Manchester United are set to play under the lights of Old Trafford next week for the first time ever. They will host West Ham in the Women's Super League as they continue to build on their strong 2020/21 season.
The fixture will mark a huge milestone in the club's history following their rebirth into the world of women's football. Man United as a women's side was disbanded back in 2005, leaving fans to wait out a 13-year hiatus before funding was once again pumped into the team.
After the Glazers' takeover of Man United as a club, the decision was made to fold the women's team due to the conclusion that it was not a profitable part of the business. The academy remained a focal point of the set-up, but the senior side was ultimately dissolved.
However, fast forward to 2018 and a new era was born. In an announcement that dominated social media for weeks, United declared the re-establishment of the red side of Manchester. With Man City's dominant performances in the league and domestic cups, the time had come to give them some competition.
Since their inception, the Reds went on to win the Championship in their first season, before being promoted into the WSL. Former defender Casey Stoney made an immediate impact as she returned to England's top flight as a manager, spearheading United to a fourth-placed finish in their first campaign.
Signing world class talent
Thanks to their immediate rise into the spotlight, they have attracted some huge names within the sport. American stars Tobin Heath and Christen Press both signed for United on loan last September and have made a massive impact since joining the Mancunian outfit.
But the positive effect hasn't only been during match days. The addition of the attacking pair sent shirt sales soaring just three days following their move across the pond. Jerseys with Heath and Press on the back outsold any of their male counterparts during that period, highlighting not only their popularity in the sport but Man United Women's fierce following.
Adding global names like Heath and Press to the roster will only continue to grow the club's stature as they move through their second full WSL season. United's ability to entice players of this calibre to the club is a huge credit to how much the side has grown in such a short space of time.
With a top three finish all but secured for the end of this season, the summer transfer window will be another exciting period for Stoney and co. The vision will undoubtedly be to put pressure on Man City and Chelsea and ply their trade in the Champions League next season.
Paving out the future
Man United boast a well-rounded team of proven internationals and rising talent. Lauren James and Ella Toone are just two of England's young and exciting prospects who are making a name for themselves in the WSL.
Under the guidance of Stoney, the duo have huge potential to become a pair of stars in a new era for the Lionesses. Their development will be aided by opportunities such as the West Ham fixture at Old Trafford, which will allow them to experience the career-defining moments that other WSL players have enjoyed over the years.
This is only the start of Man United's journey to the top and many more blockbuster matches hosted on the big stage.News Now - Sport News