Manchester City women edge Manchester United in front of 31 000

Ross Houston
September 10, 2019

For the first time Manchester United are part of a 12-team top-tier, making up England's largest ever professional women's league, and start with a local derby on Saturday that will be held at Manchester City's Etihad stadium. The AP reports Chelsea's match against Tottenham on Sunday could draw even more thanks to all tickets for the 40,000-capacity Stamford Bridge having been distributed for free.

"I hope that's not just for the first game".

City's big day demolished the previous WSL record of 5,265, set last season when Arsenal clinched the title.

"We can be cynical about paying for tickets, but I'm not going to criticise it because we've built on the momentum of the World Cup, the scheduling of the game, the timing of the game, we built on it".

Summer season signings Mary Earps, Abbie McManus, Jackie Groenen, Lotta Okvist, Jane Ross and Hayley Ladd went straight into the United line-up, while City gave a first originate up to Aoife Mannion.

He said: "Naturally derbies are really competitive games because locally we want our fans to see our team as the dominant team in the city".

These are buoyant times for women's football in the United Kingdom, following a World Cup where England captured the imagination of millions on their way to the semi-finals.

What were the weekend's WSL attendances?

Walsh, a lifelong City fan, told the PA news agency: "I think all the girls are really looking forward to it".

The Football Association has shrewdly looked to grasp the sense of positivity by staging showpiece fixtures at some of England's premier venues on this opening weekend of the WSL season.

Houghton is hopeful plenty of those who revelled in derby delight will follow the team back across Alan Turing Way to their usual home at the City Football Academy.

"We're starting with a home game in front of a sell-out crowd, which is dreamland for us, and we're doing that on the back of this entire football club working so hard to make it happen", said Chelsea manager Emma Hayes on Thursday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, manager of Manchester United's men's team, was there to support his club on their WSL debut, with Bristol City also attracting support from their men's team with Benik Afobe and Kasey Palmer both in the crowd of 3,041 at Ashton Gate to watch their female counterparts.

Later in the season West Ham will host a game at the London Stadium and Tottenham will host the first-ever north London derby at their new ground, wouldn't it be incredible if we could keep up these record-breaking attendances? "She's got charisma, she's got good hold-up play, she can finish left and right foot, she has personality in the dressing room".

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