Crawley Old Girls gain national recognition

L-R Henry Smith MP,  Minister of State for Sport Tracey Crouch MP, Carol Bates, and Amy Fazackerley with COGs� (Crawley Old Girls) training season at the Checkatrade Stadium in Crawley. January 26, 2017.
James Boardman / Telephoto Images SUS-170131-115511002
L-R Henry Smith MP, Minister of State for Sport Tracey Crouch MP, Carol Bates, and Amy Fazackerley with COGs� (Crawley Old Girls) training season at the Checkatrade Stadium in Crawley. January 26, 2017. James Boardman / Telephoto Images SUS-170131-115511002

Crawley Old Girls football team received national recognition last Thursday with the visit of sports minister Tracey Crouch together with local MP Henry Smith.

They met the duo who set the team up, Reds fan Carol Bates and Amy Fazackerley from the club’s Community Foundation.

Both were impressed with their training session and vowed to support similar initiatives to encourage older women to take part in sport.

This is the first time a Football League club has set-up a team specifically for older women.

On Monday the story of the team, which is for over-25s was the subject of a TV documentary broadcast on BBC1’s Inside Out.

Smith said: “It’s been fascinating to see the development of COGs in such a short space of time.

“I’m grateful for the continued work of Carol Bales and Amy Fazackerley in showing that regardless of age or ability, anyone can take part in physical activity, with proper coaching and in a friendly environment.

“COGs has grown from ten participants on its first night a couple of years ago, to almost 35 women taking part across two sessions each week, with further interest and enquiries continuing from across Crawley and further afield.

“Last month I was pleased to meet Sport England to reiterate my support for the This Girl Can campaign. COGs is a great example of how we can encourage more women of all ages to get involved in sport.”

Crouch and Smith also met coach Marcus Doyle, who led the training session and spoke of how COGs has developed since its formation a little under two years ago.

Crouch said: “I was delighted to come to West Sussex and meet the inspirational Crawley Old Girls.

“I want to see more initiatives such as this that encourage people over the age of 25 to take part in sport.

“Many of the women I met in Crawley were new to the game and it was great to see the remarkable team spirit on show.

“I hope the Crawley Old Girls continue to go from strength to strength.”

Following the visit, Ms Crouch committed to put the word out in her local constituency, with the intention of encouraging a number of new ladies to give the sport a try.

If you missed it, you can catch it on BBC iPlayer. If you want to get involved or come and find out what the Crawley Old Girls are all about, please contact AmyFazackerley@crawleytownfc.com.