Fame v fortune: Hashtag United prepare for Newcastle cup final

Before third-tier teams clash, Hashtag players discuss being recognised abroad, targeting the top and their hope of an upset

Stanley Cricket Club was founded in 1881, changing its name the following year to Newcastle East End, and in 1892 to Newcastle United. Hashtag United were founded in 2016. On Saturday two clubs whose creation was separated by 135 years meet as equals, or near enough, as their women’s sides play the National League Cup final at Luton’s Kenilworth Road.

Whatever the result, this brief moment of parity is set to be broken: Newcastle, the first and only fully professional club in the women’s third tier, are on the verge of promotion to the Championship as winners of the National League Northern Premier Division; Hashtag are second in the southern section but well adrift of title favourites Portsmouth. “They’re a professional set-up and I think for them – maybe this is a bold statement – it would be embarrassing if a club like Newcastle, who are full-time, lost to a team called Hashtag,” says Grace Gillard, Hashtag’s captain. “We don’t see it like that, but people on the outside don’t necessarily see it how we see it. I think that just adds motivation to us. I like causing upsets. I think it takes the pressure off us and puts it on them. I don’t see it as underdogs, I see it as an opportunity.”

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