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Bristol Academy Women's Football Club is an English women's football club affiliated with Bristol Rovers and the Bristol Academy of Sport, based at Filton College.

History[]

The team as it is now was founded in 1998, following a merger between the Bristol Rovers girls' teams and Welsh side Cable-Tel L.F.C.. This merger came about because up until this point Bristol Rovers only had girls teams up to the under 16 age group level, so when girls reached the age of 16 they were forced to leave the club. The merger with Cable-Tel meant that Bristol Rovers now had a senior squad, and more importantly it gave them a place in the South West Combination league, only two levels below the top flight of women's football in England. This new merged team took the name Bristol Rovers W.F.C. and played their home games at The Beeches, the location of the training ground and administrative offices of Bristol Rovers.

The name of the club was changed to Bristol Academy at the beginning of the 2005-06 season to reflect the added investment and commitment of the Bristol Academy of Sport, although it was decided that the team should continue to wear the Bristol Rovers kit and keep using their existing nickname of The Gas Girls.

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Bristol Academy playing Birmingham City in 2006

The team, like their male counterparts, have been somewhat nomadic since their formation, having played home matches at The Beeches, Yate Town's Lodge Road ground, Mangotsfield United's Cossham Street, Bristol Rovers' Memorial Stadium, Fry's Sports Ground in Keynsham, The Hand Stadium in Clevedon, Bishop Sutton[1] and Almondsbury Town's Oaklands Park.

League history[]

It took just two seasons to gain promotion to the FA Women's Premier League Southern Division, when they won the South West Combination in the 2000-01 season with Dave Bell managing the team to this success. After this Bell left the club to join the academy set-up at Manchester United, and was replaced by Tony Ricketts.

Tony Ricketts also achieved league success, with the team winning the Southern Division in the 2002-03 season and earning promotion to the FA Women's Premier League National Division. The first season in the top flight was a struggle, with the team narrowly avoiding relegation, but the team have firmly established themselves in the National Division with two fifth place finishes in the following two seasons and fourth in 2007-08.

Cup history[]

In the short history of the team they have reached the semi-final of the FA Women's Cup four times. The first was in the 2000-01 season when they were still playing their league football in the South West Combination, playing in front of a club record crowd of over 3000 at the Memorial Stadium against Arsenal. The match ended in a 3-0 defeat. Three more unsuccessful semi-final matches were to follow in this competition, with Fulham in 2002-03 , Charlton Athletic in the 2004-05 season and Arsenal again providing the opposition in 2006-07.

The most successful competition for Bristol Rovers/Bristol Academy has been the Gloucestershire FA Women's Challenge Cup, which the team have only ever failed to win on one occasion since the team was formed. The single failure was during the 2003-04 season when Bristol Rovers were runners-up to Bristol City, in what was their first ever defeat to their cross-city rivals. The team did not enter the competition in 2007-08 however.

Team honours[]

  • FA Women's Premier League Southern Division: 1 (2002-03)
  • South West Combination Women's Football League: 1 (2000-01)
  • Gloucestershire FA Women's Challenge Cup: 8 (1998-99, 1999-00, 2000-01, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07)

Sources[]

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References[]

  1. Bristol Academy v Cardiff City, 9 November 2006 from bristolrovers.co.uk. Retrieved 10 November 2006
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