The new SWPL season is only a couple of weeks away and at McDiarmid Park last Thursday afternoon, St. Johnstone Women’s Football Club was formally presented along with the club’s main sponsors for the season ahead.
It’s an exciting time for the club – formerly known as Jeanfield Swifts Ladies – with the club competing under the St. Johnstone name for the first time in the second-tier of Scottish women’s football. They will kick off at home against Central Girls FA on 11th February in what will be an historical occasion on the McDiarmid Park AstroTurf.
The move from Jeanfield Swifts Ladies to St. Johnstone WFC has been in the pipeline for a while now, ever since the clubs first announced a link which would see Jeanfield make use of the McDiarmid Park facilities. Many of the top Scottish men’s clubs now also have women’s teams and it was really only a matter of time before the same would happen at Saints.
Back in November when the new women’s side was announced, head coach Jason McCrindle was delighted with the news, and also the facilities and support on offer from St. Johnstone. And now, as pre-season nears an end and they get ready for the season opener, the club has received a timely boost in the way of local sponsorship for the year ahead.
One of the Fair City’s biggest employers, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), will be the women’s side’s main sponsor for the next two years and the support from such a large and reputable company is one that is welcomed by everybody involved with the club.
SSE will be the main shirt sponsor, with Alan Storrar Cars and Positive Mortgages sponsoring the back of the women’s shirts. TAN International has their logo on the ladies’ sleeves, and all of the companies are playing a huge part in propelling the St. Johnstone Women’s team forward with aspirations to one day be competing in the SWPL1 – the top-tier of the women’s game in Scotland.
Speaking after the formal presentation of the team last week, St. Johnstone WFC’s General Manager, Steve Grossi, was excited about getting SSE on board and hopes that the positive steps off the pitch can transfer into results on the park. I believe this is a recognition of the standing we now have in Scottish women’s football and recognises the incredible work taking place on and off the pitch by our volunteers.
“It’s an honour to welcome such a significant main sponsor,” he said, “and I believe this is a recognition of the standing we now have in Scottish women’s football and recognises the incredible work taking place on and off the pitch by our volunteers.
“SSE is not only a local company supporting us, but a national business with an incredibly strong brand. To have them as a partner is a privilege and I’m looking forward to working with them. The deal is over two years so they’re also committing and showing their trust in us. Their support will help us to consolidate and develop our presence at SWPL level.”
Sponsoring St. Johnstone WFC is another step into women’s football for SSE, as the company already sponsors both Scottish and English cup competitions. James Docherty, the Senior Sponsorship Manager at SSE, hopes that their support can make a difference to the women’s game at a local level.
“SSE is proud to be the first main sponsor of St. Johnstone WFC. By entering into this partnership our aim is to make a difference to the future of women’s football in Perth. The city has always developed top class footballers, which we hope continues and that the players can develop and showcase their skills at St. Johnstone WFC.
“We’re extremely proud to be a fundamental part of supporting women’s football and the grassroots game in the UK, through The SSE Women’s FA Cup and The SSE Scottish Women’s Cup. We are focused on achieving greater awareness of the sport at an elite level, and equally as important we are creating more opportunities for more girls to get involved in football.”
The club will get the season underway at home to Central Girls FA on Sunday 11th February at McDiarmid Park with kick-off at 4PM. You can view the fixture list for 2018 here.
Club captain Jade MacDonald made history by scoring St. Johnstone WFC’s first goal in a friendly with East Fife a few weeks ago. She’ll be hoping to grab the club’s first competitive goal when the SWPL2 season starts.
The pictures in this article were photographed by local photographer Stuart Cowper. Visit his website here.
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