Ambitious Burnley FC Women's boss Matt Bee doesn't want the plush ties to be a one-off!
Burnley FC Women’s boss Matt Bee isn’t expecting to flick a switch and change things overnight.
But the Lincolnshire-born coach, who already has two promotions under his belt, wants to ensure that games against the likes of Manchester United aren’t such a commodity in the future.
The two sides met in the fourth round of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup on Sunday with the Red Devils coming out on top at the County Ground in Leyland.
The Clarets, who had negotiated their way past AFC Fylde Women and Sunderland AFC ladies to reach that stage of the competition, lost the tie 6-0.
However, the club’s first ever contest with a Women’s Super League outfit has thrown fuel on the flames of Bee’s burning ambition.
“It’s been a massive journey,” he said. “I came here in 2016 and the club was in the middle of the road in tier five.
“The first target was to bring ambition to it and connect the players to that, which we did, and then try to get the team through the divisions, which we’ve been able to do at a rapid rate.
“That’s down to the hard work of everyone involved. Being ambitious and taking this further is something that I’ve always wanted to do and season after season - whether it’s been promotion or a good FA Cup run - we’ve always made a statement.
“I’m so proud of the players this season because we’ve been able to do it again, we’ve managed to pull something out of the bag.
“We earned ourselves a lucrative tie against Manchester United.
“I’m proud of the journey, I’m proud of how far we’ve taken it in such a short space of time, but I always want more.
“I’m realistic with it, I know things will take time, but that ambition to keep wanting more and to keep us pushing on is something I’m a big believer in. I know my job here is to keep pushing this team forward.”
Burnley FC Women currently operate in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division, where they were sat in eighth position before the campaign was curtailed.
New Clarets chairman Alan Pace has already pledged his support and now the aim is to engineer a climb to the Championship, the second-highest division of women’s football in England.
Bee said: “When I first walked through the door here I told the group to try and set the highest standards possible for a female football club in the region.
“Resource-wise, at the time I said that, it probably wasn’t realistic because we were in a catchment area of Super League and Championship clubs, but the gap has closed and the announcement in recent weeks has made it closer than we’ve ever had it before.
“It’s really exciting for everyone connected with the club.
“We’ve always had ambition, we’ve always wanted to keep pushing on, but we’ve always tried to do it in a realistic way because we know we’re not going to get there overnight.
“We have to do it with a measured approach, but these are the types of games that you want to be involved in.
“From a personal edge I started coaching at 16 and moved into the women’s game at 20 and I’ve always had that ambition to be in the Super League. I know it will take time but, ultimately, that’s my end goal.”
The side were invited to the Barnfield Training Centre to prepare for the biggest game in their history so far.
United, managed by ex-Lionesses defender Casey Stoney MBE, highlighted the current disparity when marching into a 4-0 lead at the break.
Millie Turner, leading scorer Ella Toone, Lucy Staniforth and Amy Turner inflicted the damage in a dominant first half for the visitors.
Kirsty Hanson added a fifth early in the second half when slotting the ball past Lauren Bracewell and she scored her second of the afternoon when Jessica Sigsworth’s effort came back off the bar.
Bee concluded: “When you know that the club is fully behind it and fully supporting it I think it makes you want it even more.
“I think being ambitious as a coach and a manager is really important, but having a grounded approach is crucial as well.
“We’re wanting to push on and get to the best level possible.
“It’s massive and being in the training ground has further enhanced that feel, it’s given the players the ambition to say ‘this is where we want to go’.
“We want to be in the Championship and at some point we want to push on and be in the Super League.
“We’ve got to take a measured approach, we don’t want to try and flick a switch overnight.”