It’s been a whirlwind of a 12 months since the ‘Gas Girls’ officially launched this time last year.
As Co-Founder and First Team Manager, Nathan Hallett-Young has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure that Bristol Rovers Women’s are setting the highest standards possible to help us progress in the future. The season may not have concluded in the way we all expected but the work doesn’t stop now as we spoke to Nathan who continues his preparations for the next campaign.
GG: Hi Nathan. Let’s address the elephant in the room first of all. How frustrating was it to hear that our season had been declared null and void??
NHY: Very frustrating, everyone involved with the club have put so much effort in this season, the girls had been excellent on and off the pitch and deserved to be rewarded as league champions. Being unbeaten and only needing 2 points from a possible 12 to be crowned champions showed everyone how good we were and it was incredibly gutting for the season to end this way, however the safety and well-being of our wider community and the country is more important than football right now.
GG: It’s been a year since we officially launched the Club. It’s fair to say it’s flown by. How do you feel when you look back on what has been achieved??
NHY: I have a massive sense of pride seeing where the club is today. So much effort had been put in behind the scenes to get to where we are now. A driving factor to the reforming of the club was to raise female participation within our community, we’ve exceeded massively with this and every target we have set, the future is really looking bright for us.
GG: Teething problems are natural when a new Club is formed but what has been the biggest challenge to date?
NHY: I think the transition between the two squads, with development players coming in to the first team this season and a minor difference in preferred playing style with both myself and Abbie, can be a little difficult for players to adapt to quickly, however this is something we’re aware of and working on to improve for next season.
GG: We’re currently in the process of laying the foundations for the Club for the years to come and one of those elements will be our “Philosophy”. How would you describe our culture and playing style?
NHY: We implemented a commitment – based culture within the club from the off, outlining the values and the standards of a ‘Gas Girl’. This has really benefited us with keeping very high standards on and off the pitch. Our playing style can be described as a possession style of attacking with varied and unpredictable team and individual play. Personally, I think the girls
have really taken to our philosophy and enjoy playing the gas girls way as we’re always looking to take the game to our opponents.
GG: Out of all of the victories, which match was probably the most enjoyable this season?
NHY: Forest Green in the GFA County Cup, for multiple reasons. It was our first home game, our first chance to show our fans what we’re all about and the girls really did me proud. As a manager it’s not often you can relax during a game however this was an exception as everything was perfect. I often refer to it as our pinnacle of performance for this season as the
patterns and interplay was a joy to watch.
GG: There’s plenty of planning going on behind the scenes already, in preparation for next season and beyond. What’s currently in the pipeline?
NHY: I think with the season ending the way it did, we all felt a little down that we couldn’t deliver the silverware to our fans. that we wanted, however we’ve picked ourselves up and realised that this is a good opportunity for us to continue to develop and get a leg up on the competition next season. We’ve had a brilliant season however this is now the bench mark for us to go and better ourselves, we’re working on various different things to improve the club on and off the pitch, so watch out because we’re going to be flying out of this isolation period.
GG: There have been plenty but what has been your biggest highlight this season?
NHY: Although we’ve had brilliant score lines and so many successful games I think my biggest highlight of the season is how the squad has grown to be such a tight knit group. We’re like a family and it has really shown when we’re on the pitch, despite what’s going on, we stick together and come out in the best position.
(reproduced with the kind permission of Bristol Rovers Womens’ FC)