Hope Powell steps down as manager of Brighton’s WSL side

Hope Powell has stepped down as manager of Brighton, the Women’s Super League side have confirmed.

The former England boss took the Brighton helm in July 2017 and led the Seagulls to a best-ever sixth-placed finish in the 2020-21 season.

Their form has been far less successful this campaign with the club currently sitting 11th, just one place clear of the relegation places, and they were thumped 8-0 by Tottenham on Sunday.

Powell said: “We’ve had a very challenging start to the new season with many changes to our squad and results not going as we had all hoped. Sunday’s heavy loss at home to Tottenham was particularly disappointing.

“As a club, we’ve made a lot of progress in the past five years, but I feel now is the right time to step aside and allow a new coach to take the team forward with plenty of Super League football still to play this season.”

Amy Merricks, supported by Alex Penny and Perry Northeast, will take interim charge of the team when they face West Ham on Sunday.

Powell oversaw a total of 116 matches and led the club to two ninth-placed finishes during her tenure, which also saw Brighton finish seventh last season.

Hope Powell Lionesses
Powell made history when she took over the Lionesses in 1998 (Nick Potts/PA)

Powell became the first black and first female coach of an England national side when she was appointed head coach of the Lionesses in 1998.

She was also capped 66 times by her country as an accomplished player, scoring 35 goals. She was given an OBE in 2002 and awarded a CBE in 2010.

Michelle Walder, chair of Brighton’s women’s and girls’ football club board, added: “Hope’s contribution to the development of women’s and girls’ football at our club, and for the women’s game in this country, cannot be underestimated.

“Hope has established Brighton & Hove Albion in the Women’s Super League, has overseen the opening of a new state-of-the-art women’s and girls’ teams training facility at our club, and has undoubtedly inspired further generations of young girls to play football. We wish her well for the future.”