West Ham Women: Jack's the lad to take team to Wembley
PUBLISHED: 11:30 12 April 2019
Hammers chief executive Sullivan reveals his dream of taking West Ham to Wembley
West Ham Women’s chief executive Jack Sullivan is not only taking on the day-to-day workings of the football club, he is also having his every move followed by a TV camera crew.
A BBC documentary – ‘Britain’s Youngest Football Boss – has been following the exploits of the team through their inaugural Women’s Super League season.
And so when I sit down to chat with Jack, son of men’s team co-owner David Sullivan, about Sunday’s semi-final, the cameraman is there too.
The 19-year-old has taken it in his stride though and has a maturity beyond his tender years as well as the enthusiasm of youth.
“I think since we took over there has been a lot happening here,” he said. “We turned full-time professional last summer, we won two cups last season so it has been an exciting time.
“But to be honest we have taken it all in our stride and it is something we are not thinking about too much.”
Sullivan is excited about what is to come. Sunday sees the FA Cup semi-final with Reading at Wycombe Wanderers and the prospect of the Hammers going to Wembley for the final.
“Personally it was something I always wanted to do. Get West Ham to Wembley. The men didn’t manage it this year so maybe the women can,” he said.
“I think it is still the biggest game in women’s football and to play at an iconic stadium like Wembley would be fantastic.
“I think it would be the best day of my life as a personal achievement.”
Before that, West Ham Women must negotiate a tricky tie against Reading and Jack is hoping the experience of his team will play to their advantage.
“We have got a squad who are really talented, we have got a squad that have been there and done it and we have a lot of internationals, but we also have the mixture with the young and enthusiastic,” he said.
“It was important to get that mixture right. Only time will tell if we can win. It will be a great thank you to the club and to the fans for their support this year.”
Support at their home ground of Rush Green has been astonishing this season, comparing favourably to most of the non-league teams in the area which is a matter of great satisfaction to the chief executive.
“We have increased attendances by 112 per cent this season and been doing a lot of the work with the community, so it would be great to say thanks to everyone who has helped us,” he said.
“Last summer we could have said let’s be happy playing in the second or third tier of women’s football, but we decided to push it and now we are in the top flight with 20 full-time professionals so maybe we can push one last time and get to Wembley.”
The cameras are switched off and young Jack returns to his thoughts. Most of them are about his football team and the progress they are undoubtedly making, win or lose on Sunday.