Today's game against Newport County will be an enticing fixture. Who better to get the County Point of View than Exiles fan, ex-media assistant at Rodney parade and co-founder of Her Game Too, Caitlin Bennett.
Cait studied Sports Journalism at the University of Gloucester and is one of the leading student writers in the country. This year, Caitlin featured on the final shortlist for the Football Writers Association Student Awards. Before this, she worked for the FA as a reporter before joining Newport County as a media assistant in June last year.
In the off-season, Caitlin was contacted by fellow County fan Izzy Perry to take part in the first #HerGameToo video which ammassed over 1.5m views. Now Cait works as a junior Social Media executive at Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing and has thankfully taken time out of her busy schedule to chat to us about her love of Newport County.
Hiya Caitlin! Thanks for chatting to us!
What are your first memories supporting Newport?
My first memory of supporting Newport County is actually the fact that I didn’t want to go. It was the 2009/10 season and my mum was working away, so I had to go over Spytty Park with my dad and my brother, and I instantly fell in love. I remember asking my dad if I could go to the next game with him before 90 minutes was even up.
What have been your highlights in this time? Favourite Game?
My favourite game has to be the 2012/13 Conference Play-Off Final at Wembley. We beat Welsh rivals Wrexham 2-0 with David Pipe as captain and the heroic Justin Edinburgh as manager. Everything about it was magical and I’ll always call it one of the best days of my life.
You were one of the co-founders of Her Game Too, how did that come about and how important has the campaign been for yourself and other women in football?
I got asked by fellow County fan Izzy Perry and Her Game Too founder Caz May if I was interested in being part of a social media video against sexism in football. I immediately though it was a brilliant idea and it all went from there. What started off as 12 girls in a Twitter group chat has grown into a global campaign and I couldn’t be more proud. It’s such an important campaign, because sexism is still so prominent in the game, whether casual or blatant and we’ve heard so many cases in which women and even young girls have been put off watching or playing football because of their experiences of sexist abuse. Education and awareness are key and I think we’re doing an excellent job of both of them.
You must be proud that your club are being part of the first dedicated EFL fixture to the cause?
The campaign being so well received by my childhood club was one of the best feelings ever. To see the Her Game Too perimeter board over Rodney Parade brought a tear to my eye, as it really confirmed to me how successful this campaign has been (it’s been challenging to take it all in with everything moving so quickly - it’s been surreal). Exeter have been incredibly supportive throughout this whole journey, so for both clubs to come together and dedicate an entire EFL fixture to Her Game Too is huge and really special to me.
How would you sum up County’s season so far?
This season so far for Newport County has been a bit of a mixed bag. Coming into it off the back of losing the Play-Off Final in the manner we did was always going to be difficult. We knew that we had a rebuilding job on our hands, with a number of our best and most established players leaving, but the young talent we’ve brought in has been promising. Michael Flynn leaving has hit hard for a lot of supporters because he’s all we’ve known for so long and we achieved so much under his management. I think there is an heir of uncertainty around the club at the moment, but on the pitch I believe we’ve showed bursts of real potential.
What are your expectations come the end of season?
My expectations coming into the season were that we would do a lot of rebuilding and there would be a fair bit of change, which would probably mean we end up sitting mid table at the end of the campaign, claiming a mixture of results, and that expectation hasn’t changed for me.
Which players should Exeter be wary of?
Ollie Cooper has really stood out to me so far, he brings a lot of energy to the game. I think he’s been a great addition to our midfield as such a young player. He likes to get on the ball and play clever football.
How would you expect the Exiles to set up against Exeter?
It really is anyone’s guess how we line-up on a matchday. I think we’ll set up with three at the back, five in the middle and two up top. I hope we do, anyway.
What kind of game are you expecting? Open? Cagey etc…?
Games between County and Exeter are often very close, cagey games, but there’s never usually a lot of goals.
And finally, what’s your score prediction for Saturday?
I always stand by the fact that I never make predictions, but 1-1 is my initial thought.
All the best Cait, thank you!