Lou Fern is manager of the New Milton Town Football Club Ladies team who recently got promoted to the Premier Division after winning the Southern Region Women's Football League Division One.

She recalled her initial feelings on the promotion, and a general aim for the next few seasons. 

"We were very excited about being promoted this year into the new division. We think for next season we would be happy to just establish ourselves within that division, and maybe push on for promotion the year after."

Already she is thinking of how to tackle the upcoming season in a new division, including the further distances they'll need to travel. 

Manager Lou Fern with head coach Mark Joyce
"We have to go further next year. I think our furthest one is a 2 1/2 hour travel there and back.We'll have access to a minibus next year, so we'll probably look to use that on the away trips." 

Continuing on the upcoming season, Lou mentions what her ambitions and aims are: "I think we just have to try and establish ourselves to compete this year in this division for a few seasons." 

Further explaining this Lou reiterated on one particular fact, "We are new to this and aren't sure what to expect," This simply means that the team need to make a name for themselves and get used to the new level of competition that comes along with the Premier Division. 

Adding to these were some aspects she believes her team needs to improve on. "I think we need to focus on having more clean sheets. Also to be better defensively." She then added, "We always score a lot of goals, but tend to let a couple in as well." 

In terms of who she thinks New Milton's toughest opponent, it was a simple answer, "I'm thinking Oxford City could be our toughest opponent next season because they have finished runners up for 3 years running." 

She went on to explain how Oxford will want to right the three years they've missed out on a promotion, as it was three years where they have been so close to the promotion. 

As for changing grounds from when they were AFC Boscombe, to New Milton's grounds at Fawcetts Field, she had plenty to say. "It's always conducive to football to have a better ground, not just for the playing surface, but the facilities that we have at Fawcetts Field are really good for this area." 

She agreed to the statement that having a better home ground has helped the team improve. On the topic of being New Milton Town Football Club instead of Boscombe AFC, Lou agreed that being at the new club had attracted new players, "Yes, I would say so. Not by a huge amount," and then going on to further develop her answer, "It's certainly gotten our names out there." 

When the topic of women's football throughout the UK was brought up, Lou had a positive opinion on the matter. When asked if she believed it was still gaining more attention in recent months than at this time last year, her reply agreed with our statement, "Possibly. It's very well increasing as we have the women's Euros coming up this summer which always brings women's football into the spotlight. More and more people are interested in watching and interested in getting involved." 

When the woman's football league was first created, it was extremely small so at first teams who weren't necessarily preforming at top level were in the top divisions. 

As more teams have joined the league, it's become more competitive and the teams have started to play a lot better. However, some teams were not where they should be in the league due to ability. When asked if she thought the divisions were becoming more fair in terms of teams being where they should, Lou dished out a handful of words. "We'd like to think so, yes." 

"I've seen the authorities, the people who run the league are starting to know that actually they do have to relegate some people and they do need to promote some teams" 

Last year New Milton had a stop-start season, with many of their matches being cancelled. When asked for her thoughts of a possible continuous season next season, Lou shared what was on her mind, "Yes, let's hope so"

"Most of the teams we are going to play are pushing for a promotion and quite ambitious." 

Due to this, Lou is a little more optimistic about the idea of a continuous upcoming season compared to last season. The New Milton Town Football Club Ladies team do have a friendly coming up. They'll be playing against Southampton Women on August 13th. Lou also disclosed that the New Milton Ladies held trials on Wednesday July 5th for the reserve team.

12 July 2017 - Holly Ankers