Albion pair offer support for Lucy Gillett

Hope Powell and Victoria Williams have both strongly condemned the sexist abuse former Albion goalkeeper Lucy Gillett alleges she suffered playing for her current club, Crystal Palace.

By Bruce Talbot • 17 January 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Hope Powell and Victoria Williams have spoken out in support of Lucy Gillett.

Gillett alleges that during the first half of Palace’s league game against Coventry United last Sunday, a group of eight men behind her goal directed verbally abusive comments towards the 25-year-old and her team-mates.

The FA have launched an investigation and Albion head coach Powell has called for lifetime bans for the perpetrators. She also said that if it had been directed at her, she would have walked off the pitch.

Powell said, “If they are known and I’m pretty sure they can be picked out, they should be banned for life. If I’m on the pitch and that happens to me, then I’m walking off and I wouldn’t tolerate it.

“I was quite sad when I first saw it and that it’s creeping into the women’s game. But it has to be dealt with, and there has to be proper sanctions in place to stop these people coming to the game that everyone loves.”

Gillett played for Albion in their first season in the Women’s Super League before joining Palace last January, and former team-mate Williams praised her strong reaction.

“Players don’t want to put the game at risk, and because that was a new experience for Lucy, I thought she dealt with it in a very adult manner so fair play to her," she said. 

“Women’s football has taken a big leap forward in the last couple of years, especially in terms of having a professional league. We’re trying to build positive support for the women’s game, because it needs to grow. 

“This is not something we want to see creeping into the women’s game, we can’t accept that sort of criticism and we shouldn’t have to stand for it."