Demi Stokes sets Man City target after Women’s Super League lesson learned

Gareth Taylor&aposs side finished fourth in the Women&aposs Super League [WSL] last season, missing out on European qualification on goal difference. City had endured a tricky start to the campaign, losing to both Aston Villa and Chelsea before embarking on an impressive 14-game unbeaten run.

With last season&aposs slow start in mind, Stokes admits the Blues need to be firing on all cylinders if they are to avoid the same fate this term. For success at this club, [we need] silverware, given last year we were disappointed that we didnt [get any],” she said.

“So absolutely we want silverware this year because we know as a club, we know our standards, and I think we showed that after Christmas, you could see we went on a really good run, so we know it&aposs about starting the season well, picking up points early, and then going from there.

Last season was a challenging one for Stokes, with injury sidelining her for the majority of the campaign. She signed a one-year contract extension in June and, after a four-month summer break, is raring to return to WSL action.

“I&aposm very excited,” she said. “I felt like the girls were away for like three years and I feel like pre-season has been really long. So it&aposs just nice to have all of us back together.

“Everyone&aposs fit and healthy. And yeah, just get the season going and start off with a win. Im feeling good and just looking forward to it.

The 31-year-old was speaking at the official renaming event of City Women&aposs home ground. Formerly the Academy Stadium, the venue will now be called the Joie Stadium, with the club having agreed a multi-year naming rights deal with the British baby gear company.

It is one of the biggest sponsorship deals in the women&aposs top flight, with City also becoming the first WSL club to agree a commercial deal for the stadium name.

I think it&aposs massive,” Stokes said. “I think it just shows a small part of where the women&aposs game is going and obviously, you know, having Joie with us is incredible. It&aposs one of the biggest brands in the league, one of the biggest deals, and that&aposs what we want. We want to be at the forefront.”

City&aposs decision to partner with Joie holds special significance for Stokes, who became a mum in May 2022 when her partner Katie gave birth to a baby boy. The left-back has spoken candidly about the challenges of juggling motherhood with full-time work and believes sponsorship deals like this one are crucial to helping start important dialogues in the women&aposs game.

“I think it&aposs so important.,” she said. “Being a mum is hard in its own right, but I keep saying obviously Joie are a family brand and we are as well. We get loads of families and kids coming to games. And so I just think it makes total sense to have them on board.