Carly Telford column: “I can’t wait for the WSL season to start”

Notts County and England goalkeeper Carly Telford talks to The Offside Rule about taking a break from football during the winter, the benefits of the women’s game going professional, and the reality of being a player during the transfer window.

Pre-season returns

Sometimes it’s good to just hit refresh after a long season; it’s easy to forget most of your friends are footballers! I was out in Melbourne over the winter and spent time with several of the Melbourne City players and it was nice to get away, enjoy time with each other and recover. It was great to have that break, it goes quickly as it always does but it’s also great to be back at Notts County too.

I went skiing with the family in Bulgaria shortly before pre-season and I actually found myself saying to my brother that I missed it – I missed being back with the girls, so it’s been great getting back to work. It’s brilliant that we can actually call what we do “work” now too!

It’s been tricky rotating football with my university studies, but I’m now a full-time employee of the football club and I’m trying to remain a model student at the same time. As long as I let them know that I have to miss certain lectures that I will catch up on then it’s fine… they knew they were taking on a professional athlete!

Now that we are full-time there’s not that awful period of trying to cram so many sessions into a couple of hours in the evening, we can manage things a lot better now and we do a lot more work with the ball as opposed to just getting back to full fitness. It’s been better, things have been well spread out and it’s been great to get back in. A lot of the girls have worked on fitness over the winter so that hasn’t been too tough so far either. If we hadn’t done that then we’d be very, very sore after the first week back, that’s for sure.

There used to be Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday sessions, which we would absolutely dread because it would just be running and fitness. If you were lucky you’d get 20 minutes with the ball at the end of the day. Pre-season is simply much more enjoyable now – we’re on the ball more, we’ve got more time to prepare ourselves for games because we’re in everyday. It is just natural now, nobody has to work 9-5 over Christmas or anything like that, it’s all about the football and that’s great for everyone involved with the club.

The transfer frenzy

The transfer window is a really awkward time for the players, I’m not going to lie. I missed most of what was going on whilst in Australia, which was good for me; I just wanted to get away and enjoy myself. You do come home and catch up on things, see deals that you’ve missed, but I’m not one of those people who will go looking for rumours and what’s going on.

If players want to come to your club they’ll come and if they don’t then they don’t. There’s not much you can do as a player to force things. You might send the odd text to someone you know, but there are so many factors involved these days. Agents are involved, there’s more money involved, there are incentives such as Champions League football.

It’s a weird time for a footballer. You come in and there might be players who have left, players there who might not be staying and new faces that you have to get to know.

It’s a livelihood now, there’s a lot to think about when signing a new contract or signing a contract at a new club. But I’m here, I’m well, I’ve signed a new deal and whatever will be will be regarding the girls around me. As far as I’m concerned, I can’t make anyone stay at this club and I can’t make anyone join this club. People have to start looking after themselves and leave the rest down to the management.

We have the best job in the world, but I’m sure you’ll see people moving around in the next few weeks because that’s the world of the transfer window.

It doesn’t happen a lot, but I will send a text to a player if the boss asks me. If I hear a player is close to joining then I’ll see what I can do if it’s someone I know, but I’ll do it in a nice enough way so as not to put pressure on them. You can’t force someone to move, they have to think about location, family, money and I’m sure my text message support won’t be high on their list of priorities.

You have players who have good seasons who may want Champions League football or they may want to be closer to their family or friends, and then they have other people doing the leg work –players can take a back seat and concentrate on other things during the season while the agents do their job. There are more players moving this winter who have been bought out of their contracts so it is becoming more and more acceptable now that if a player wants to move, they’ll move.

I remember once I didn’t want to leave a club because I had friends there and I didn’t want to upset the manager. It wasn’t about money back then, but now there’s a real business aspect to it, you’re not just getting £20 a game anymore. But that’s fine, everyone has to earn a living and that’s the way the game is going. It’s exciting that players can make a livelihood out of the game.

As for me: I can’t deny that the best years of my career have been under Rick [Passmoor] so I’m more than happy to be at Notts County this season.

Read more from Carly here!

Follow Carly on Twitter @carlytelford1

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