Manchester Blue Evolution: The Rise to Glory of City’s Women’s Football

By Bluemoon Staff, Tue 18 June 2024 10:34

Manchester Blue Evolution: The Rise to Glory of City’s Women’s Football Women's Football at Manchester City: Growth and Achievements

The "Blue Side of Manchester" has gained a larger share of praise and has been in the spotlight in recent years. The rise of Manchester City in the last decade has seen them dominate their neighbours — Manchester United. They have been excellent in all competitions they participate in. But does the growth extend to the women's football at the club?

Looking back at where they started in 1988 and where they are now, we decided to trace their history. This text discusses Manchester City Women's history and how they've grown. We'll also look into the milestones they've crossed and their achievements, recognizing the players who made and that are making a difference for them.

The Rise of Women's Football at Manchester City

It all began when the Manchester City Ladies had their first clash against Oldham Athletic on 27th of November 1988. The team joined the West League Second Division the following year and had a promising start in the competition. The team started struggling, and inconsistency set into their performance.

Their reliance on the Men's team and shortage of finance made it hard for them to compete. The support and enthusiasm for the team kept them going. The team gradually started gaining promotions, with the notable three between 1998 and 2001.

Joining the WFA National League was the beginning of another struggle despite their fine form in the lower Leagues. Things changed in 2007 when Leigh Wood joined the side, and they began contending for the Women's Premier League (WFA National League renamed).

The emergence of the Women's Super League due to the 2010 restructuring saw teams applying for the League. Since they were not qualified, they had to wait till 2014 to be admitted into the WSP. The Citizens gained momentum and gradually became one of the top teams in the League.

Although they're champions just once, they came second 6 times and won multiple League cups. They are now a regular team in the UEFA Champions League for ladies. The Abu Dhabi investments have also helped the team improve significantly.

Key Achievements and Milestones

Gaining entry into WSP is huge for the team.  It was a gradual progression for City Ladies filled with milestones and achievements. Also, betting on City Ladies' WSL events on sportsbooks reviewed on BetZillion's homepage commenced with impressive markets. Remember, this is one of the Leagues you can wager on with sports bet expert predictions.


The following are some milestones the Manchester City Women's Football Club reached, starting from the first match in 1988.

  1. First Competitive Tournament

Although the Manchester City Ladies started in 1988, they had to wait till 1989 to play in the North West Women's Regional Football League. It is because they had already commenced before they were formed. After the 4-1 victory in their first game, they played friendlies throughout the season.

  1. Return from Relegation/First Official Silverware

The club struggled in the lower division of the North West Women's Regional Football League, but they still got promoted. They matched into the top tier of the League in the second season. Their financial status led to the 1996-97 season's relegation. Citizens bounce back by finishing the 1997-98 season with no defeat at the second decision. It also landed their first official trophy.

  1. Promotion into Women's Premier League

The excellent form continued with the City Ladies, who won the 1999-2000 Premier Division. They won the play-off against Barnsley and the following season's Northern Combination League. The excellent form helped them join the Women's Premier League, but they struggled for the first 7 seasons before Leigh Wood's appointment turned things around. They began contending from being the lower half of the table team.

  1. Women's Super League

The creation of the Women's Super League in 2010 relegated the Women's Premier League to the second tier. Interestingly, you can join the new top-flight League by application. They had to wait 3 seasons to be admitted into the League in 2014. They finished the first season fifth on the table.

  1. Rebranding

The club also rebranded its name from Manchester City Ladies Football Club to Manchester City Women’s Football Club in 2014. It made them the official female team of Manchester City. They moved to the Etihad Campus complexes and also adopted the nicknames of the men's team. It includes Man City, Blues, City, Citizens.


  1. First Major Trophy

Despite finishing fifth in 2014, they were crowned  FA Women's League Cup champions, beating Arsenal. It was the first of many significant silverware to be won. They overturned a poor start to finish second the following season. It earned them their first European spot the following season, and they broke the attendance record twice that same season.

  1. Becoming the FA WSL Champions

After finishing as runner-up in 2015, the Manchester City Women were crowned champion in 2016. This is their first and only time winning this. They strive to win it again in many ways, but they only come second 5 more seasons.


Since joining the Women's Super League in 2014, the Citizens gained momentum to compete more. The investment in the team also boasted their performance, and they've won many silverwares. Although they have just one domestic League title, they have won more Cup competitions.

City Women have 3 FA Cups and 4 League Cups since 2014. They even won the doubles in the 2018-19 season. The table below shows Manchester City Women’s Football Club's achievements since its inception.



Year Won

Number of time

FA Women's Super League



Women's FA Cup

2016–17, 2018–19, 2019–20


FA Women's League Cup

2014, 2016, 2018–19, 2021–22


FA Women's National League North



Northern Combination Women's Football League



North West Women's Regional Football League Premier Division



North West Women's Regional Football League Division Two



North West Challenge Trophy



North West League Cup



Development of Youth and Academy Programs

Manchester City Women FC has an Academy for young girls from U-10 to U-19. It all started in 1997 when the team adopted the U-14 team for Stockport County Ladies when they lost their support. Jayne Ludlow has been in charge of this MCWFC Academy since 2021.

They share the CFA training complex with the boys, aiming to groom young talents into superstars. Players are recruited through community programs, and they run dual-career football development for young girls. That's not all; those who are 16 years old get to enroll in the Sports Education Programme.

The girls compete in competitions based on their age ranges and suitable formats. It starts from 3v3 up to 11v11, and they've proven to be excellent. For instance, the 2000-01 saw four junior teams win their Leagues. The U-13 even completed a double. The U-12 won all their League matches in 2092-03. All these show how the MCWFC Academy strives to develop the girls to Superstar levels.

Notable Players and Their Contributions

Although they lost the League on goal difference to Chelsea, more than half of the team of the year belongs to City. This shows the quality of players the team has. The following are some exciting talents behind Manchester City Women's Football Club.

  1. Khadija Shaw
  2. Chloe Kelly
  3. Alex Greenwood

Khadija Shaw

The Jamaican was born on 31st January 1997 and is one of the most lethal strikers in the Women's Super League. She is City's all-time scorer and has the joint record for most hat tricks in the competition. With her eye for goals, she has represented City Women 57 times, scoring 50 goals. She won the League Cup with City and was the 2022-23 top scorer.

Chloe Kelly

Chloe Kelly is another top player for the Citizens. She joined them in 2020 and has been vital to the team. The England forward was born on the 15th of January 1998, and she's known for her creativity. She has helped the team to one League Cup and FA Cup in the 2021-22 and 2019-20 seasons, respectively. She had 21 goals in 69 outings and has been part of the PFA Team of the Year twice.

Alex Greenwood

Alex Greenwood is an England international and a very versatile defender. Born on 7th September 1993, she can fit into the left back and center back position and is known for her tackles. She's well-decorated for both club and country, winning the Women's FA Cup and FA WSL Cup for the Citizens. She has 81 caps for the team, finding the back of the net 6 times.

Community Engagement and Future Prospects

The club engages the community and always tries to give back to them on many occasions. Aside
from recruiting young girls from the community to join the club, they have other projects. For instance, the City Play holds programs for kids between 2 -5 years to encourage them to live healthy and active lifestyles.

Further, female participants can access free football training and leadership. The City Inspires project also helps learners gain support through education and adulthood.


Manchester City Women's Football Club's rise to fame has seen them compete consistently. They've won some cups and done doubles, but the team still has a long way to go before being a force like the men's team. It took the men's team a while to become a super club, and the women will need a little time to become formidable, too.

But the trends are pointing them in the right direction to greatness. They've established themselves as one of the top four in the country. Considering they were runner-up on five occasions since their only League-winning season, it shows they will soon get the results they desire.