Saturday 26 May 2018

Wayne: Make the experience count next season

Toni-Anne Wayne, who brought an era to a close by retiring from keeping guard between the posts for Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, says she hopes her team-mates can kick on next season having experienced playing at the top level, writes Khalid Karimullah.

Spurs ended their debut campaign in the FA Women’s Super League 2 with a 1-1 draw at their Cheshunt home ground to London Bees, which saw them finish in a reputable seventh-position. However, it could have been a completely different story had numerous chances not gone amiss – not only on Sunday but throughout the season.

And Wayne says the 2017/2018 journey has been invaluable for the Club’s growth and as individuals.

Wayne's excited to watch what her 'family' does next season

Wayne's excited to watch what her 'family' does next season

“I think we did well this season,” she said. “We knew it would be a learning curve and we had our real highs, but we also had some lows. Most of our team had not played at that level before and for them to step up has been a credit to them and the staff.

“I have so much pride for this team anyway, but to experience the WSL with them was the reason I decided not to retire last year.”

The custodian was given a guard of honour before kick-off and was awarded with a roaring reception from the home faithful every time she touched the ball on the final day of the season.

And Wayne, who gave four exceptional seasons, couldn’t be more thankful for the overwhelming response.

“I’ve said it before, they have been our twelfth man this year,” she continued. “They have travelled far and wide with us and in our eyes, we have the best fans in the world.

“To be honest I got really shy and nervous, but I felt 'honoured' by the response not only from my team but from London Bees too.”

Bianca Baptiste dedicated her goal to the stopper and although Wayne was denied a clean sheet on her farewell after Bees hit back nine minutes later, she sees no reason why Karen Hills’ team can’t take what they deserve next year.

“I'm hoping that every staff member and player really implement what we have learnt this year,” she finished. “They have the quality and hopefully add to that too to really kick on; now they need the consistency. I'm looking forward to seeing them at the top where they belong.”

Photographs with thanks to Wu's Photography.