Everton have announced a restructuring of their women’s team that will mirror the strategic vision of the men’s team, in a bid to push the team on to compete for silverware.
The club have confirmed that Willie Kirk’s side will be supported by “an injection of increased resources for squad development”, as well as a new Strategic Leadership Team.
Everton CEO, Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale will head up the team as its chair, with director Sasha Ryazantsev to act as managing director while Sarvar Ismailov, the club’s global partnerships consultant, will become the women’s team’s first ever sporting and commercial director.
Kirk’s team will also benefit in other areas, including in access to commercial opportunities, increased marketing and promotion, media and digital coverage and in having a better connection to the club’s community programmes.
The increased resources for squad development come in the form of additional funds for scouting and recruitment, with glimpses into such increased support having already been seen in the winter transfer window.
Kirk added Izzy Christiansen, Sandy MacIver and Hayley Raso to his squad at the turn of the year – three signings that the manager told Goal “made a statement” to the rest of the Women’s Super League.
“We just wanted to go strengthen when we were doing well,” he said, “which I think is the best time to strengthen.”
The club then moved to a new purpose-built stadium at Walton Hall Park last month, relocating from their previous home in Southport to their own ground in the centre of Liverpool.
The next steps are now being made as Everton focus on challenging for major honours.
Despite being considered one of the best teams outside of the established ‘big three’ of Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, the Toffees haven’t won a major trophy since they lifted the FA Women's Cup in 2010.
“This football club has played a significant role in the development of the women’s game,” Barrett-Baxendale said.
“As well as winning a host of domestic silverware and playing in European competitions, Everton has produced a number of women’s players that have gone on to represent their countries with distinction at major tournaments.
“Our ‘one club’ vision is a clear symbol of togetherness and unity.
“We have already taken the progressive and significant steps of bringing our men’s and women’s teams closer together in identity and location, with them both using the state-of-the-art facilities at USM Finch Farm.
“We will now build on the foundations for success – with a clear focus on competing for honours with the elite of women’s football.”