COGS in Review – 2021

It’s hard to imagine, writing this, that when we started 2021 we weren’t allowed to play grassroots football.  We weren’t allowed to see our friends for some fun football outside and we definitely weren’t allowed to play in any friendlies.   What happened throughout the year was the beginning to getting back to a relatively normal existence, until we were hit with another variant!   We stuck together as a large group of women, supporting each other, looking after others and checking in on each other and the year unravelled as follows:


4th:  Football was suspended AGAIN with immediate effect, due to Covid, and it was back to the online quizzes!

5th:  Our first Easyfundraising Birthday and in the first year we had earned £155.62 just from people clicking a link when they shopped online.  It’s well worth doing for groups like ours as every little bit helps, as they say.   If you haven’t signed up already, here is the link:

The 5th also saw the return of our COGS’ Minute Challenge to keep everyone active.

Records were kept daily of everyone’s activity contributions and photo evidence was gathered too.

During January, spirits were kept high by everyone supporting each other.   The result was a video to inspire others…

13th:  Had to add this is, as it’s important.  We posted a meme about Diego Simeone….

One of the comments from our Nicola just said “When you play football you forget about everything”.   How true is that?  We think that should be going on a COGS’ meme! Watch this space…..

15th:  Our first Lockdown Quiz was expertly delivered by Debbie & Alison, although there was some controversy over Christopher Walken & Richard E. Grant!   The less said the better…

Charlie was the winner, with Sandra a very close second and Kerry was gifted “The Golden 💩 for giving out an answer before the answers were given out (yes, we all cracked up)! Maria enjoyed the wooden spoon, hopefully!  Such good fun that we had another 2.

20th:  We couldn’t celebrate but this was the 1st Birthday of our Walking Football sessions.  Unfortunately, since we started, most of the time we weren’t able to play as it was indoors!  Plans were being made to take it outdoors so that we could get going again more quickly, after restrictions were relaxed.

27th:  Our final figures from the Lockdown 3 Challenge meant that we completed 639 hours of activity, as well as 449 from the Lockdown 2 Challenge.  A great effort from everyone!

As we only had memories to go on, we also looked back on the 4th anniversary of the showing, of the first of the BBC South East Inside Out films that Sam Supple filmed for us, encouraging others to get the football bug, at a later age.


2nd:  We were inspired by many COGS who took on the COGS’ Minute Challenge and especially those who started the Couch to 5K.  Viv, who at 66, was inspiring others said she might like to start that too.  So, with this in mind, we entered a competition being run by Alex Scott on Instagram to win some new Nike running trainers. There were a few pairs she was giving away so we explained all about Viv and guess what?  We won a pair for Viv.  So exciting!

22nd:   Excitement builds as the 29th March is announced as the day we can Return to Play!  Whoop!  Covid procedures reviewed and put in place ready for the last Monday in March.  The excitement was real.

24th:  We held an Inaugural Women’s Recreational Forum.  It was intended to just be a place where we could catch up on Zoom with Women’s Recreational groups around the country.  It was attended by many recreational team organisers along with Rachel Pavlou and Sharon Muxworthy and was a really good discussion and information evening around all things Women’s Rec. Football.   You can watch it here:


1st:  “It’s more than just football……”

Nearing the Return to Play, we got some of our COGS to explain in a few words what COGS meant to them.  Words like “changed my life” as well as “fun”, “laughter” and “transformed my life” are just some of those words.  Life-changing, it really does enhance your life when you become active and make some wonderful new female friends.  Have a read…

5th:  Lockdown Quiz 3 – Another epic night!

7th:  Carol chatted with Abi Ticehurst for Abi’s SELK Women’s Grassroots’ Podcast to celebrate International Women’s Day.  What a great chat, which could have gone on for much longer!  You can listen here:

8th:  For International Women’s Day, we spoke to three inspiring COGS to hear their stories.  These stories really uplift you when you read them.  Every women has their own inspiring story!

Sarah – Sarah hasn’t let age, or the fact that many years ago she was the only women on the football courses, put off following her dreams.

Emma – Emma plucked up the courage to come on her own and hasn’t looked back.

Viv – Viv turned up at football on her 65th Birthday to play and no one could believe it, we thought she was about 50!

14th:  Mother’s Day.  As part of Mother’s Day, we featured some inspirational COGS and their stories, including their children.

Lisa & Aimee –

Rebecca & Jack –

Lisa & George –

24th:  An exciting day, as Tracey passed her FA Introduction to Coaching Course, after trialling the new online course with mentoring from Sharon Muxworthy (FA Regional Coach Development Officer).  Tracey, now helping coach our Walking Football sessions, is a great asset and a prime example of how not being able to play football a few years ago turned into being indefatigueable in defence as well as having an appetite to learn more about coaching.   Well done, Tracey!

The 24th was a busy day!  The Return to Play Guidelines were issued by The FA (very exciting!)

24th cont’d: Carol & Sandra appeared on the wonderful podcast concept from This Fan Girl called “The Biggest Fan Pod” where friends or people who know the interviewee well, ask the questions.  This was great fun to do!   You can listen here:

26th:  As we’re getting near to the end of getting back to playing, there were so many inspiring stories of COGS achieving goals they’d set and one of those was Rebecca Holloway, who completed the Coach to 5K.  On completing that challenge, Rebecca donated £100 to COGS, which we agreed would go to a new annual recognition of someone who had inspired others – The Alkira Inspiration Award.  Here is Rebecca at the beginning of the challenge stating that her favourite running was running after a football!


28th:  The final results were in for all of our COGS’ Minute Lockdown Challenges.  A total of 127,598 minutes of activity, 2127 hours and 2632 Kms were completed.  A great effort!

29th:  The Return to Play week and there was plenty of excitement just to be back on the pitch, over various sessions!


16th:  Crawley Old Girls (COGS) is 6 years old!  What a lot we’ve achieved in the last 6 years, definitely something to celebrate!

28th:   COGS gained the FA Charter Standard Adult Club Accreditation.

29th:  A very exciting evening was held on the 29th, with Women In Sport and Getty Images who partnered together.  The research project was into the menopause, and sport and activity, alongside a new curation of images and films.  After getting together some “unbranded” COGS, we spent the evening with some wonderful photographers and interviewers, who brought the joy of playing football together, as a team sport with midlIfe women and put it into a series of images and videos for the Women In Sport/Getty Images – Inspiring Women to be active during Midlife project.  This can be viewed here: and included Carol and 3 other women in midlife.

The curation of visuals will sit in Getty’s Disrupt Aging® collection. The images and videos are available on Getty Images and their sister site iStock for editorial, commercial and stock usage.

Women In Sport is a charitable organisation whose purpose is to “give every woman and girl the opportunity to take part in sport and inspire her to do so.”  Check out their work, they do some great stuff!


1st:  On May 1st, we were excited to play our first friendly since returning to play and it was our annual adventure to Lewes to play 11v11 against our long time friends the Lewes FC Women Vets.  As usual the hospitality was brilliant and a great day was had by all, especially with the torrential rain we encountered. Between us we raised £466 for Crawley Open House from the day. We hired local photographer Jane Stotty to take some photos for us and she got soaked too but produced some brilliant photos, of Women’s Recreational Football, which can be viewed here:

You can read all about it, here:

We also proved that whatever the weather, even in torrential rain, playing football for fun is still (sort of) enjoyable!


19th:  The Women In Sport webinar on “Inspiring Women to be Active during Midlife and Menopause” was released and streamed live, today.

19th con’td.  An important day in the calendar for the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Competition, Legacy Project!  Today was the day when the Legacy was launched on the lawns in front of the Royal Pavillion, in Brighton.  We were excited to be there to join in with other partners and organisations to help promote women & girls playing football and all the details around one of the Competition’s Host Cities, Brighton & Hove.  Local and national media were invited as well as the FA Leaders of the Project and a good afternoon was had!

26th:  As part of our COGS’ Minute Challenge through Lockdown, Mel pledged to walk 1000 miles to raise money for the Pregnancy Sickness Support Charity (after her daughter suffered thoughtout her pregnancy) and she ended her challenge by walking to COGS for that night’s session.  Unfortunately, Mel didn’t get past the Redz Bar to join in but what a brilliant achievement tied in with COGS.  With shin pads raised and after 147 days, Mel celebrated her final steps!


Without doubt a great month with the EUROS and tables of 6 (watching it inside) going into July!

8th:  What a pleasure to be asked on the Game Changers Podcast with Sue Anstiss MBE.  Discussing all things COGS and the growth of Women’s Recreational Football to a national audience was a real privilege, especially when you look at who the other guests have been!

You can listen here:

9th:  We had an influx of beginners this week and it was great to see, especially with those bright colours!

12th:  An announcement at 10.30pm the previous evening and a British Empire Medal for Carol.  Mark Dunford of the Crawley Observer was allowed to get the story prepared prior to the announcement and it was a day of humble thanks to everyone for helping to get this Award.  Bit strange writing about yourself but it was honestly a massive surprise, which wouldn’t have happened without so many people, especially Rachel Pavlou and all the COGS!  Thanks to Mat Cowdrey and those who supported the nomination.

22nd:  Carol was asked by Austrian TV – ORF to produce a piece of video to be used as the introduction to a football magazine show called “Heimspiel” for the Men’s EUROS.  Each country was asked to produce one piece for their country and we were asked to produce a piece for England.  How amazing!  After sending the original video, Hannah wanted to do a piece of video on the COGS so another piece was produced and sent, which was aired on Austrian TV.  Unfortunately, this is the only evidence we can get now, that works!


10th:  1 year to #COGSEUROFEST22 and a “Save the Date”:

11th:  Our first Walking Football friendly along with an afternoon of Recreational (running) football at Seaford organised by the Newhaven Ladies Vets.

Finishing at 4pm, it gave us all time to get back to the BIG game of the evening!  The Men’s EURO2020 FINAL.

15th:  Footgolf Evening to raise money for Crawley Open House.  COGS were represented with Fatima’s team.


13th:  What a brilliant evening we had with the Horsham Eagles, playing some fun friendlies.  We didn’t have any refs and everyone enjoyed a great night of football, finishing up in the bar, being the last ones to leave.  We can only wish we had facilities like that!  It was also the first ever competitive games for Harriot, Sheena and Grace!

It was also the day that Nicola said “When I play football, everything seems good in the world”.  How true is that?!

26th:  An evening in Brighton for the LGBTQ Super Sixes Tournament supported by Sussex County FA & Albion in the Community.  A great evening racing against time to play in the light, in Preston Park and some fun games with other women’s rec. teams with a visit from Fliss Gibbons and Kayleigh Green from Brighton & HA Women.  You can read all about it here:

29th:  A day & night, which had been delayed by Covid but we finally got there.  A day to share, with our friends the Canterbury Old Bags, playing some fun football and finishing off the evening with some superb tunes in the Redz Bar!  Can’t show those photos for fear of being sued…..

The event also incorporated the announcing of the Inaugural Alkira Inspiration Award winner, which was voted for by the COGS.  As much as it was for everyone else, the majority of the votes came in for Carol.  Due to this, we decided that there should be another award just for this year, so the COGS Inspirational Award was given to Tracey, who thoroughly deserved it!


3rd:  A feature in Midlife Matters Magazine, thanks to Katie Day.

5th:  We’d been talking about it for a while and we finally managed to get a date together to play against Clapton CFC’s Women’s Rec. team.  Privileged to be the first teams to play at the newly (part) renovated Old Spotted Dog ground, we had an amazing afternoon of catching up with some old friends and making new ones.  The games were full of laughter, some skill and plenty of pride in what had been achieved by the wonderful volunteers at Clapton.  If you want to know the story of the oldest senior football ground in the country and how it’s being transformed back to life, you can read all about it on their website.

We were also treated to some fabulous photographs from the wonderful professional photographer @_100Fires_ .  Here are a mixture of some of the great shots of the day.  We especially like the one of Viv, who at 66, is chatting to “the Boss” who was 13!

8th:  The weather had been pretty diabolical but even we couldn’t play in this and so we cancelled the session!

11th:  Crawley Town’s Talk of the Town – While the Cat’s Away – COGS Edition!

Go to 17:36 to check out how the COGS got on trying to get the ball in the hole, in a minute.  We didn’t do too badly!



13th & 20th:  Tackling Inequalities Project. 

COGS worked with Sussex Cricket Foundation, with funding from Active Sussex, to deliver some sessions to try and increase diversity in Women’s Recreational Football and cricket.  Working with Charlotte Burton from SCF, we held 2 sessions on 2 mornings which covered the basics of football and cricket.  Women participated in both sessions and we were pleased that we had a total of 18 attendees, 5 of which went on to attend one of our sessions.  The final 2 sessions are planned for March 2022.

14th:  Women in Football launch their #GetOnside Campaign.

COGS are included in the pledges for the Campaign and will continue to find new ways to give opportunities to those who wish to play recreational football.   You can check out the Campaign on the Women in Football website, where there have been some incredible pledges made to take action for gender equality in football.

21st:  We had an amazing request from our friends at This Fan Girl to any Arsenal supporting COGS, who would like to be part of a social edit with Adidas in relation to the NLD.  Kerry was the ideal candidate and she sent off a short film prior to being chosen along with 3 others from around football.  The short film was shown from the Arsenal social media accounts and you can see it on Twitter, here:

Thanks, TFG, for the opportunity!

25th:  We travelled to Brighton for the Hot Women FC tournament, which was organised to raise money for the Afghan refugees.  After some fun football and an evening in the pub, the raffle and all donations raised totalled £2500!  That’s an amazing effort!


3rd:   For a long while, we tried to purchase some more of the bibs that we currently have and we drew a blank.  The bibs we have are Nike and are one size and fit all shapes but you can’t get them anywhere.  It’s so important for women to feel comfortable when they come into a new activity, so we wrote about it!

BIBS – “Older” Women in Football & Comfort – October 2021

5th:  COGS became “Heart safe” after a very kind donation of a defibrillator through Viv Moore’s son Andy and Lee Messling of SW Bruce & Co. Ltd.  We are extremely grateful for their generosity and you can read about how it happened here:

10th:   A friendly with our friends up the road, Kingswood Ladies and some great games of football.  Unfortunately, it was a day of pure accidents but the players recovered and we learnt more about the Concussion Guidelines!

12th:  Townswoman Guild Magazine.

A press enquiry from Jane Yettram, Editor at Townswoman Magazine led to an amazing article over 3 pages, which is sent to the Townswoman Guild members.  Hopefully, they will read it and think that it’s never too late to start getting active with a football!

17th:  We were proud to learn that 2 of our COGS (Gillian & Sarah) set up their own session locally, in Storrington, to enable more women in Mid-Sussex to have the opportunity to play.  With both of them being FA qualified coaches, this is a brilliant example of how COGS can grow Women’s Recreational Football.  If you know anyone in the area, send them along!

29th:  The first Sussex Women’s Rec. Festival we entered post Covid!  As usual we were treated to torrential rain at times but that didn’t dampen the spirits and it was good to be back.  Shout out to Lynn who played in her first ever competitive COGS games!

Throughout October we collected for the Crawley Open House Harvest Festival (thanks to Debbie for co-ordinating and dropping off!).


8th:   After a lot of thought and consideration, Debbie decided she would submit a piece to This Girl Can about now being able to play football and what it gives to her.  We know how much it took for Debbie to do this and it’s a great piece.  Well done, Deb!

20th:  We joined Kingswood and Lewes on the Kingswood Ladies South Tour!  A jolly in Brighton for the weekend included a 3 way 11v11 with the Lewes FC bar beckoning after the games.  Another great afternoon!

We think this sums up our away trips to Lewes, by train!


Throughout December we ran #COGSvent which was compiled of inspirational COGS and Gavin!

9th-11th:  Christmas Tree Festival.

We were asked by St. Alban’s Church, Gossops Green, to get involved with a new idea they had, to have a Christmas Tree decorated to represent local community groups.  These would all form a Festival in the church hall for people to visit and donate to charity.  With thanks to Caroline and Debbie, we decorated the tree with lots of pieces to represent our football and the COGS.

10th:  COGS’ Christmas Party!

Not really sure how much we should put here but it was fun, laden with many spirits, beer & shots (as you would expect!) and full of camaraderie, so here are a couple of “taster” photos!

13th-16th:  Last sessions for the year with some dressing up, a naughty elf and some fun football!

A Walking Football Christmas video – showing that we’re all about fun, enjoyment and it doesn’t matter what ability you are!  Beware the “naughty elf” in this video!

18th:  200 days until the UEFA WOMEN’S EURO 2022 COMPETITION!

With 200 days to go, we wanted to celebrate that milestone, so we tried to create a 200 at different sessions!  It was also the day that we announced the details of #COGSEUROFEST22.

31st:  FA England Football courses completed:

Throughout the year, many COGS have not only become FA Approved Coaches in the game, they have also improved their learning by completing more courses.  Women’s Recreational Football is a great way to have fun playing the game but it’s also a great way to increase confidence so that you can become coaches and increase your learning of the game.   Check out the FA Boot Room for lots of information about courses, coaching information, interviews and lots more resources:

Well done to all those who took the following courses!

Finally, we would like to wish all those who have helped us, inspired us, joined us, played with us and partied with us in 2021!  What another incredible year it’s been, despite all the hard parts too.   See you in 2022, either around the Crawley area or at a #WEURO2022 Stadium somewhere!