Mead hopes England women can 'create a lasting legacy' after Euro 2022

EXCLUSIVE: Lionesses hero Beth Mead hopes England can ‘create a lasting legacy’ after their Euro 2022 triumph and wants record WSL ticket sales to become ‘the new norm’

  • Beth Mead won the golden boot and Player of the Tournament at Euro 2022
  • The Arsenal star wants the club game to capitalise on the tournament’s success
  • The Gunners kick-off the WSL season at home against Brighton on Friday night
  • The north London derby next weekend is expected to set a record WSL crowd
  • Mead is a McDonald’s ambassador and this Autumn McDonald’s Fun Football will be offering 30,000 children free football coaching
  • After the Lionesses victory this summer Fun Football has seen a 60 per cent increase in girls signing up to the Fun Football programme and Mead is helping

As Beth Mead was presented with the Euro 2022 Golden Boot and Best Player award after England had triumphed over Germany, Ian Wright declared her ‘revenge tour’ was over.

It was a nod to how she had overcome the disappointment of missing out on selection for the Tokyo Olympics to have the best 12 months of her career.

‘He invented the revenge tour himself!’ Mead laughs. ‘I wanted to prove to people that I was more than just the girl who didn’t get picked for the Olympics.’

Beth Mead won the golden boot and the Player of the Tournament award at Euro 2022

But with Mead nominated for the Ballon d’Or, among the favourites to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year and gearing up for a huge season with Arsenal, surely the tour is only getting started? 

‘You do become more hungry for success,’ Mead tells Sportsmail. ‘You get a taste of winning and, as competitive athletes, that’s all you want.’

Mead’s determination to continue her Euros form at club level is even greater given Arsenal ended last season – the first under boss Jonas Eidevall – trophyless, finishing one point behind champions Chelsea. 

‘Last season was tough,’ says Mead. ‘We had a pretty good season but we didn’t come away with anything. As England players who have just had a taste of winning something so big, we want to go on and win more things. We feel like we’re in a good place.

‘We’ve got a couple of additions. We have an amazing group and the quality to be very, very good and hopefully that shows this season. Hopefully we can figure out those small margins that we need to get better at.’

The forward hopes England can ‘create a lasting legacy’ after winning the tournament

Arsenal’s women train at the state-of-the-art London Colney alongside the men’s team

https://stopsmokingway.com/soccer/how-graham-potters-already-put-his-stamp-on-chelsea-after-first-game/

Arsenal have pushed ticket sales since the Euros with adverts at men’s matches and a social media campaign. But the club have also pumped money into improving facilities for Mead and her team-mates, who train at London Colney alongside Mikel Arteta’s side. 

‘It’s been incredible with us on the men’s side of things,’ she says. ‘We have integrated as one team. We’ve got new facilities they’ve built over the summer.

‘We’ve got our own section that has nutrition stations, a boot room and, as silly as it sounds, our own ice baths.

‘They’ve invested a lot of time into us and they’ve listened to us as well and what we need as players. Now we’ve got to do the business.

‘There’s a lot of promotion they’ve put into these games and playing at the Emirates six times in the season is a big difference to playing at Boreham Wood in front of 2,000 people. They are pushing to help us get to the next level.’

Mead celebrates after scoring for Arsenal against Brighton in the WSL last season

The North London derby next weekend is expected to set a record crowd for a WSL fixture

Mead is speaking to Sportsmail at a Fun Football session for McDonald’s, for whom she is an ambassador. 

The Lionesses squad wrote an open letter to the Government after the Euros, urging them to ensure that all girls have the opportunity to play football at school, something Mead is passionate about.

‘With the open letter we wanted to get two hours of mandatory PE for girls,’ she says. ‘We knew we were in a great position to be able to try to demand that. McDonald’s Fun Football sessions have been incredible. It’s great that it’s free and there’s been a 60 per cent increase (in participation) since the Euros. We want to keep pushing that.’

Arsenal kick off the season in front of a sell-out crowd against Brighton on Friday night after the first round was postponed last weekend. The Gunners will also play the derby against Tottenham at the Emirates a week on Saturday and are set for a record crowd for a WSL match with more than 45,000 tickets sold.

Mead wants record ticket sales in the Women’s Super League to become ‘the new norm’

‘That’s what we want. That has to become the new norm. We said, ‘This is just the beginning’, but we want to create a lasting legacy, not one that is just going to be a buzz around the women’s game for a few months.

‘It’s incredible stats (for tickets) so far throughout the full league. We’ve got to just keep pushing for that to become the new norm.

‘It’s for us as teams and players to deliver our best football but we need people to come to games, get bums on seats and keep the excitement around the women’s game. That’s the least it deserves.’

McDonald’s Fun Football ambassador Beth Mead was speaking at one of 20 new locations opening this Autumn. 

Fun Football is the UK’s largest free grassroots football participation programme and will give one million children access to coaching over the next four years. Sign up to attend a session near you at mcdonalds.co.uk/football




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