Arsenal’s manager, Joe Montemurro, has described the 4,000 sell-out of Meadow Park for the game against Chelsea on Sunday as “fantastic” but wants to see it done more often before they think about opening up the Emirates Stadium for the women’s team.
“It’s fantastic, it’s an amazing opportunity to showcase women’s football,” he said. “We need a couple more, though. One or two more and then I think we can start to send a message to play in the bigger stadiums. It’s a one-off situation and we need to be consistent – we need it to be a weekly scenario.”
Arsenal welcome Chelsea to Boreham Wood knowing victory would put them seven points above their rivals, albeit with Chelsea having a game in hand, and maintain at least a three-point lead over Manchester City, who play Birmingham in one of two early kick-offs.
With the Etihad Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Stamford Bridge, the Madjeski Stadium, Ashton Gate, Anfield and the Amex Stadium having hosted women’s fixtures this season, Goodison Park next in line and St Andrew’s having hosted Birmingham Women last season, Arsenal and Manchester United are the only top-flight clubs to have resisted the pressure to join the attendance arms race. The record is the 38,262 crowd for Arsenal’s visit to Tottenham.
“We love playing at Boreham Wood,” Montemurro said. “It’s our little home, we know the size of it, we know the scale of it and we feel comfortable there. Any big competitive game we’re happy to play at Boreham Wood.”
Arsenal hosted the women at the main ground in a pre-season double-header with the men but Montemurro believes that when the time comes for a Women’s Super League game there will be more benefit to going it alone.
“I think double-headers have a double-edged sword scenario,” he said. “A double-header, yeah OK people are coming because the men are playing after but is it real? I would like to think that we can do it on our own and do it in a way where we stand alone as a game.”