Report by Sue Prior
Page last updated at 9:43PM BST, Friday, 03 June 2011
Kim Dixson is relishing the opportunity of playing in the top flight next season – a division in which she is familiar. This time it will be with the club that she grew up with.
Report by Colin Robertson Photo by Ashley Newman
It might be summer, sunglasses and ice pops and it might be 20 degrees in the shade but for Charlton’s Women’s side there is more to look forward to. The new season presents a new challenge in the FA Women's Premier League National Division. Midfielder, Kim Dixson has waited a long time for the chance,
“To be honest it is where the team belong – when it nearly folded we were obviously going to lose players but now we’ve got good youngsters and we’re a good up and coming club and I think that we can stay in the Prem and we can do well in it.”
The midfielder has a long history with the club and can remember when Charlton Athletic Women’s side were a leading national side, “I had a couple of starts for the firsts and on the bench when I was 16 or so and went on from there and then the club almost folded. I started at the centre of excellence at u10’s and made my way through the system.”
Very recently the same centre of excellence has been withdrawn its status in the FA’s overhaul of the national women and girl’s football structure. There are to be far fewer centres across the arena and instead most will inherit a new moniker for player development.
Dixson reflected, “They were a good side. Hopefully we can get back to the way we were. Under Paul Mortimer I think we can.”
She has been a lifelong Charlton fan and is a regular at the Valley to watch the men’s team. Recently she was there for a different reason – collecting the Southern Division Championship trophy in the centre circle at the men’s teams final fixture, “It was big for me getting out on the pitch with Christian Dailly".
“It is massive for me what Stephen’s done for the club (club sponsor Stephen King, CEO of PHSC PLC), what Sue, our secretary and Paul have done for club is massive, and it is going to be massive next year if we keep the team in the Prem.”
There were times during the season when the going got tough, narrow games like those with local rivals Millwall or the victory on penalties over Reading with ten players. The title went right down to the last game of the season and the atmosphere was super tense.
It was times like these that the experience of players such as Dixson was paramount. She never looked stirred, even when she put one in her own net in a massive fixture away at Gillingham in the run up to the league title – she just carried on, with an air of professionalism, always running – a traction of the team engine. In that game she headed in another, this time at the right end and sent the team on their way to a 3-1 victory. It was an epitome of Kim Dixson – a real end to end player, good with her feet.
She arrived back in the fold last season returning from a stint with National Division side Watford and immediately made an impact, scoring some special goals in pre-season.
“At the start of the season, with the squad we have, we knew we would be going for promotion but then it was hard to believe when we weren’t getting the results…” The Addicks had struggled to convert goals from possession and chances and then after Christmas the results really started to show.
“The Reading game turned it for everyone, beating a national team on pens with ten players – they finished, I think third in that division…” Dixson takes heart from the result, “We can do it to anyone in that league.”
She has her eyes set on the new season, “We have played Reading and Millwall this year. We know we can step up and play. There is not a massive gap since the Super League has been introduced so if we can get in a couple of players, who can play the way we want to play, we’ll do alright.”
The National Division offers some far away fixtures like Sunderland and Leeds, “We’ve had a few this season like Curzon Ashton. If we play away like we have this year, then we’ll not do badly.”
That won’t be the only place either; there is also a return visit to her old club on the cards, she said, “I think Watford just scraped it. It will be good to go back there and see how it is.”