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New News: flagship news is vital for the growth of women’s game

October 22nd, 2012 by · No Comments · Features, Football

England and Arsenal Full Back, Steph Houghton

Steph Houghton was heading down a motorway when the BBC’s 10pm news entered its final few minutes but she soon learned that the running order contained a cause for celebration.

When Huw Edwards turned his attention to football, he announced news of the England women’s team’s qualification for next summer’s European Championship in Sweden before reading out Wednesday evening’s Champions League results.

At the time, Arsenal’s Houghton was travelling back to London from Walsall where she had played left-back in the England side who, by beating Croatia 3-0, secured a Euro 2013 place. As her thoughts turned to the day job and the prospect of Arsenal potentially clinching the FA Women’s Super League side title at home to Liverpool on Sunday, Edwards’s words possibly reminded viewers just how much they had enjoyed watching a Great Britain team, featuring six Arsenal Ladies, during this summer’s Olympics.

“It’s really good to hear we were mentioned ahead of the Champions League news, ahead of Chelsea and Manchester United,” Houghton says. “The Olympics showed everybody we can play at a good level. Hopefully, it changed a few perceptions.”

Houghton views promoting the WSL, which runs from April to October and is now approaching the end of its second season, as part of a wider mission to raise the female game’s profile and it was no surprise when she recently became a digital ambassador for the League. The eight ambassadors – one from each WSL team – wear club shirts bearing the names of their Twitter accounts. With her Arsenal kit duly adorned with Stephhoughton2 supporters, many of whom follow the League’s coverage on ESPN, are actively encouraged to get in touch. “Twitter’s brilliant,” she says. “It allows us to talk to fans and gets them to games.”

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