Wolves Women’s historic FA Cup clash through the eyes of left-back Katie Johnson

Wolves Women’s historic FA Cup clash through the eyes of left-back Katie Johnson

Sunday was a momentous day for Wolves Women as they met a Women’s Super League opponent for the first time in their history.

They met full-time pros West Ham United in the fourth round of the FA Cup in front of 1,692 spectators at AFC Telford United’s New Bucks Head Stadium, with the Londoners winning 2-0.

It was a significant event for part-time Dan McNamara, who are second in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division (third tier).

Wolves left-back Katie Johnson, 20, (pictured above) has been writing a diary the athlete describes her week leading up to the big game.

Katie writing her diary about the Wolves’ historic week (Photo: Steve Madeley)


This is usually my most relaxed day, although you can’t avoid the 7am alarm clock to get to work.

I’m an accountant trainee so I need to be in the office by 9am to get started on my bookkeeping tasks.

Whilst we are part-time footballers we try to behave like professional athletes as much as possible so as usual my work is punctuated by regular notifications from my phone reminding me to take fluids on board.

As there are no official club commitments on Monday evenings, I often try to catch up with friends and family that evening.

But this week I’m going home and watching Fulham vs Tottenham on TV and I get out my foam roller.

Whilst full-time players have a scheduled recovery session at their training ground the day after a game we have to manage our own bodies so I combine watching the Premier League game with some stretching to overcome the rigors of our friendly against West Brom.

Manager McNamara on the touchline against West Ham (Photo: Wolves/Wolves Women)


If Monday is a little more relaxed, then Tuesday is manic.

I’m back at work with the same duties and the same memories of food and drink! But Tuesday night is practice night.

I’m fortunate that my home, office and our training sessions at the Wolves’ Compton Park training ground are not too far apart, so I usually have time to go home after work before my 7:30 p.m leave for training. Some of the girls who live further away have to get in the car straight after work and drive straight to training.

And some of the players who work shifts – we have a couple of police officers, for example – sometimes arrive late or leave early to adapt training to their working hours.

We spend the first half hour of the session looking at clips from the previous game to see what lessons we can learn, then head into the hall for practice with Dan McNamara, our manager.


I take my Wednesday leave from college as part of my accounting class, so I drive to Walsall for a day of study instead of going to the office. College finishes between 3:30pm and 4:00pm, so I get home a little early.

Every Wednesday there is an optional fitness session at the training ground, which I sometimes attend. The girls who live too far away to travel can join from home via an app.

But knowing how physically demanding the West Ham game will be, I choose to relax and conserve energy.

Katie on the ball (Photo: Wolves/Wolves Women)


This is another long day as after being in the office from 9am to 5pm we have our second session of the week at the training ground.

Again, I get home just before the start at 7:30 p.m. First we have a classroom session where we watch and analyze clips from West Ham and discuss ways we could approach them.

Then it’s off to The Dome for our second training session of the week.

Thursdays tend to be physically tougher than Tuesdays as we do high-intensity sprints.

There’s a palpable sense of excitement knowing that a game this big is just days away.


This is the hardest day of the week to get out of bed after the demands of the night before’s workout, but the usual wake-up call to get to the office is unavoidable.

Friday actually starts earlier than the rest of the week as office hours are 8:30am to 4:00pm, but that means I’m home earlier to prepare for the weekend.

Like most young people, Friday is for socializing and it’s no different for me.

I’m going out to dinner with a friend, but like most Friday nights, I stay away from alcohol.

It’s difficult because we’re not full-time athletes, but since I have ambitions to play professional football, I’m trying to live like a professional.

Summer Holmes in action against West Ham (Photo: Wolves/Wolves Women)


The day before the game is all about making sure we’re eating and drinking the right things to make sure we’re physically ready.

I go to Wolverhampton city center to do some shopping and then meet up with family and friends but this is about as exciting as it gets.

Otherwise, just keep calm. I put my feet up and make sure I’m in the best shape mentally and physically for the game.

Katie and her teammates sit together at the end and reflect on how well they played and what they achieved (Photo: Steve Madeley)


Game day is coming and we’re checking in for the game pretty early.

We meet on the ground at 10.30am – three and a half hours before kick-off, which is about 30 minutes earlier than usual because Dan wants to do some additional analysis on the big screen.

Due to the strength of our opponents, we line up in a lower block than usual, so he wants to make sure we all understand our assignments.

It’s going really well for most of the game. We adjust against them in the first half and it’s 0-0 at half-time.

But their added fitness and the quality of their substitutes would always be a big factor.

Iceland international Dagny Brynjarsdottir comes in for them from the bench which really underlines the quality we are dealing with.

No wonder, then, that she finally opens the top scorer with 10 minutes to go.

Then there’s a moment I’d rather not get into when I scored an own goal to make it 2-0 for West Ham, but there wasn’t much I could do (to avoid it).

I follow my runner to the far post and when the cross comes I know I have to get something on it but I can only distract it.

Despite the loss, after the final whistle it’s all about how proud we are of our performance and how we sent a message to the rest of the teams in our league.

Getting something against West Ham would have been fantastic but our goal for this season is promotion and that’s still achievable.

(Top Photo: Steve Madeley)

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