Former England international Fara Williams has described the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 victory as “a real proud moment”.
Sarina Wiegman’s side beat Germany 2-1 in the final in front of a record-breaking crowd of 87,192 at Wembley, with Chloe Kelly scoring the winning goal in extra-time to secure England’s first-ever European Championship title.
The route to Wembley saw the Lionesses finish top of Group A, leading to a difficult quarter-final against Spain, before they progressed and thrashed Sweden 4-0 in the last four, setting up a mouth-watering showpiece against the eight-time Euro winners.
Williams, who was speaking on behalf of M&S Food’s Eat Well, Play Well campaign, is England’s most capped player of all-time with 172, and admitted although she was “itching a little bit” to stick her boots back on, the tournament was a proud moment for her.
“Don’t get me wrong the opening game at Old Trafford (there were) goosebumps and everything, hairs standing up, my feet were itching a little bit but I was more proud to be stood there,” she told the PA news agency.
“One, being able to be a part of the BBC punditry team for the Euros and having that opportunity, but two, just to see how far the women’s game has come and developed, how many fans have come out to support them throughout the tournament, which is a real proud moment for somebody who has played the game for so long and to see where it’s at now.
“The game deserves what it had throughout the Euros and hopefully we can continue that beyond the summer we just had.”
The women’s football season is beginning to get back under way with the Championship opening at the weekend and the Super League starting in September, with plenty of Euro 2022 stars set to return to club action.
Some WSL clubs have already reported a growth in season-ticket sales, such as Aston Villa who confirmed they had seen a 108 per cent increase due to England’s Euro success, and Williams is hopeful that the Lionesses’ achievement can continue to have an impact throughout the women’s football pyramid.
“I think pretty much all of the WSL teams in terms of their season-ticket sales have increased a good percentage, so I think that’s positive,” she added.
“It might be the buzz of the Euros, hopefully they attend those tickets they bought and they’re at a price where if you don’t go, it probably wouldn’t matter because the price of buying a season ticket in the women’s game isn’t that expensive.
“I’m hoping that although it’s bought with the buzz of the Euros, it’s also bought because they want to continue to support the game and grow the game.
“I certainly think that local teams now will get more support, I’ve seen my local team Dorking Women they get quite a few supporters down there as well.
“I know Calum Best, he’s chairman there of the women, he has a part and obviously that helps them, but certainly since the Euros they’ve had an increase in terms of the fans and they’re lower down in terms of the pyramid, so that’s positive.”
:: Fara Williams is working with M&S Food’s Eat Well, Play Well campaign, offering kids the chance to win a training masterclass with the England teams. Go to marksandspencer.com/football to find out more.
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