Dartford make it to Wembley!
The DFC Crew were out in full force on Saturday 14th May as we went to Wembley for the SSE Women's FA Cup Final, which was contested between Arsenal Ladies FC and Chelsea Ladies FC.
To increase our chances of making it onto television, we managed to acquire the flag that is put up on the netting at the Dartford men's First Team games, held at Princes Park.
The Dartford flag is hung high at Princes Park during one of the men's games.
These chances were indeed increased, not enough to make it onto the live coverage by the BBC, but enough to make it onto the big screen at Wembley!
Michaela Hill, former Dartford player who will be a part of the new Girls Academy next year: I was absolutely buzzing for this year's final, having been to the final for the past two years (last year at Wembley, and the year before at Stadium MK Dons). I was even more happy when Arsenal made it, as they are one of my favourite ladies teams. So I borrowed my mum's old Arsenal shirt and then put on all of my Dartford gear (tracksuit top and bottoms, basically) and then my mum, my Dad and I left for Dartford Station, where we got the train to Waterloo East before taking a journey on the London Underground. We arrived at Wembley, where we searched for everyone else. After finding them, all of us Dartford girls got together for a photo.
We all went into the stadium and took our seats, after some confusion as to where everyone was sitting! In the end, we sat in the seat that our tickets stated, before all of us Dartford girls moved to the front two rows. Shantel and Sophie (the only two Chelsea supporters out of the bunch), were sat right in the middle of all of us Arsenal fans, which was quite amusing. As a way to try and get us on TV, I decided to get in contact with my friend Nikki Waterman, who knows pretty much everyone at Dartford FC, to see if she knew anyone that had a flag that we could use to try and get on TV. She came back to me and said yes and me and the flag person arranged a time to meet. He then showed me the flag. I was SHOCKED when I found out, not just how big it was, but I recognised it as the flag that they put up inside the stadium for the men's matchdays!
So we all proudly hoisted the flag up high and managed to get ourselves on the big screen. Naturally, the only picture I could find has me with my arm up, looking like a loony. I thought the match was a bit scrappy to be honest, as most cup finals are, but Danielle Carter's goal was absolutely superb. All us Arsenal fans leapt up and yelled our heads off cheering! Arsenal could have gone 2-0 up in the second half but the Chelsea keeper pulled off an amazing reaction save with her foot to keep the ball out of the net. In the end Arsenal won 2-0 and we were all very happy (well, except for two of us!). Most of us stayed to watch the cup ceremony and those that did were treated by signatures and selfies with some of the Arsenal players. I got my ticket signed by Alex Scott, the winning captain, and I got a selfie with Casey Stoney.
We tried getting Casey's boots as well, but she told us that if she gave them away then she wouldn't have any for Saturday, even though we offered to buy her a new pair! After that everyone went home, except for me and my parents.
We went to a TGI Friday's restaurant right outside of the ground and had a lovely meal, especially the dessert!
Shannon Dunham, Under 14's Captain:
On Saturday we went to Wembley on a train with most of the football team. This day was very fun as we were all together and we had an appearance on the big screen at Wembley with our rather large Dartford flag. I went there to support Arsenal and we came out on top of Chelsea winning the cup! I am glad I went on this trip as it was great and it was great to spend time with players from the other age groups as well as my own team!
Elly Woods, Under 15's Player:
On Saturday it was Arsenal Ladies vs Chelsea Ladies. My family woke up and my little brothers were all excited and so was I, we were already in our Arsenal shirts to leave! We drove up there. My sister, brothers and I were very excited, I think we annoyed our dad but oh well! We arrived at Wembley and it was my little brother's first time at a stadium like Wembley he was so happy and was smiling like mad. We got out the car and started to walk towards Wembley and we met Shantel and her family. Then we walked up the steps and it took a while as my mum was on crutches. We met all of our team mates and messed around a bit then we had a photo taken as we were all in our Dartford tracksuit tops, we really looked like a team! Then we all went into the stadium. I read my ticket and I thought I didn't have a seat as it was 114-124 they took out 10 seats and I read that my seat was 119 but then Michaela read it and I was reading my block number. It was quite funny! Then we all sat down in our seats and all of us Dartford Girls were in rows 1&2. We all supported Arsenal apart from two weirdoes who like Chelsea (which were Shantel from the Under 13s and Sophie from the Under 14s).
The game started and we were cheering as loudly as possible for Arsenal by shouting "ARSENAL!" then Shantel and Sophie were shouting "CHELSEA!" but we were much louder. Then Arsenal scored through Danielle Carter and we were all so happy. While the game was going on we were taking selfies and having fun mugging each other off. Then the final whistle blew and Arsenal won we were all so happy apart from the two Chelsea supporters. Then we got signatures from the Arsenal players.
I asked Casey Stoney for her boots but she needed them for Saturday's game. I got Casey to sign the back of my phone and got a selfie with her. I also got a selfie with the goalscorer Danielle Carter, who also won Man of the Match.
It was a great day spent with the Dartford girls and a great game to watch. Thank you to my mum for organising it!
And finally, Katy Woods, the organiser of the entire trip:
After the end of the Under 13's first season I thought it would be a nice treat to take them to Wembley to see the Women's FA Cup Final, at that point we didn't even know which teams made it through! Talk between parents about the trip brought interest from parents in other teams, in total 16 adults and 22 children, (with every Dartford Girls team represented) made the trip to Wembley. Much excitement on match day was shared across most peoples' Facebook pages, including pictures of the journeys and first sightings of the famous Wembley Arch. We all met outside Wembley where photos were taken and the excitement grew. Great seats in rows 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 meant fantastic views.
Michaela had brought a giant Dartford FC flag which we hung over the safety rail, hoping to catch the attention of photographers and cameramen. With the flag, and all our girls in their black and white Dartford tracksuits, it didn't take long for them to be noticed and they made it into the big screen. We all stood for the national anthem and the whistle blew to begin the game. With the majority of us supporting Arsenal (even if only for this game) we were over the moon when they scored very early on in the first half, after a great start. A couple of good saves were made at each end and before we knew it, it was half time. The second half included lots of good 50/50 tackles and near misses at each end, and a real flurry of play in the last 10 minutes. We went mad at the final whistle: Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea.
It was a great game of football played fantastically right in front of the girls, it was a real inspiration for them. After watching the presentation of the cup and the lap of honour for both teams, it was great for our girls to get autographs and selfies taken with most of the Arsenal Ladies players .
A fantastic day was had by all and it seems that, already, we are planning our next Dartford day out!