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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 June 2007, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Murphy on Charlton's demise
Danielle Murphy
By Danielle Murphy
Charlton and England midfielder

Four FA Cup finals in six years, three League Cup finals in six years, consistently challenging for the Premier League title every season.

Does this sound like the kind of team that you would want to just give up on and basically shaft? This is what Charlton Athletic has done.

Now most people are probably thinking that club has not been that successful.

You are wrong because they have, however it wasn't the men who were performing so well but the women's team.

Danielle Murphy
Murphy and Charlton missed out in the FA Cup final to Arsenal
Over the last six years it is clearly the women's team that has achieved the most glory and success, enhancing Charlton Athletic's reputation as a club that looks to the future and is open to changing attitudes within the football world.

This has come to an abrupt end. The men's team got relegated and now the only people to suffer are the girls.

The men underperform but still keep their massive pay cheques, the women's side has all its financial support stopped.

The Charlton board continue to sit in their lovely Laura Ashley offices and drive in their fast cars - the little girls who dreamt of playing for Charlton and England are told the girls' section of the club is no longer going to exist.

How fair is that from this family-orientated club?

I am a first team player, I trained every week, five times a week. I have a full-time job on top of that and had to travel an-hour-and-a-half every time to get to training.

I gave up my weekends to travel the country to represent Charlton Athletic because I was proud to do it.

Girls would travel up to four hours to train for two hours twice a week because we wanted to be the best.

That to me is commitment. Not just taking the money, coming to train for a couple of hours and then show no heart when you eventually play your 90 minutes for 20,000 a week.

When Charlton Athletic took over and introduced a women's section in the club a lot of people were excited. Success breads interest and we were good.

The thing that they seem to overlook is that we still are but because we do not make them enough money we are more of a burden.

I am writing because I am hurt, and I feel I have been mistreated. After four years of total commitment I get a voicemail from the manager saying the girls' section is no more.

606: DEBATE
DL
Is that all I am worth? The Charlton board did not even have the decency to call a meeting, to face the players and look them in the eye and explain their reasons for this decision.

That to me is disrespectful and totally unacceptable. A large part of my life was devoted to this club and in return I have been treated like this.

One-and-a-half months ago I was playing in an FA Cup final in front of 25,000 people for Charlton Athletic. Promoting their club, wearing my heart on my sleeve for that club.

How things change. I will move on, I have my own life, a real job as a firefighter that I work at and I will probably eventually play for another club.

I feel sorry for those girls who are 10-14 years old playing at the centre of excellence, teenagers attending the girls academy, and reserve team players who had ambitions to break into the first team.

What happens to them? Where do they go from here?

All I know is that within one minute of a voicemail message from my manager my thoughts and beliefs of Charlton Athletic as the family team had changed.

They are just like the rest of these multi-million businesses. People's feelings, hearts and morals do not come into it - it is all about money.

Maybe if the men's team played for the reasons we played for then we all would not be in this situation.

Maybe if the Charlton executives had more faith in people rather than money Charlton Athletic could have been the club it pretends to be.



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