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Looking for a new direction

Written by: Flora Snelson
Photograph by: Lee Brown
A photograph of Leeds United Women standing in a post-match huddle

“It’s a long, hard season,” then Leeds United Women manager Rick Passmoor said after the Whites won their opener against Stockport County back in August. Days later, he left West Yorkshire to assist newly-appointed West Ham United boss Rehanne Skinner. Taking just five points from the first half of their Women’s Super League campaign, it looked like Passmoor’s season in London might have been longer and harder, but after snatching a win and a draw from division heavyweights Arsenal and Manchester United, the Hammers’ project is beginning to take shape — just as his cut-short stint at Leeds was when he departed, suddenly.

Division One North’s uber-competitive single promotion spot combines with three cup competitions and frequent postponements to ensure every season is long and hard for Leeds United, but this one looked longer and harder without the man who galvanised and organised them so well last season.

When Passmoor announced he was off, Leeds were already taking change in their stride, their long-term centre-back partnership of Catherine Hamill and Bridie Hannon lost to an opportunity to compete in the league above and motherhood respectively. Before long, the chance to play higher-level football took Danielle Whitham too, while Abbie Brown left the team for “new beginnings”.

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