Charlton Athletic are coming under serious scrutiny from many within the women’s football community after proposing a rebrand on their women’s team.
A move spearheaded by club owner Thomas Sandgaard will see Charlton Women become ‘Charlton Ladies’, according to The Telegraph.
The news has been received poorly by supporters, players, and former professionals of the game.
In a year that has seen women’s football flourish under the light of lucrative broadcast deals, record-breaking viewing numbers, and more support from the men’s game than ever before, this decision has been viewed as a huge step backwards for the sport.
Charlton players have reportedly branded the name change as “insulting” and “derogatory.”
The collective ‘Ladies’ is an outdated term within women’s football and many clubs have opted to replace the moniker in recent years. Manchester City started the rebrand domino effect in 2014 which led to the introduction of ‘Women’ as opposed to ‘Ladies’ across the top flight of the English football pyramid.
In 2019, Everton completely dropped any extras from the women’s team name and became known solely as Everton Football Club.
The club announced it would only use the term ‘Everton Women’ to differentiate from the men’s side in club announcements and press releases.
Charlton manager Karen Hills is also said to be opposed to this new idea. However, moves have already been made despite the unhappiness among players and staff.
The club’s website has already listed the side as the ‘Ladies Team’.
In the wake of this surprising and rather unexpected news, Charlton and Sandgaard have received a large volume of backlash on social media.
Angry supporters, both of the Addicks and neutrals, have slammed this “bizarre” decision, especially after Sandgaard agreed to bring both sides of the club under the same ownership just last year, which many thought would revolutionise the women’s team.
“Is it 2021 or 1921?” wrote Gamechangers podcast host Sue Anstiss.
Other Twitter users have mocked the notion and have asked whether the men’s team will rebrand to ‘Charlton Gentleman’ in order to fit the new narrative.
Former England international and head coach of San Diego Wave Casey Stoney has also had something to say on the situation. She wrote: “Welcome to 2021” in a recent quote tweet of the initial post.
Stoney previously represented Charlton during her playing days, as did a number of household names, including Eni Aluko and Kerry Davies.
Similarly, Liverpool and Northern Ireland star Rachel Furness used the hashtag #NoRespect in her post, and wrote: “Just when you thought the women’s game was moving forward… Not sure what the thought process was behind this move but it’s a massive step backwards in our game.”
There is still time for this decision to be rectified, but if the Charlton board keep their stance on this rebrand, there will almost certainly be a lot more to say from those who have helped the women’s game get it to where it is today.