the summer incited plenty of change, including the appointment of former BK Hacken coach Robert Vilahamn. Shrewd recruitment and the introduction of an exciting style of play that offers the players greater freedom propelled the club to new heights this term – culminating in their first ever Women’s FA Cup final.

In Manchester United, however, Spurs faced a team they have never beaten before. In their previous 12 meetings, the Red Devils had won 10 of those games, drawing only twice.

A 4-0 loss against United in December was very nearly rectified only a matter of weeks ago when Vilahamn’s side snatched points off them for the first time since 2021 with a 2-2 draw at Leigh Sports Village. Spurs came from behind to lead 2-1, before a stoppage time goal from Maya Le Tissier meant things ended all square.

The result would have given Spurs plenty of optimism to cause an upset in the final. Despite being underdogs, they’d also knocked out Manchester City en route to Wembley and other WSL opposition in Leicester City.

Bethany England

Tottenham captain Bethany England during the FA Cup final defeat to Manchester United / Julian Finney/GettyImages

All Spurs lacked heading into Sunday’s showpiece under the Wembley arch was experience and that proved to be decisive on the day.

United had been there just 12 months previous. They’d already experienced the heartbreak of losing a final when they were overcome 1-0 by Sam Kerr and Chelsea.

Determined not to suffer the same fate this time around, it didn’t take United long to gain full control of proceedings over the weekend. After a flurry of missed chances, the Red Devils ended the first half with a one-goal advantage,…

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