Hannah Beercroft, Fran Kirby, and Danny Lagan Gonzalez Photo by Chelsea FC
Fran Kirby picked up the most prestigious award of the season so far when she was given the Chelsea Ladies FC’s Independent Supporters’ Group Player of the Year award on Saturday night just before the WSL1 match against Sunderland Ladies at Kingsmeadow Stadium.
Hannah Beercroft and Danny Lagan Gonzalez gave Fran a wonderful trophy and a bouquet of flowers.
The group also had the opportunity to ask Fran some questions. A couple of dozen questions were posted on the forum by members and several were selected by Prue Hillman to be put to Fran after the game, in which she and Eni Aluko scored in a 2-1 victory.
That win puts the Blues just one point away from the title and they face Bristol City Ladies away tomorrow night with the prospect of lifting the trophy very much in their hands.
Kirby, who notched up her 25th goal of the season in Saturday night’s match was more than willing to share her thoughts on the questions selected.
Here are her replies.
Louise Bradshaw asked: “Who was your biggest influence growing up as a player and what would you have done as a job if you had not chosen football as a career?”
Fran said: “The biggest influence was probably my family. They were big drivers, taking me to every game and everything like that, so my family were the biggest influence.
“If I hadn’t played? I suppose I would still have done something sporty. I grew up in a very sporting family, so perhaps physiotherapy or sports science, strength and conditioning. I’m a big, big believer in the gym. So maybe something along those lines.
But definitely something in sport.”
Kerry Evans said: “Can you hear ‘Super Fran Kirby’ chants during the game?”
Kirby smiled and said: “Yeah, I can. Obviously it’s really nice for me. But I like to stay focused on the game. But I love it when we have such a huge crowd. That the crowd are really behind us, that they come up with the songs for everyone. All the girls like it. Even Eni was singing along with them to ‘Super Fran’.
“Yeah, it’s nice.”
Mal Searle asked: “I saw you in IKEA at Croydon. Was that to buy a trophy cabinet?”
Fran laughed: “Yeah, you probably did see me in IKEA in Croydon. It’s probably my nearest IKEA. Probably not to buy a trophy cabinet, probably to buy a bedside cabinet or something like that.”
Chloe Leadbeater said: “What was it like to get through that injury and then to have a season like you have had? What other silverware would you like to win in your career - personally and team-wise?”
“Obviously it was a really tough injury for me to go through,” she said.
“But coming back, it’s made me as a person and a player. Obviously it put me at my lowest low, so then I had to mentally get through it. But I managed to do that and get back on the pitch and do what I have done this season. I’m very proud of myself, and very proud of the team. Obviously I want to win as much as I can as a team. Missing out on the Continental (Tyres) Cup, probably was the difficult one, and one I probably want to win now, as I’ve won the others. The main thing for me is team trophies. It’s great to get individual ones, but it doesn’t matter unless you are winning.”
Ashley Tonk’s said: “With the departure of Katie Chapman and Claire Rafferty at the end of the season, the squad will lose a lot of experience in the dressing room. How do you feel this will impact on the team?”
Fran said: “Obviously we will miss them both heavily - whether that is on the pitch or off. They are great for the team. Obviously now we are going to have to have players who are going to step in. I think we have been able to do that. A lot of the girls have taken on leadership roles this year. It’s going to be a big loss for us. But you know, we are going to make sure that we really push on now and go for more titles. And hopefully they have amazing memories of being here.”
Finally from Emma Chislet: “Not a question, but could you pass on to everyone else at the club how very proud we are of them and how much the club means to us as fans.”
Fran said: “Ah, that’s very nice, thank you very much.”