Oadby & Wigston Girls Football Club was formed in March 1997 by Graham Randon and Gillian Wait. They had been approached by eleven girls aged 11 years old who had expressed a wish to form a girls football club. The following season, 1997/98, saw the creation of Under 12s and Under 14s teams, which were entered in the Leicester City & County Girls Football League. Those girls included, amongst others, Kerry Read, Michelle Cooper and Leanne Clarke.
By the end of the first season an Under 10 section had been created. This included one player still with the Club, Leonie Uliasz (starting her eighth season in 2004/2005), and another who has been helping with the Junior Academy, Natasha Wightman. These players mostly came from The Meadows and Little Hill Schools. Although the league positions were not great the Club was providing opportunities for local girls to play football. At the end of the season the U14s reached the final of the Leicester City Council Tournament, losing on penalties to Leicester City Ladies. At the start of the 1998/99 season we were playing football at U10s, U12s, U14s and U15s. All of these were seven a side and all league matches at that time were played at the Police Headquarters at Narborough. The teams were all playing in second hand kit and training was held on Thursday evenings using "borrowed" light from the all weather play area at Guthlaxton. The U10s, managed by Keith Aubrey and Dave Eassom, only had four players until Christmas (Leonie Uliasz, Ami Aubrey, Suzy Eassom and Harriet Crofts) and the U12s were forced to quit before Christmas because of lack of players and parent commitment. The U14s continued until the end of the season but the Club lost a number of key players to other teams. At this time the Club found it very difficult to hold on to our best players because other teams could offer better facilities and opportunities for the girls. The U15s were very successful and won their league and reached their cup final. The U10s eventually managed to recruit seven committed players and when the league/cup competition started in January 1999 they went on an inspired run that saw them win seven out of eight games, including a memorable cup final victory against Leicester City 'A'.
The following season, 1999/2000 saw the Club start to rebuild. The Club moved to Guthlaxton with a number of other teams who had all been playing at the Police Headquarters. With the help of parents the U10's acquired a full set of kit for the first time. We also negotiated with Guthlaxton to use the small gym for training during the winter months. Six of the seven U10 girls were eligible to play for the U10s again and a summer/autumn recruitment drive enabled us to enter two teams in the new U10s league, which eventually started in January 2000. This was the start of the Greens and the Reds. The young reds team included Megan Williams who will be playing for the Under 13's in 2004/5. The U10 Greens finished as runners up to Leicester City in the league with one goal being the effective difference between the two teams. This team went on to win end of season tournaments at YMCA and the County FA and were runners up to Rugby in a tournament organised by Leicester City Ladies. The recruitment drive also allowed us to enter a team in the U12s league. The start of the season was very difficult and the team suffered some heavy defeats up to Christmas. However, Kevin Shenton took over as manager just before Christmas and with a couple of useful additions to the squad, recruited with the help of Gill Waite, they were able to turn performances around after Christmas. Towards the end of the season the team was achieving excellent results against the best teams in the age range. During season 1999/2000 a number of girls came together to play friendlies at U14 level. During this period this team was managed by Gill Waite who had taken them on after Kevin Shenton had taken over the U12s. The U16 side competed in the Nottingham Elizabethan League because of lack of competition locally. At the end of the season they decided to end their association with the Club and have since established themselves as South City Ladies in the Women's League. In April 2000, the Club learnt that a bid for Awards For All Lottery Funding had been successful and the Club received an amount of £4,020 to promote and market the Club, develop coaching skills of managers, pay venue hire costs for 12 months for matches and training and to cover the costs of much needed new equipment. This lottery grant provided the basis for the Club to grow and provided good facilities and equipment for the Club.
In July 2000 the Club held a very successful open day. Over 80 new girls attended and many of these are still with the Club. New names from that day included Lucy Kenney, Charlotte Sarson, Nicole Hughson, Nicole Batchellor and Alison Christie. In September 2000 the Club staged it's own tournament for the first time. An Under 12 Section was won by Derby County Ladies and an Under 14 Section was won by YMCA.
At the start of the 2000/2001 season the Club attempted to place the girls in one year age bands, i.e. Under 9's Under 10's, Under 11's e.t.c. This policy would enable teams to stay together rather than have to split up at the end of the season due to mixed age ranges in a two year age band. The Club also decided to standardise on green and navy as the official Club colours. Although we were structured in one year age bands the league continued to be organised in two year age bands. The season was a very successful one for the Club. The Under 10ís (managed by Dave Eassom) won the Under 10 League and were runners up in the U10 League Cup. The Under 11ís (managed by Keith Aubrey) finished fourth in the Under 12 League, were runners up in the U12 League Cup and won the U11 Canary Cup on tour in Great Yarmouth. The Under 12ís (managed by Kevin Shenton and Pete Coles) finished as Under 12 League runners up. Overall we entered three teams in the Under 10 League, two in the Under 12 League and one in the Under Fourteen League.
A second open day was held on 8th July 2001. This was not as successful as the day held in 2000 but did attract around thirty players. Again, some of these are still with the Club, such as Kelly James. In August 2001 the Under 10's and Under 12's enjoyed a double success at a tournament at Hucknall, Nottinghamshire. On Saturday 8th September 2001, the Club held its second annual tournament at Guthlaxton. This was a huge success and attracted many teams from all over the Midlands. Our own team won the Under 10 Section, whilst Derby County Ladies won both the Under 12ís and Under 14ís sections.
Season 2001/2002 saw the Club enter two teams in the Under 10 League (Reds and Greens), three teams in the Under 12 League (Bullets, United and Rangers), one eleven a side team in the Under 14 League and one eleven a side team in the open age Womenís League. Once again we had a very successful season on the pitch with all teams doing well. The Under 9 Team (managed by Gary Christie), playing in Under 10 competitions finished fourth in the league and narrowly lost to Leicester in the cup final at Barrow on 12th May 2002. The Under 10 team (managed by Dave Williams) played well throughout the season but were beaten to the League title by Leicester. The Under 11 team (managed by Nick Rhodes and Dave Eassom) finished fifth in the Under 12 League and lost the cup final on penalties to our own Under 12 side (managed by Keith Aubrey). In addition to winning the Under 12 Cup, the Under 12ís also won the League, remaining unbeaten throughout the season having played 26, won 22 and drawn 4. A combined Under 11/12 team (managed by Andy Galway) gave valuable playing experience to a number of players and they played with excellent spirit all year. The Under 13ís (managed by Martin Greengrass and Pete Coles) finished the season in a creditable 3rd place in the Under 14 league. The womens team found it difficult to compete at that level with most of the team being very young. At the end of the season.
Unfortunately, whilst things were going well on the pitch they were not going well off it. The Club faced a number of issues right from the start of the season, including a disciplinary incident, the resignation of our Chairman and problems with our treasurerís position. The net result was a split in the Club at the end of the season. The Womenís team, the Under 13ís and most of the Under 10ís left Oadby and Wigston Girls to form Leicester United Girls. This was a big blow for the Club but acted as a spur to re-build the Club on an even stronger basis.
In order to boost numbers the Club held two open days, one on 16th June 2002 and the second on 11th August 2002. In addition to this Keith Aubrey secured £3,990 from the Positive People Millennium Fund to start the highly successful Junior Academy. This commenced in early October 2002 and was based at South Wigston High School during the 2002/2003 season. Following a lot of hard work we were able to field two teams in the Under 10 League (Dynamos and Starlets), two teams in the Under 12 League (Bullets and United) and one team in the Under 14 League for the 2002/2003 season. Despite all of the problems we were once again successful on the pitch. The Under 10 Starlets, managed by Gary Christie completed the Under 10 League and Cup double whilst the Under 13ís, managed by Andy Galway and playing eleven a side for the first time, finished runners up in the Under 14 League and reached the final of the Under 14 County Cup. Consolidation was the order of the day for the Under 10 Dynamos, Under 12 Bullets and Under 12 United in their respective leagues.
By the end of the 2002/2003 season the Academy had started to attract large numbers of new players to the Club, starting from Under 6ís. The Club now had around 100 players regularly playing football at all ages from 6 through to 13, which was roughly the number it had 12 months earlier prior to the split with Leicester United. For some time the Club had been looking for new playing facilities and in April 2003 we became aware of the potential to move to our own ground at Meadows Park, Leicester Road, Countesthorpe. A presentation was made to Oadby and Wigston Borough Council was made in May 2003 and they agreed to let us use the facility for an initial period of 12 months. This was a really exciting opportunity for the Club and we commenced our usage on 1st June 2003, sharing the ground with our partners Magna 73 FC and Wigston Town Cricket Club.