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Meet Leah Williamson’s Football-Loving Parents: A Spurs Dad and Arsenal Mum

Meet Leah Williamson’s Football-Loving Parents: A Spurs Dad and Arsenal Mum

Leah Williamson has been one of the major reasons behind Arsenal Women’s success over the years, establishing herself as one of England’s best footballers. The 27-year-old has earned success at the domestic and international level, most notably helping England win the 2022 UEFA Women’s Championship.

A versatile player who can operate both in midfield and as a centre-back, the Englishwoman is also a Gooner through and through. She joined Arsenal’s academy at the age of nine in 2006 and has been with the club ever since. However, the interesting thing is that there is a divide in loyalty inside her family.

Born in Milton Keynes, Williamson comes from a football-crazy family. She has a brother who is a hardcore Tottenham Hotspur fan and there is also an extreme difference in the favoured clubs between her parents. That is because Leah’s dad David is a lifelong Tottenham Hotspur supporter himself but her mother, Amanda, is a loyal Arsenal fan. She actually comes from a working-class family too, with her father being an accountant and her mother working in financial services.

Clearly, the 27-year-old took to her mother when it comes to deciding which club to pledge to for the rest of her life. It’s not like her father didn’t try to nudge her to join him in supporting Spurs. In fact, the first match that she attended in her life was a Tottenham Hotspur match, only after which did she get to watch Arsenal live in a stadium for the first time.

But Leah was not at all impressed by what she saw from Spurs and decided that Arsenal was the thing for her. Even though that created the perfect atmosphere for some cheeky banter around the Williamson household, being divided between the North London heavyweights, there was zero animosity from Leah’s dad on her decision to choose to play for Arsenal.

In fact, David has been nothing but extremely supportive of his daughter all throughout her career. He became a pillar of support that encouraged her on through the highs and lows of her career. Leah even noted in an interview with The Times in 2019 about how he kept her motivated with a lovely little poem he wrote, noting: “Some parents might struggle with a daughter’s decision to take up football. For my dad to have supported me and to put himself out there and say, ‘I’m very proud of my daughter,’ is something special. He’s defying the same prejudices that I am.

Before every match, I read a poem he wrote for me when I went to my first ever tournament with England, the Under-17 Euros. My mum organised lots of people to put things in a box that they put in my room before I got there. That was his gift to me and it’s very special.”

In fact, it was her father David who predicted her to become a professional footballer and play for England. Leah revealed this in an interview with Annie MacManus, stating: “My dad always said to me from age six, him and his mate you know, Leah’s gonna be captain of England one day and all of this chat. And he would always say to me, you will earn a living one day from being a footballer. I truly believe that by the time you get there, that will be the case. And he’s talking 10, 12 years on, he was right. And the day I turned 18, which is when you can sign a senior contract, I signed a professional contract. The game went professional that year.”

Not just that, but David Williamson also celebrated the Arsenal Ladies’ Women Super League title win in the 2018/19 season as his own team won it. He joined Leah in the title celebrations and hilariously dressed up as former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman for the celebrations, wearing some hilarious facial hair for the part.

While her dad has been a major reason for her success, Leah has been extremely inspired by her mother Amanda. Amanda Williamson had tried to carve a footballing career in his own childhood, but couldn’t go far because of limitations to the Women’s game at her time. Amanda also played for Milton Keynes’ women’s team and even scored a winning goal in an FA Women’s Cup win over Arsenal in her time.

Amanda did, however, often play football by cutting her hair short and Leah recalled this fascinating story, telling GQ: “My mum played football. When she was growing up, she had to cut her hair to pretend to be a boy, and she could play until someone would rat on her and she’d have to stop.”

Amanda Williamson started encouraging her daughter’s desire for a footballing career from a very young age. She even helped Leah fulfill her dream of being a mascot for an Arsenal match against West Bromwich Albion in 2006. Despite the family being on holiday at the time, Amanda made a 430 mile round-trip drive to help Leah get to the game – where she not only acted as a mascot but also got a picture with Theo Walcott.

Leah cites both her mother Amanda and grandmother Berny (who played Badminton competitively) as two of the ‘captains’ that inspired her to become the leader she is today. In an interview with the Guardian, she explained: “I was brought up never to expect people to say no to me, because if I said I wanted to do something, then I was pushed forward and given as many resources as possible to do it by my family. Mum and Grandma were strong independent women who just smashed any barrier that was in their way. Nobody made a point of it when we succeeded where maybe we shouldn’t have. It was made totally normal to me that I’d go to the football with my grandma and my mum.”

Leah’s parents are not together anymore and divorced in 2009, when she was just 12. She revealed that to Annie MacManus, remarking: “So when I was about 12 my parents split up, which at the time, I don’t know I think in this world now like, people do that, that’s what happens. But I didn’t really give it the- when I look back, I see it was a lot bigger of a change than what I’d maybe give it credit for at the time. And obviously having my brother being five years younger than me, it changed a lot for me just in terms of having to grow up a bit quicker and, you know, having to deal with emotion, I suppose, like that you just never really- you haven’t had to think about before. “

Despite the seperation, Leah and her brother got to spend ample amount of time between both their parents. That is because there was no sense of animosity between David and Amanda, with both wanting Leah to pursue her dream of becoming a footballer. Even though she refused to support her ‘father’s club’ aka Spurs, it seems like Leah might be looking to follow David’s footsteps after retiring from football.

She continued her education while playing for Arsenal and is reportedly training to be an accountant herself, indicating her desire to take up another career after retirement. However, Leah and her mother will always remain die-hard Gooners – meaning that the banter and bragging rights with her Spurs-supporting father will never stop in the Williamson household.