2019 is about making sure that the girls see success.BCFC
During 2018 the team built a passing brand of football, which saw them record 15 wins in the league and keep 16 clean sheets. They scored a total of 37 goals, despite losing the likes of Rachel Williams and Ellen White at the beginning of the 2018/19 season.
2018 saw the emergence of Connie Scofield and Shania Hayles, who both scored their first senior goals for the club, while Hannah Hampton goes into the new year as the club’s number one goalkeeper.
In the summer, Skinner made a trio of signings as he brought in Chloe Arthur, Lucy Staniforth and Harriet Scott who have all enjoyed a positive start to life at Blues. While there was success on the international stage as Charlie Wellings returned to the club with a bronze medal after finishing third at the FIFA Under-20’s Women’s World Cup.
The final game of the year, against Bristol City in the Continental Cup, also marked the manager’s 50th match in charge of the first team.
He said: “Nothing’s ever guaranteed in football. I don’t look past the next game. If you look away for a second, you miss a detail.
“My focus is not on Arsenal, or Bristol it’s on the next game – Reading.
“It’s nice to look at when you finish your career, to see what you achieved but for me, what I love most is working with the players and seeing their faces, making them smile and making sure they enjoy what they do.
“The next 50 games? Who knows? I could be in charge for one of them or 150 so I just take it one game at a time.”
Skinner took the time to reflect on 2018 but look ahead to the new year as they look to establish their position in the league.
He said: “It was really in many ways a remarkable year.
“We started in the worst possible manner with a 3-0 defeat at Sunderland. It was a wake-up call for the players. But from that point onward, we had a 67%-win rate. Our clean sheet rate was around the same, throughout the 25 games we played in the league this year. So for me I felt like we built a brand of football that we can be proud of.
“I still think it’s a little bit ahead of the time for England and I think that some people see playing out from the back as a risk, rather than a build-up. But when I watch training, I’m happy with what we’ve built.
“I look back on 2018 with immense pride, with some bits of misery because you want more. I think overall I will praise the girls for what they have achieved and now is the time to kick on. 2019 is about making sure that the girls see success.
“If the girls take ownership this year, in the short period between now and the end of the season, then not only could they win something, but they can really build an identity in the league which you want to be part of.
“They are a joy to work with. They need to enjoy taking on the challenge and taking on the teams that have more than us, because we can be successful.”
Blues welcome Reading to the Autotech Stadium, Solihull Moors (kick-off 2pm) this Sunday 6 January.
Click here to purchase tickets for Blues first challenge of 2019.
Tickets for the game are available at just £8 for adults/£5 concessions on the gate and a discounted rate of £7 adults and £4 concessions if purchased in advance online.