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Tipton's progressive first season
 Women's Football News 12 Jun 2008
Tipton's progressive first season - 12 Jun 2008 - Women's Football NewsFor many teams just starting out on the women's football circuit, the only goal is to get through the season, hopeful with results which do not resemble rugby scores, but for one new Midlands club - Tipton Town - it has been a very successful first season which has gone from strength to strength as they clinched a third place finish in the club's first Birmingham County League Division Two campaign.
Tipton's race for promotion went down to the final game against rivals Rubery Ladies but, with Tipton only needing to win or draw to guarantee promotion into Division One, lady luck was not shining on their side and they were pipped at the final hurdle after going down 6-2, which saw Rubery claim the second promotion spot at their expense.
Tipton started off the season with nothing - no manager, no playing kit, no club sponsors and no clue. However, hard work from a bunch of plucky girls orchestrated around club woman of the year Susan Albrighton has paid dividends. Over the course of the season the pieces of the jigsaw fell into place, first gaining a coach in the form of Paul Harrison, then in came a sponsor in the form of Concord Markets of Sedgley and Brierley Hill. The team won half of its fourteen league matches, drawing one and losing the rest which led them to a third place finish. They even lost their playing facilities midway through the season when the pitch at Tipton's Sports Academy subsided, but thankfully the playing surface was repaired quite quickly and the club only missed a few home games.
Faye Harrison and Susan Albrighton successfully undertook their Level One FA coaching course last September, so the club now has a number of qualified coaches and a greater insight into football and how running a football team should be done. The shortage of referees is a major problem for many clubs, so Susan Albrighton took on the task of becoming a referee by taking up the whistle. She explained: "We were having so many problems trying to book a qualified referee for our matches that I thought I would take the bull by the horns and do it myself. I passed my exam in April and will start games under assessment in September, so I hope to be fully qualified before the end of the year."
For Tipton's first end of season presentation evening, for which Concord Markets kindly donated a Wii and an Ipod for the raffle, the club was honoured and privileged to receive a visit from Midlands personality Tony Butler from BBC Radio West Midlands, who came along and assisted the club in celebrating a job well done. On the night, Kiren Rana took the top goalscorer's accolade after hitting 19 goals, Players' Player of the Year went to Joanne Parkes while Gemma Moore received the Manager's Player of the Year award. Other awards on the night saw Lorraine Hughes named as Best Team Player and Claire Bolton clinching the Most Improved Player's accolade while Best Newcomer was awarded to Tyler Russell. To cap a marvellous first season for Tipton, Susan Albrighton added to her Clubwoman of the Year award by picked up an award from the Birmingham County FA for her contribution to women's football.
The County Football Workforce Awards were held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham alongside the Grassroots Football Show, where Susan also managed to meet the person who inspired her to get into football in the first place - England and Arsenal star Kelly Smith.
The club now how has it's own website at www.tiptontownladiesfc.co.uk to keep all of its supporters and followers up to date with news about what's happening next at the developing club. Tipton Town embark on summer tournaments before they kick off again in September for the 2008-09 season, but this time they will be looking forward in the hope of going one better. Twelve months on and having started with nothing, Tipton Town Ladies will start their second season full of confidence.
(Glenn Lawrence Media)
Photo: Tipton Town's Susan Albrighton pictured with Kelly Smith (Tipton Town LFC).

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