It felt something was starting to happen. The team had started to win trophies and were competing with the best teams in their division. They now had big-game experience at their level.
For 2016-17, manager Karen Hills wanted even more. Yes, any finals and more silverware would be great, but she wanted the next step in the FAWPL.
After finishing sixth, eighth, eighth, fifth and sixth, she wanted to compete for the top three at least. “I just felt we were ready for the next step,” she said. “The players loved winning the trophies the season before, but you sensed back in training last summer they wanted more. We all did. That’s what success does – you want more.”
Ten months later, Spurs Ladies are feeling on top of the world – and heading for the Women’s Super League for the first time.
What a season. Unbeaten in all competitions until March – a run of 27 matches stopped only by Arsenal in the FA Cup – the team reached three cup finals again and then, in chronological order, won the Boux Avenue Cup, won the FAWPL South title in front of 2,000 fans at White Hart Lane, completed the double by defending the League Cup and finally, the icing on the cake, registered a 3-0 win against Blackburn Rovers in the FAWPL national play-off on Sunday to secure a place in WSL 2 next season.
Where to start? “We’ve pushed the benchmark up and gone beyond it,” said Karen. “It has been a truly remarkable season.
“I started to believe around Christmas time that this season could be something really special and it was exactly that.
“It was the perfect way to finish it all as well, we were at another level again against Blackburn on Sunday. We’d prepared for two weeks, eight sessions and every player knew what she had to do and they all delivered again. Once the first goal went in, there was no stopping us.”
As Karen puts it, now is ‘another new chapter’ for Spurs Ladies in the WSL. “We’ll have a few days to digest it all, to enjoy what we’ve achieved and then the hard work will begin again,” she said.
“We always wanted to test ourselves at the highest level. We always wanted to play WSL teams in the FA Cup. It’s something we’ve aimed for – and now we’re there. That’s something special.”