Interview with Sunderland midfielder and Northern Ireland International Rachel Furness, courtesy of Dominic Hewitson (as featured in The Lady Black Cats Match Programme against Newcastle United - click here to see other back issues)
What was it like being on the pitch at the Stadium of Light during half time at the Wigan game with 37,000 people applauding you?
We have a mixture of Newcastle and Sunderland supporters in our team (even an Evertonian) but I think for everyone it was a special moment that will stay with us. Having the opportunity to show the crowd our trophies topped off last season. It was great that the crowd showed their appreciation and gave us a warm welcome. For any footballer in the womens game, getting applauded by 37,000 people was an amazing feeling and I felt nothing but proud to play for Sunderland Women.
What do you think of the start of the season you and the girls have had?
Well if you look at the league table were unbeaten having won five and drew one. To be top of the league at this early stage is important for us because we know the league can be so close. If Im honest me and the girls know we havent got into second gear and still know there is a lot to come before we produce our best and hit the standards we have set ourselves.
How did you get into football?
My brother got me into football, I was a typical younger sister wanting to annoy my brother so this meant playing football with him and his friends. Looking back Im obviously glad he let me! From then I played at school and then got into a club side (Stella Maris Boys Club!) My teacher then helped me into a girls club and I went from there.
What has been the highlight of your Sunderland career so far?
This is a tough one because I have a couple, but I would have to say last year. To win a title is an amazing achievement, but to defend one and win the League Cup as well shows belief, determination and a lot of character from everyone. I am very proud of what we have achieved and can only hope it continues.
Within football, where do you see yourself in five years time?
In five years time Ill be 29 and hopefully my legs will still carry me and Im still playing! I hope to play at the highest level for as long as possible. If Im still playing in five years time Ill be happy!
For Rachel's full player profile click here.