InterviewMeet Joe Potts: LFC Women's double centurion and treble title-winner

By Steve Hunter


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Every football manager needs great staff who they can rely on and trust implicitly, who go the extra mile for the team cause.

In goalkeeping coach Joe Potts, the Liverpool FC Women boss Matt Beard certainly has that.

Now in his second spell working under Beard at the club, Potts has been involved in more than 200 games with the Reds.

He has played his part in some great success, including back-to-back Women’s Super League titles in 2013 and 2014 and the promotion back to the top flight from the Championship in 2022.

“I always have banter with the staff when I tell them that I’m the only goalkeeping coach here who has won the Barclays Women’s Super League title and the FA Women’s Championship title, it’s not a big deal for me but I make it a big deal!” Potts told

“I want this club to get back to where we were, I want us to be feared and I think we are because teams don’t like playing against us.

“We have had a good season and in the future we would love to win trophies again, that’s the ultimate goal.”

Potts clocked up six years on Merseyside during his first spell with Liverpool before he left following the departure of then-manager Scott Rogers.

In the summer of 2021, he was strongly considering a new career away from football, until a chance telephone call altered the course of his plans.

“I left the club for a spell in the men’s game with Salford City and then after leaving during COVID I had a season with Fylde in the National League,” he said.

“My phone then buzzes and it’s the gaffer, Beardy, who asked me what I was up to and then there was no hesitation, a return to Liverpool it was!

“At that stage of my career I was actually considering packing the game in altogether and I applied for the fire service.

“I had a young family and the coaching role at Fylde wasn’t completely secure so I was literally about to start training for the fire service when Matt called me and I got my hunger back, it was a no-brainer!

“I have had a long association with the club, I was 18 when I first started working for the club with the international soccer school and was lucky enough to travel over the majority of Europe.

“When Beardy came in to manage the women’s team, for me it was a case of being there at the right time and the rest is history really.

“I’ve loved every minute of it and still thoroughly enjoy it, even though I’ve lost my hair in the process!”

The Reds’ WSL title triumphs in 2013 and 2014 live long in the memory, and Potts is very proud to have contributed to them.

“That was absolutely fantastic and it’s memories I will never forget,” he said.

“I think the first title, we put a stamp on women’s football and changed the landscape of it, because I think we were the first team to go into a more professional environment with more training as we went from two nights to training four nights a week.

“That showed on the pitch, we signed more players in from abroad, which strengthened the team, and we played in the Champions League, which was absolutely fantastic.

“The second season, other teams started to play more of a catch-up but the way it ended with us waiting for the other games to finish on the final whistle, I don’t think there will be anything that tops that!

“We saw someone in the stand who had a radio celebrating then it all went off after that, it was a good after-party that night!”

Among those who played a key role on the pitch in the first title success was Rachael Laws, the Reds’ current No.1.

She initially arrived at Liverpool on loan in 2013 and was competing with Sarah Quantrill for the spot between the posts, before signing permanently seven years later.

“Lawsy has an unbelievable work ethic,” said Potts. “In terms of her journey, she didn’t have a full-time goalkeeping coach until 2017 when she joined Reading.

“She has had an unbelievable career and I love working with her. She still wants to learn. She constantly asks questions and has opinions and we always have little chats.

“She just loves football and she is a big member of this team, the girls love her, the staff love her, and she and Teagan [Micah] have a very good working relationship.”

At the start of 2023-24, the women’s team began a new era by moving in to brand-new facilities at the iconic AXA Melwood Training Centre.

Potts reiterated the consensus within the squad and staff that the relocation to West Derby has been a game-changer for the whole club.

“It’s an unbelievable facility, it really is,” he said. “It’s just everything. The levels go up everywhere 100 per cent because we have the facilities now to do it.

“We have our own nutrition, your own space, you can feel the history of the club when you walk in here every day. I might not be a Liverpool fan but I have the utmost respect about the history of this club.

“I remember in my first spell with the club I was lucky enough to be invited here with the squad by Brendan Rodgers and we had breakfast and joined in on training.

“You just look forward to coming into work every day and I think if you can do that, do your job 100 per cent, prepare well then results will come. I think we’ve showed that this season.

“Having a good foundation definitely helps and I absolutely love it here.”

Potts also delivered an insight into the work that goes on behind the scenes with Laws, Micah and the young stoppers coming through the academy.

He added: “Ultimately, and this is always the way we’ve worked with Beardy, he has respect for the position, he also has a lot of trust in letting me do what I need to do.

“My job is to make sure all goalkeepers are prepared, whether that’s the senior ’keepers and the younger ones like Eva Spencer and Cadi Doran, and then ultimately the decision lies with Matt then.

“But if I can give him a headache and let him know that Lawsy and Teagan are all ready to go then we will have a discussion as staff.

“I never turn around and go, ‘You should play this player.’ I think it’s a bit unfair if I did that because I have a different kind of relationship with the ’keepers compared to the outfield ones, so it’s a bit more unique relationship.

“We sit the ’keepers down at the start of the season and, like Beardy says, a lot of things are done on merit, so if I can make sure they are performing well in training day in, day out, then they can hold themselves accountable for the things that they do and give the manager a headache and that’s my job. I love giving him headaches!

“I always say we don’t mess about here. Ultimately we want to achieve things and I want both goalkeepers to be the best versions of themselves. I believe we have a very good pathway for goalkeepers here.”

Providing stern competition for Laws this season has been Australia international Micah, a goalkeeper of whom Potts believes the best is still to come.

“We monitored Teagan for a while and she is a goalkeeper that I have admired for a number of years,” he explained.

“She has that experience at international level, she has played in the Olympics, played Champions League football and played at a big club in Rosengard.

“With Teagan we always knew it would take a little time to settle, arriving in a new country, a new way of living, but she has fitted in with the group really well.

“She is like Lawsy in terms of she wants to learn, she is very open to tweaking a few things and I think she has got huge potential.”

Another talented stopper within the ranks is Faye Kirby.

The Scouser caught the eye with several excellent performances at senior level last season, but just after completing a loan move to Aberdeen at the start of this campaign she sustained an ACL injury.

Potts said: “Faye has huge potential. She is so level-headed and very mature for such a young player. She showed a real mature side to her game last season, especially in the game against Chelsea.

“It was a really unfortunate injury and I remember speaking to her a couple days after she had done it and she just said, ‘I’ve had my tears now, it is what it is.’

“Fair play to her, I hope she comes back bigger and stronger. Just watching her in the gym, she is working so hard. I can’t wait for her to get back out on the pitch. Faye has a great personality and she is another who is well-liked by the group.

“We also have Eva and Cadi, who have both been exposed to training with us at first-team level, perhaps a bit earlier than what I would have liked but it’s incredible experience for them.

“Cadi is a Wales international and Eva has been in England set-ups as well and they are both very young. They have taken their opportunities and done well and it’s great having that balance where we can keep an eye on them, and training with senior professionals is only going to make them better.

“I always tell them to ask Lawsy and Teagan questions and get as much advice as you can from them, because it is invaluable.”



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