Norwich Women using cup success to propel them into the future

Norwich City Women: Ceri Flye and Shaun Howes interviews on Norfolk County Cup win

Norwich City Women lift the Norfolk County Cup.
Norwich City Women won the Norfolk County Cup last Friday. Credit: Jordan Blyth/Reverb Digital

In a season of disappointment for Norwich City, there’s been one outstanding success story. 

While the Canaries’ men’s team have regressed to Championship mediocrity, their women’s side have seen exponential growth, watching crowds grow from just over 200 to more than 7,500. 

Their season ended on Friday night with a 3-0 win over Mulbarton Wanderers in the County Cup final, a victory that saw the trophy return to Carrow Road after a year away. 

City centre-back Ceri Flye hadn’t scored for them until she opened the scoring in the final, and she was relieved to find the net with such perfect timing. 

“I can’t really believe it,” she said, speaking on a champagne-soaked pitch post-match. “I came close a couple of times, but I always think it isn’t my day, but today it finally was.  

“It’s great to score at Carrow Road, score in a County Cup final. It’s just good to get us off the mark as well. 

Ceri Flye shoots while playing for Norwich City Women against Mulbarton Wanderers in the Norfolk County Cup final.
Ceri Flye scored her first goal for the club in the final. Credit: Jordan Blyth/Reverb Digital

“It’s really important (to win the cup). It was definitely one of our goals at the start of the season- we needed to get this trophy back after not winning it last year. 

“In my first season with the club it’s great to win something. I’ve loved this season, we did really well in the league, and then to top it off with a County Cup win was amazing.” 

The game was also noteworthy for its status as head coach Shaun Howes’ last. He departs by mutual consent after over three years at the helm and has had a huge hand in the transition from external to internal club status. 

His focus on the night was on the game in hand, even if there were emotional considerations beforehand and afterwards. 

“Beforehand the messages were to go and create another good memory,” he said. “We’ve had so many – the game at Carrow Road, the FA Cup run, the win at Loftus Road. I think they’ve done that, not only with the result but with the performance as well. 

“So yeah, before the game it was a little bit on my mind. During the game it wasn’t – I went back to my normal type: excited, annoyed, happy, sad! 

“But to see those players so happy is a nice way to end.” 

The feeling was mutual, as Flye confirmed when asked about Howes, saying: “I can’t thank him enough for what he’s done for me and my development. He brought me in and I’ve really flourished under him.  

“Hopefully we’ve given him a good send-off, because he really deserved this as well. This was for him.” 

As is constant in football, however, the focus immediately shifted to what’s next for this growing arm of the club. Next season is another huge one for Norwich, and they’re keen to ensure they push even harder than they did during 2022-23. 

Howes was quickly called away for some goodbye celebrations, but not before he’d had the chance to praise his players one last time and talk up their potential for the future. 

“If the girls keep believing in themselves, it’s a really special group,” he continued. “A lot of managers probably say that, but this group really is. 

“There’s not a bad egg in there. They love each other, they stick up for each other, they care for each other, and you could see that at the end of the game as well. 

“It’s a really great group, and they could do something really special.” 

Flye agreed, and she was excited to get to work, saying: “I can’t wait for it. I’m looking forward to having a little bit of a break, but then to get back and train hard. 

“We’ve got a good pre-season, a hard season coming. But we know that we want to hit new levels next year, because this is only the beginning for us and this group. We’re really capable of good things.”