FA WSL breaks attendance records after England's World Cup heroics
Last Updated: 13/07/15 8:32pm
England’s performances at the World Cup in Canada helped see a 78 per cent increase in fans attending the Women’s Super League at the weekend.
Mark Sampson’s side returned home earlier this month after claiming their first win over Germany in the third-place play-off match.
The Lionessess returned to domestic duties on Sunday, with 17 of the 23 players who won bronze medals in Canada turning out for their clubs in the FA WSL.
Their involvement helped see a 78 per cent increase in average attendance of Sunday's WSL 1 games compared to the first half of the 2015 season.
Manchester City’s 1-0 victory over Birmingham drew a new league-record crowd of 2,102.
Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool attracted 2,061, which was more than two-and-a-half times higher than turned out for the Gunners’ last home match.
England World cup heroine Fara Williams opened the scoring for the visitors and the midfielder was thrilled to see a huge turnout for their trip to London.
She said: "After what we did at the World Cup I think it was fantastic that so many people come out to watch - not just our game - but all the games around the country, some of which saw probably double the normal crowd.
"We've worked for a long time to raise the profile of the women's game. We wore that shirt with great pride and great passion out in Canada and I think people took note of that and because of that people came out to support us.
"I think it's great that people are now taking notice of our game. We did our job at the World Cup and what we've been trying to do for a long time is to inspire people to come and watch us and doubling crowds around the country is brilliant."
Arsenal and England defender Casey Stoney added: "We need to keep that momentum going now. We need to make sure the games are good in quality and hopefully people will want to come back.
"I think the tide is turning with the interest from the public and I think that is showing with record attendances across the country, but we have to keep with the momentum - it can't just be every four years.
"We have to make sure we get out to local communities and keep plugging it and plugging it. I think it was 2.6m people that watched the Germany game so people do want to watch it, we just have to have the platform to make it happen."