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The work of the Fulham Lillies

8th March 2024

Pan-shot of faces of co-founders of the Fulham Lillies supporter group, wearing various Fulham shirts

Trust board member and Fulham Lillie’s Chair, Sarah Keig, takes the opportunity to explain in more detail the amazing work that the Fulham Lillies are focused on as they aim to grow the female Fulham supporter base and foster more inclusion within the men’s and women’s game.

International Women’s Day occurs globally on the 8th March every year. It honours the amazing women who campaigned for women’s rights and those who continue to do so today. Here at Fulham we are lucky enough to have a number of women who campaign to give female supporters and their allies a voice within the club and encourage and promote a more diverse fanbase.

Women and football is not a new thing. However, while it is becoming far more accepted to watch a football match as a woman, that doesn’t mean that it’s a completely safe environment. From sexist abuse to poor toilet facilities, merchandise sold as unisex, when it’s really a men’s fit, feeling safe walking to and from a game, the modern game still has a long way to go to make women feel completely welcome.

Formed in July 2022 the Fulham Lillies are a female run supporters group who have created a space which encourages more women and young girls to actively support Fulham as well as giving them a voice within the Club. For women and girls, football stadiums can be overwhelming places. The Lillies want to ensure that no female fan feels they can’t attend a live game. We organise meet ups before home games at The Teahouse in Bishops Park. These allow female fans to meet in a safe environment and talk to others about their love of Fulham, and also provide an opportunity to walk to games together in a group with other female supporters. Through a generous donation from Joe Bryan, we were able to purchase two season tickets in the Hammersmith End. The tickets are offered to Lillies members through a ballot as well as local organisations such as women focused charities and female football teams.

Working closely with the club, we have been involved a number of initiatives including a women’s fit for the 2nd and 3rd kits and next season all three kits will be sold with the option of a female size. There are free sanitary products in the female toilets and the club are working towards improved toilet facilities and baby changing facilities.

We’ve also been working on a report around accessibility of football for young children (read here) and are working with Fulham and the Football Supporters Association (FSA) to encourage all clubs to adopt their recommendations. 

We also have big ambitions regarding Fulham Women. In recent years, the club has put a lot of focus on creating a women’s team and a pathway that will hopefully allow them to be competitive in the WSL. The Lillies have worked to increase the visibility of the women’s team, lobbying the Club for a women’s match to be held at the Cottage last season, which they did. It was so successful they held another game at the Cottage this season and over 3,000 people attended. This included 16 adults and 32 children from a local Fulham primary school who received tickets donated by the Fulham Lillies. The Lillies are hopeful that this will now become a regular event for the Fulham Women’s Team. It’s been from conversations with the club that instrumental in last season’s International Women’s Day celebrations including Rachel Yankey becoming the recipient of the Forever Fulham award. 

Outside of the club the Lillies are members of the FSA and have mentored a number of new female supporters groups. Providing support and advice to those starting up their own female led supporters group. Through the FSA they have been involved in the Karen Carney review of the women’s game, attended sustainability meetings with Pledgeball and one of the Lillies travelled to Belgium to take part in a 2-day workshop on the future of football, that looks at ways to get more young people to participate in supporters organisations as part of an initiative run by Football Supporters Europe. We’ve regularly featured in various media outlets and on podcasts spreading the word of female fandom and have become a positive addition to the Fulham supporter community. 

It’s free to join the Fulham Lillies just head to the website to sign up.

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