Carla Ward resigns as Birmingham manager but wants to stay in WSL

Carla Ward has said the Women’s Super League is “absolutely” where she wants to be after Birmingham City accepted her resignation as manager.

Ward was given her first experience of the top flight when appointed by the club in August. She inherited a squad of eight players but avoided relegation despite a tumultuous campaign during which Birmingham were forced to forfeit a match when they could not field a side against Brighton because of injuries and Covid, and were deducted a point for mistakenly fielding an ineligible player in their draw against Reading.

“I don’t particularly want to get out of the WSL,” Ward said. “It’s something that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and see myself continuing.” The 37-year-old does not have a destination lined up but said leaving was something she had been “thinking about for a couple of months”.

“Everybody who knows me knows I don’t go down without a fight and I want to push and knock on every single possible door first … Of course I would have liked to have stayed, I would have liked to have seen out my contract and been here for a little bit longer. But ultimately … I don’t think we can continue to work in the capacity we’ve worked.”

The biggest difficultly in deciding to leave has been the players, who bought into Ward and the relegation fight. “As you can probably see from my eyes, they’re still a bit raw,” she said after a meeting in which she informed the players of her decision. “I came in here quite strong this morning, to tell them, and I had it pre-rehearsed in my head, what I was going to say, and I must admit, I don’t cry in front of anyone, but after the first two words, yes I had a complete meltdown; it was horrible.

“But I think it probably sums up how I feel about the group. It was devastating to share that with them, because we’ve stuck together this year, it’s been tough, and they’ve been unbelievable.”