Jess Stanford

Stanford reflects on Posh Women’s development, a successful season and the impact fan’s support has on the team.

Peterborough United Women midfielder Jess Stanford (nee Driscoll) takes a look back at her footballing journey, the growth of the club and reflects on a successful 2023/24 season in the FA Women’s National League Division One Midlands.

Posh Women look to make it four league wins on the bounce, despite falling to a 3-1 defeat in the Northants FA Cup Final against Northampton Town Women last Sunday. With only two fixtures remaining, Posh sit in third having accumulated 43 points from 20 games- the highest tally the club has achieved so far. Stanford is keen to not dwell on the result:

“We can’t think too negatively about last Sunday, the girls know that the performance wasn’t good enough so all we can do now is build on that, come together as a team, now more than ever, and just go and enjoy these last two games.”

“I think we definitely shouldn’t underestimate Leek or Leafield, they’re going to be fully aware that they need to go into these games knowing that they can’t get anything less than three points, so we need to be cautious of them being really up for the game and go in with an open mind. I remember last time that they [Leek] were quite physical and they gave us a good game despite the scoreline, so we need to go in with full force and make sure that we’re the team that comes out on top.”

Since joining the first team, Stanford has scored 85 goals and made 139 overall appearances for the club (the second highest total within the current squad), making her a well-admired and key player for the Posh Women:

“I was really pleased when I received my 100th appearance shirt, it’s a great achievement and I’m proud to have made that many appearances for a great team. Posh is my home, I’ve got a lot of friends and family that live near here and support me and with the men’s side being such a huge part of Peterborough as well, it’s so good to be a part of a club that only ever seems to be going in the right direction.”

“Personally, it’s nice to be a part of the team, to feel loved, for people to be able to turn on me and to support the new girls coming in- I think that’s really key. We’re helping to inspire the next generation that come up as well and having been a part of the club for so long, I’d like to say that I’m an experienced player that can give good direction to youngsters about where they want to end up.”

Stanford reflected on her own footballing journey: “I was around nine-years-old when I started playing football. I come from a massive footballing background, my two brothers, my Dad and all my cousins used to come round and all play football in the garden. After starting at a girl’s team for a few years, I went for a trial at Arsenal U12s Centre of Excellence and stayed there for seven years. I then worked my way up until I got to the Reserves where I would occasionally join in with the First Team.”

The midfielder is pleased to see how much the club has grown since she first joined the Posh Scholarship:

“The club was very different to how it is now. I remember we played on a school pitch which, as you can imagine, had the grass coming up to our knees, we were in baggy kits, our tops and shorts that were way too big for us and there wasn’t any physios, media or analysis.”

“For me, I think one of key moments in the club's growth was when we had the opportunity to perform at London Road. That was a great opportunity for the team to bring in our own fans and encourage people to come and watch us play. Getting names on the back of our shirts was also amazing.

“I think that the Lionesses winning the Euros was a turning point for a lot of clubs including ourselves. I think the way that they allowed more people to watch women’s games on TV helped encourage more girls to get involved, which ultimately led to us creating a bigger fan base.”

Abbey Lawn has been home of the Posh Women for a few seasons, with most home fixtures attracting crowds up to 500 fans. Stanford is grateful for the supporters who attend:

“It was great when we moved to Abbey Lawn. It’s always nice to hear the fans when you play, they support you no matter what the result is and also spur you on to go that extra mile to win games as well. I know the girls and I are so appreciative of the fans we get and also how vocal they are. We hear them from the sidelines and it really doesn’t go unnoticed- a huge thank you to them.”

Written by Lucy Bloxham

  • Photo Credit: Darren Wiles