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Arsenal manager Vic Akers has hailed his side's 1-0 victory over Everton as the highlight of his career.
Speaking to www.arsenal.com, Vic praised his players on the magnitude of the achievement of claiming their sixth successive league title. "This one is massive," he said. "It's probably the highlight of what has been a marvellous 22 years for us. To go there and win under those difficult circumstances is probably one of our greatest achievements. I think the way this one had to be won has been the most pleasing. I think teams have avoided playing us until we have lost players. They obviously thought that was their best chance at winning the league. But sadly for them it has turned out to their detriment. It has been an outstanding achievement for our girls to have gone there, played and hung on."
On comparisons with the 2007 UEFA Women's Cup triumph, Vic replied: "I have always said that I felt the European Cup was beyond us. But when we achieved that was a marvellous year and we can't make light of that because it's unlikely another team will repeat that feat in women's football. But the fact is that this has been our toughest year because we've had people come and go from minute one. This achievement speaks volumes of the group that I've had around me, the character has been fantastic. It's not about managers, it's about players and I've been fortunate enough to bring some great players into this football club.
"The one that has really come into her own is the girl Gilly Flaherty. She has stepped in at centre back and has been outstanding in the two months she has been there. She's won three medals and for her that will be a real plus in her career. I think she will go on to win major honours in the game.
"Of course there are the two Scottish girls as well. We've had the girl Natalie Ross out for most of the season with a chronic ankle injury and she's one who will be a big player in the future. Then there's Kim Little who we know all about. She's a great player at only 18 years of age and she's tied into the football club for three years."
Vic was not present at the Everton game due to his kit manager duties with Arsenal but still managed to follow the game as it happened. "It was tense, very tense," he admitted. "I was on the phone from 2pm onwards and had every opportunity to get information. After 13 minutes I heard that we'd scored and I remember thinking 'this could be too early'. Obviously I had reports that we were hanging on a bit and we were under lots of pressure. The girls were still hanging in there and it just developed.
"John Terry was coming off the pitch after the warm-up and I'd just that second heard that we'd won. He's quite knowledgeable, I know him well, he's a fantastic lad and he asked how the girls were getting on. I told him we had just won and he said congratulations. Which was lovely, he was thinking about the girls when he was just walking off the pitch."
The win completed another domestic 'treble' for Arsenal and Vic was able to reflect on another successful campaign for the club. "Every year we set out to win as many senior trophies as we can that's par for the course at the Club. Our first disappointment was way back in October when we went out of Europe - that was one out the door. But our aims then were the three domestic trophies. At the back of my mind I knew the girls were going to go [to America] at some point and we felt then, knowing we hadn't played Everton in the League at that point, it would be a big task.
"We knew we had that fantastic goal difference which was like a point for us. At the end of the day we managed to go to Everton on the last day and win. It's a fantastic achievement and the treble is another part of Arsenal Ladies' history."
The match also marked Vic's last in charge of the team and he admitted that it would be tough to step down as manager after 22 years at the helm "You don't spend 20-odd years of your life devoting yourself to something in an unpaid capacity," he said. "It's a love for me, it's a personal thing which I've carried through. I'm not walking away from it, I'll still be General Manager, and we'll try and improve as many areas as we can. We have to make sure we build a team ready for next season.
"The Club have been fantastic in what they've done for me from day one when I asked David Dein if we could run a Ladies football team. At that point it was almost an unknown so for him to agree that with the Board was the start of the Ladies Football Club. We've just worked on from there so now we have a 22-year history of success. We need to keep that going now and hope the Club is as successful in the next 20-odd years."
(courtesy of www.arsenal.com)
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