Big year ahead
Thursday, 05 August 2004.
Hello everyone, hope you are all well. I have been at my new club Charlton Athletic for a couple of weeks now and pre-season has been going really well.
Everything has been going well, the training has been good, I am feeling really fit and the last three games we played we have got results and played quite well.
I am really enjoying it in a new environment after spending four years at Fulham, I have fitted in quite well and the girls are really nice. The team spirit here is really good so it has been very enjoyable.
There isnít really much difference for me being at Charlton because I approach every game in the same way and I just want to go out there and get a result.
There are obviously different people around me but I have found my time at Charlton enjoyable and hopefully the good results will continue.
I am really enthusiastic at the moment because I am at a new club and I want to prove myself at the Valley and let them know what I am all about.
I have said before that I want to be the fittest I have ever been this season with the European Championships next summer and I am working really hard to achieve that.
It is a shame that my international colleague and central midfield partner Fara Williams has left the club to join Everton, we could have worked well together but that was her decision and the team will have to deal with that.
I am really excited about the league this season because, as with Fara, the top players are moving to different clubs so I canít wait to start.
It will be quite strange for me to play against the likes of Rachel Yankey and Rachel Unitt after playing with them for so long but it will be different, exciting and a new challenge for everyone.
Every team has got a chance this season and I believe that Charlton can do very well. It will be nice to start our league campaign with a good result and a good performance next week and hopefully we can carry that through for the rest of the season.
Our next game, though, is the FA Womenís Community Shield on Wednesday 11 August at Stevenage Borough FC. It is against Arsenal and it will be a great game.
Arsenal, as we know, are a great side and it will be tough but we would love to go out there and get a result. It is our first big game so a good result will set the tone for the season.
So donít forget to get down to Stevenage next week because itís going to be a great game. I will be meeting up with the England squad in a couple of weeks as we continue our preparations for Euro 2005 so I will speak to you then.
Settling in at Charlton
Thursday, 15 July 2004.
New Charlton Athletic player Katie Chapman catches up with TheFA.com with the latest from her regular column.
Well, quite a lot has happened since I last spoke to you and I am now a Charlton Athletic player. I made the decision this week as I have been training with them and the sessions have been good and enjoyable so that helped me make my decision.
It is a great set up at The Valley and the men are right behind the ladies teams.
It was a very tough decision to leave Fulham. I have been with the club for four years and I felt it was time to move on as most of the players have left. Rachel Yankey has moved to Birmingham; Rachel McArthur has gone to Bristol City; Rachel Unitt has joined Everton and Mary Phillip has joined Arsenal.
Fulham have lost nearly all of their international players and it is a shame that the team has split but it is good that they have gone to different teams to make things a bit more even.
The main thing for me is that I want to enjoy this season as I didnít really enjoy it that much last season and I think I will be able to do that at Charlton. They can also win things as they are a club on the up.
I am looking forward to starting my pre-season at The Valley, although I have been keeping fit in the off-season. On my recent holiday I was running, biking and I did a lot of walking, so I was keeping myself in shape because I want to be ready. This season I want to be the fittest I have ever been in preparation for Euro 2005 and hopefully playing my best football as well.
The National Division will be a different league this year with all the transfers that have been taking place over the summer. I am hoping that it will be more interesting as there will be a few more teams involved rather than just the usual suspects. I think that will make things more exciting.
So the hard work begins now as the league season is just a month away. The next England friendly is also in mid-August so it will be a busy time for me. I will speak to you again soon.
The Katie Chapman column
By Katie Chapman. Tuesday, 02 March 2004.
Hello everyone. Well, it has been a very busy few weeks for myself and the rest of the England ladies.
The squad got together two weeks ago, culminating in a friendly international match against Denmark at Fratton Park. We won 2-0 which was a great win and we are on a good winning streak at the moment. The team is playing well and it all bodes well for the European Championship being held here next summer.
It was also great to beat a team ranked higher than us in the FIFA world rankings and that can only bring confidence to England going into next year. I must say thank you to the crowd who played a massive part in the victory.
There were over 8,000 of you there and when we play at Fratton Park we always seem to get a good crowd. It is always a boost when you have a noisy backing from the home crowd and we could really hear them. It is nice to have a big crowd cheering and spurring us on to win and it really makes us perform because so many of you had came out to support us. I hope that more people will now come out and support us because they enjoyed the game.
It was a really good night all round for the England women's team. We carried on our current winning streak and hopefully we can continue that and go into Euro 2005 full of confidence. After the Denmark win I think we are getting closer to the bigger sides in Europe and I think that if we played them now, the games would be closer than they have been in recent years. The good thing is we are getting better all the time.
No rest for the wicked though and it was back to Premier League action after the England meet-up. My team Fulham travelled to Leeds United in a repeat of our Premier League Cup match there last November, which we just managed to win 3-2. It was a very tough game again and we only managed to draw 2-2. I don't know what happened, it was just one of those games.
They are a great side and put us under a lot of pressure. It has been a different season for Fulham this year. We have gone semi-professional and have a very different side from the treble-winning team of last season. We have got a lot of new players in and we are still trying to adapt to each other, so it is not going to be the same as it was when we were professional.
We are still unbeaten in the League and that is our aim, to stay that way. Unfortunately, we have been knocked out of The FA Women's Cup, so winning the League is the aim now, which would mean we would be in Europe again next season. No games are easy in this division and even though we have gone semi-professional, we are still Fulham and every team still wants to beat us. Sundayís match against Charlton will be no exception!
Finally, my form hasn't been too bad so far this season. I have got my fitness back now and feel that I am really getting myself back into the game after my break last year when I gave birth to my son Harvey.
I am just really enjoying it. Everything has worked out well with Fulham going semi-professional, because I can work the training around Harvey. Now we train in the evenings, Harvey's Dad takes over, so it works out really well and I wouldn't change it for anything. I haven't started having a kick-about with Harvey yet, though, as he is only crawling but as soon as he is walking I'll give it a go!
So here's to another busy couple of weeks and I will talk to you soon.
Katie Chapman exclusive
Thursday, 21 August 2003.
England and Fulham midfielder Katie Chapman is the latest player to join TheFA.com as a guest columnist and here Katie, who's currently starring with Fulham in the UEFA Women's Cup, kicks-off her new campaign...
Hello everybody, I hope you are all well and looking forward to the new season. We have been back in training at Fulham, which has been going great. We have only had a couple of sessions but we have been working hard.
The first sessions for me were quite hard as I haven't played that much since I gave birth to my son Harvey back in April but I feel that I am getting back into it now and my fitness is still pretty good.
Although we have turned semi-professional this season things are pretty much the same. We have still got the same old faces there like Kim Jerray-Silver, Sanchia Duncan and Rachel Unitt but there are also some new faces that have come in. Things here will be the same though, we have a good side and the new signings seem to be settling in fine.
All the girls at Fulham have made them feel welcome and they are all good players. The main difference between this year and last is that we are training less now. We are only doing Tuesday and Thursday nights and some Saturdays so it is a lot different.
This season we also have a new manager after Gaute Haugenes returned to Norway. Marieanne Spacey has taken over and she is doing really well. To have a manager with her experience and her great coaching ability also her perspective as a player can only be good for the team. The training with Marieanne is a lot different to last year. We have varied sessions with good fitness work but most of that is with the ball, which is good. You are going to be playing with the ball so you might as well train with it!
It seems to be working as well as we have just won the Community Shield, beating Doncaster Rovers-Belles 1-0 at Mansfield which was great for us and we've started off well in Europe with an 8-0 win against the champions of the Faroe Islands. We are a new team now with new players involved so to go out there and win is good for the team.
With the new players in the team I think we gelled well in the FA Community Shield. It was a tough game and we had only had one game together before that game together so considering that we did pretty well. It was my first competitive game for a long time but I felt very good in the game. I felt fit and I think I did okay! I am just glad that we won.
This season, though, I do think that we have got a point to prove, just because we are now semi-professional that doesn't change a thing we still want to win and be the best. We are the reigning champions and we won both the League and the FA Cups and are in Europe as well.
We still have the heart and the passion to go out there as a team and do our best, so we will just see how the season goes. We are starting the season in the UEFA Cup which has been a great experience for me and the team so far. We are just trying to do our best and see what happens.
Well it is goodbye for now and I will speak to you soon.
By Katie Chapman. Thursday, 08 April 2004.
Fulham's Katie Chapman continues her regular column on TheFA.com.
Hello everyone, I hope you are all well.
Well, it hasnít been the best couple of weeks for me, my team-mates and all Fulham fans as we lost the The FA Nationwide Premier League Cup two weeks ago to our rivals Charlton Athletic. It was a very disappointing result but we didnít go out there and performto our best so, maybe, we didnít deserve to win it in the end.
But all credit to Charlton because they took their chance. There werenít many chances created in the game by either side but they had the best of them and we couldnít take the few chances that we created.
They have beaten us three times now this season but I donít think that they have got a psychological edge on us.
We went out there and gave it our best but it wasnít enough. It was still a good day though despite losing and it was great to see so many people at Barnet watching. It was good again to be on Sky and promoting the womenís game in this country. Unfortunately it didnít go our way but that is football for you!
And last Sunday turned out to be another disappointing day as our National Division game against Birmingham was called off due to a waterlogged pitch. We had been training all week and just wanted to forget about the Cup Final. However, even though I didnít have a game this weekend I was kept busy as my son Harvey had his first birthday party on Saturday.
The end of the season is going to be very tight with us, Charlton and Arsenal all still going for the title. It is just going to boil down to certain games. Charlton have got to play Arsenal and we have got to play Arsenal so it is going to be tough but one of us has got to win it!
If we can win our remaining three games then there is a good chance that we will retain our league crown. We have tohope that Charlton slip up and we win our remaining games to win the league. But that will not be easy as we have still got to play Arsenal, Doncaster and Birmingham, so we will just take it step by step.
As we are now out of the FA Cup and lost in the League Cup Final it would be nice to regain something this season but we will just have to wait and see.
We are still confident that we can beat the likes of Arsenal despite recent results. I just think that we need to be a bit more consistent than we have been recently.
It has been difficult to lose games this season as we didnít lose for two years but you are not going to win every single game and Charlton have come on a hell of a lot in the last few seasons and good luck to them.
Looking further ahead I am really looking forward to meeting up once again with the England squad in a couple of weeks. We are playing Nigeria on Thursday 22 April at the Madejski Stadium. I havenít played at the stadium before so it will be a good experience for me and it will be nice to have a good crowd there to get behind us and cheer us on.
I will speak to you all in a couple of weeks when I will be training hard with the England squad. Have a good one!
Not a happy Chappy
By Katie Chapman. Wednesday, 10 March 2004.
Hi everyone, from a not too happy Fulham player following our 2-1 defeat by Charlton Athletic on Sunday.
It was our first League defeat of the season and it meant that retaining the title we won last year is no longer in our own hands - but the championship chase is certainly not over yet and we will still be going all out to win it.
Charlton, like ourselves, have some tough matches left to play and if they slip up against someone like Arsenal then we can take advantage.
We are still kicking ourselves though, for throwing away last Sundayís game after taking charge in the first half and going into the lead through Tammy Waine.
We created several other chances but didnít take them, whereas Charlton didnít make too many chances but took theirs and won the game in the last half-hour.
They pressured us in the second half and we resorted to launching the ball forward instead of playing the football we are capable of. In that sense it was a repeat of the second half of the game against them at The Valley earlier in the season.
On that occasion we held a 3-0 half-time lead, but they came back at us strongly and although we won the game it ended up in a tight 3-2 scoreline.
We have to learn lessons from both of those games, and weíll certainly be working on things in training to make sure we donít get a repeat when we play them in The FA Nationwide Womenís Premier League Cup Final on 28th March.
After losing our unbeaten League record to Charlton and also going down to them in The FA Womenís Cup this season, we couldnít possibly have a bigger incentive to beat them in the League Cup final.
Weíve won the competition in each of the last two seasons and we really do want to make it a hat-trick of successes. Winning the Cup would also be nice timing on a personal level for yours truly.
My son Harveyís first birthday is on the Saturday following the League Cup Final - so victory over Charlton would lead to a double celebration in our house!
In the meanwhile itís back to the business of collecting League points with Fulham while Charlton turn their attentions to The FA Cup.
The Addicks play Birmingham City in this coming Sundayís semi-finals, the other of which sees Arsenal travelling to take on Bristol Rovers.
The results of both games will be seen as foregone conclusions in some quarters, but I donít agree Ė Charlton and Arsenal might both have their work cut out and a shock result wouldnít in fact be too much of a surprise for me.
While those Cup ties are being played weíll be up at Tranmere Rovers aiming to not only win our League game but also to do so by as many goals as possible.
With the top of the table being so tight Ė and with Arsenal as well as Charlton and ourselves being involved Ė the fight for the title could go right to the wire and goal difference could prove crucial.
So our aim now is to win every one of our remaining games and to score as many goals as possible in the process. That would certainly keep the pressure on our title rivals and could hopefully see us winning the League.
As I said earlier, the battle for the title is not over yet Ė and a good Fulham win on Sunday would certainly keep us well in contention.
Speak to you soon,