Q&ANatasha Dowie interview: 'I'm really proud of my career and excited for what's next'

By Glenn Price


Facebook Twitter Email WhatsApp LinkedIn Telegram

Natasha Dowie reflects on her stellar playing career with immense pride after announcing her retirement.

Liverpool FC Women's all-time top goalscorer has decided to hang up her boots, bringing an end to a near-two-decade spell in the professional game.

She found the back of the net on 47 occasions across two spells with the Reds – lifting the Women's Super League title in 2013 and 2014, before returning on loan last season and becoming the club's first player to reach the figure of 20 WSL goals.

The 35-year-old will be honoured at Anfield next month during the women's Merseyside derby with Everton Women and embark on a new chapter in her life as Liverpool FC Women's ambassador.

Liverpoolfc.com sat down with Dowie to look back on her achievements and discuss her future plans...

  • Pay your tribute to Dowie at the women's Merseyside derby at Anfield – tickets start at just £1 for U18s, so grab yours now here

Tash, welcome to Anfield, you have some news for us...

Yes, I've finally decided to hang the boots up. Weird, isn't it? I think as a player you always think what this moment will be like. I think I'd be a lot more nervous about it, to be honest, but I feel so calm. Reflecting back, I feel really proud of my career and I actually think there's no better way than I would have liked to have ended my career than at Liverpool Football Club. I think having been here on loan last season, it just felt right. I had a couple of opportunities to go abroad again and play, but it was just nice to be home. I haven't been home now for eight years and it just kind of felt right. Nothing excited me as much as staying at Liverpool and at home. Yeah, it's the end of my football-playing career.

They're probably quite hard words to get out. You're smiling now but probably etched beneath that is the emotion of all the things that flash through your mind – the memories, the good parts, the bad parts as well...

I think I would find it harder than what I am right now. You know what people say, 'You seem quite relaxed, it'll hit you.' And maybe it will. But I kind of feel like I've really had this summer to reflect. I've really spent the whole summer figuring out what it is exactly I want to do. And even really up to last week, I hadn't officially decided. I was kind of just waiting to see if the offers that I was getting playing-wise really got me excited and gave me those butterflies. Nothing really did. But yeah, it does feel weird. Even now, looking back through my Instagram and kind of seeing pictures, I'm going to miss it. I'm going to miss scoring goals, I'm going to miss hearing the crowd celebrate when I score – hopefully they'll still sing my song. I'm going to miss a lot, miss being around the girls. But also, again, I'm home, I'm happy, I'm really excited about what's next. It feels right, it really does.

You've had two spells here. As a Liverpool fan, to wear the number nine on your back must have been everything you've dreamed of as a little girl...

You kind of have to pinch yourself. I think when you are in your career, sometimes you don't really reflect and take it in. Now that I've obviously made the decision and I look back at my career, I'm so proud. I think if you would have said to me as a young kid when I was kicking a football around when I was three or four years old that, 'Tash, look, you would play for Liverpool Football Club, you'd win the league back-to-back with them, you'd win the FA Cup with Everton, you'd play for your country, live and travel in six different countries', I wouldn't have believed it, to be honest.

I really can say I'm so proud. Looking back, to wear that No.9 shirt for Liverpool, to win the title with them back-to-back, to get the Golden Boot, it's just what kids dream of, isn't it? It's something that I will forever be proud of. And I think this is the beautiful thing about this football club is that they never let you forget it either. You're always part of this family now forever. So even if you played for the club 10 years ago or played for the club last year, you'll always be a Red – which I think is so special.

That point at which you go into a Liverpool changing room and you've got your own name and number on the back. That must've been a seismic moment for you...

It was. Even in my second spell at Liverpool, I remember my first game and seeing Dowie on the back, a bit of a different number with 29, but at 35 years old I still got those butterflies like I was a three-year-old kid again. I played for some amazing clubs throughout my career but I think that's the difference for playing for the club that you support and that you love is that when you see the badge and when you put that kit on, even now on my suit, you can't explain that feeling, you really can't. I've got my shirts framed in my house, pride of honour on the wall. It's the best club in the world.

In your second spell, you broke the record to become the first Liverpool player to get to 20 goals in the top flight. That meant a lot, didn't it?

It really did, and at the time I didn't know that record was there. But then when I did, I was really anxious to get it, to be honest. It was funny, I remember I came back on loan to Liverpool last season, I was so nervous [in] the first couple of games because I wanted to help the team so desperately and I obviously wanted to play well for the fans. I remember the first couple of games, I really was quite nervous and then I got my injury with my hamstring, which was a massive blow for me to then be out for eight weeks. I thought, 'Am I even going to be able to play for Liverpool before the season ends?'

But then Beardy sat me down and just said, 'Look, Tash, you've got nothing to prove. You don't need to be nervous, we know what you do here, this is why I brought you back to help the club, you score goals.' And actually then towards the end of the season, I really enjoyed my football. I was lucky to score against [Manchester] City, get that record and then I went and scored against Aston Villa away, had a nice assist as well away to Chelsea. I felt like my form towards the end of the season was really good and helped the team get that safety, mid-table – which is what I wanted to achieve, to help Liverpool obviously stay in the league. But to get that record, you know me, I love scoring goals, I love achieving things and it's nice to say that I've got that record for Liverpool with the WSL goals.

You're sat here in club colours because the next chapter for Natasha Dowie has got Liverpool running right through it. Tell us about what will happen next for you...

I'm so excited and I think why this club is so special is what they do for players. I'm going to be Liverpool's women ambassador, which I'm so proud of. I want to say a massive thank you to the club in general, to Susan Black, I think she's been inspirational to me. We had a sit down about what was next in my career – did I want to keep on playing, was I going to retire? She said, 'Look, if you are thinking of hanging the boots up, we want you to be a part of this club.' She's a big advocate of obviously helping women get into the game and that equal balance in the women's and men's game. I'm going to be getting involved with the U18s at the Academy with the boys, I'm going to be working with LFC Foundation, I've been doing matchday appearances, working the lounges, doing Q&As and obviously doing my LFCTV stuff as well, which I love. It's just a nice package, it has everything that I enjoy doing. But more than anything, representing this club, I'm hungry, I'm still hungry. I cannot wait, to be honest, for the next chapter.

You're going to get some goodbye when there's a bumper crowd when Liverpool play Everton in the women's Merseyside derby here at Anfield...

It's going to be special. I keep saying I hope I don't cry because I'm an ugly crier! I think every player has this dream of how they want to say goodbye. If I'd never got the chance to say goodbye properly, it would obviously have been enough to have been at Prenton, playing for Liverpool and the fans being there. But it just felt as if I needed to have it done properly – for my family, they weren't there. So all my family are going to be coming up from London and some of my friends will be flying over from different countries as well to be there – people that have really followed my football journey and it's meant a lot to me.

I think it's even more special to be at Anfield, to be against Everton – I had five amazing years at Everton and won trophies at Everton as well. Those two clubs were probably the most special clubs to me, which is weird to say that because of the rivalry. To have that guard of honour there for me at Anfield is going to be incredible. I can't wait. So hopefully we can get a big crowd and I can say goodbye to the fans. They've been amazing my whole Liverpool career. From 10 years ago, all the way through they've followed me, even when I've been travelling. And my welcome back was pretty special as well.

  • Pay your tribute to Dowie at the women's Merseyside derby at Anfield – tickets start at just £1 for U18s, so grab yours now here


Facebook Twitter Email WhatsApp LinkedIn Telegram

This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.