10 June 2024

Beth Mead disgusted by Thornaby’s decision to axe ‘entire female section’

10 June 2024

England forward Beth Mead has been left “disgusted” by a football club’s decision to remove their entire female section.

Thornaby FC, based in Stockton in County Durham, announced on Sunday that following an emergency meeting the decision was taken to axe all of the club’s female teams, which range from youth squads through to senior level.

A further statement was published by club chairman Garry Morris on social media, asking the board to “reconsider” their decision.

Eleven-time Paralympic gold medallist Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson criticised the removal, labelling the decision on X as “so sad”, before Mead and her Lionesses team-mate Bethany England also commented.

Euro 2022 winner Mead, who spent six years as a youth player at Middlesbrough’s Centre of Excellence, believes Thornaby’s young players “deserve better”.

“Disgusted to see this decision, the women’s game is on the up but we still have committees making these horrible decisions,” Arsenal forward Mead posted on X.

“It’s not good enough, these young girls deserve better. I’d love to send the team a signed England shirt to keep them inspired.

“If I can help with anything do reach out, us women need to stick together, Thornaby FC Women. #football4all.”

Tottenham forward England said on X: “Saddened and disgusted to be reading this. The fight for women to keep their place at the table is a never ending battle.

“This should not be happening, these women and girls deserve better! My thoughts go out to everyone involved at the club, players, staff and volunteers.”

All six of Thornaby’s female groups will be removed from the club, including their senior side who finished third in the North East Regional Women’s Football League, tier six of the football pyramid.

In a post on social media they said: “And that’s a wrap… Yesterday we found out that a majority on the Thornaby FC committee voted to remove the entire female section from the club.

“Under 7, Under 8, Under 10, Under 11, Under 15, Women’s.

“This leaves over 100 girls without a club. We would like to thank all of our Coaches, Volunteers, Players, Supporters and Sponsors for their dedication over the last 3 years, you are all amazing.

“We are all devastated to hear of the Thornaby FC decision and would like to thank the members of the club who voted to keep female football.”

Chairman Morris released a statement on the Thornaby social media channels shortly afterwards, revealing he voted against the decision and disagrees with it.

He said: “In light of the recent actions taken by the board of Thornaby FC of which I am chairman, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify my thoughts at an extremely difficult time for the club and more importantly, the female players effected by these actions.

“The decision to withdraw support for the women’s team is one that I do not agree with, and along with another member of the committee, voted against it at yesterday’s emergency meeting.

“I have made my feelings known to the board, have asked them to reconsider their decision, and also to consider their positions on the board as patrons and trustees of the football club.

“We are empowered by the fans of the club to make the right decisions for the future of the club, and all those who show their unwavering support to both the male and female teams of all age groups deserve better.

“I firmly believe this decision made yesterday does not do that, and will be making this clear to the remaining members of the board.”

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