IN the third edition of our new series, we get to know the journey that another of our QPR FC Women stars has taken to get to this stage of their career with the R’s.
Vicky Grieve has loved football since she was a child and she has her brother Ryan to thank for that.
The Blackpool-born defender, who comes from a family of Liverpool supporters, wanted to be just like her sibling, who is three years her senior, when they were younger.
Quick fire questions
Favourite position: Centre-back
Best qualities as footballer: Composure on the ball and staying calm
Best qualities as a person: I am very optimistic about everything in life
Sum yourself up in 5 words: Optimistic, motivated, determined, positive, passionate
Favourite type of music: Old school R’n’B
Footballing Role Model: Jamie Carragher
Something we don’t know about you: A friend of mine passed away from blood cancer a few years ago and before they died they started a charity called ‘A Gift To Lift’. I’m a trustee for the charity and have raised over £30,000 for it, which I am very proud.
Grieve started her footballing career at the turn of the millennium when she joined her first club at the age of eight.
Like a lot of female players at that time, it meant joining a boys’ team and for Grieve that side was Fleetwood Town.
The Cod Army men’s team now, of course, ply their trade in Sky Bet League One and are managed by former QPR midfielder Joey Barton. Back then, though, they were a non-league senior and junior club.
After two years with Fleetwood, Grieve’s family moved to Leicestershire and her next club was Stoke Golding, which also saw her compete alongside boys.
While with Stoke Golding, Leicester City scouts visited her primary school and, after having a successful trial, she joined The Foxes’ academy for girls aged 11.
By 18, Grieve – a ball-playing centre-back – had progressed into the first team and she would remain with the Foxes until joining Rangers in 2018, which coincided with a move south due to work.
This term, the R’s were on course to win promotion from the London & South East Regional Women’s Football League until the season was declared null and void by The FA, due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Despite the disappointment, Grieve is philosophical about the successes of this campaign.
“It’s gutting, of course,” she told www.qpr.co.uk “But as devastating as it is – and it is – we have to look at what we achieved with a brand new team.
“I’m really proud of everyone, seeing how well everyone has gelled throughout the season. We have a great set up – Steve Quashie and his staff are brilliant – and, for me, nothing has been lost this season.”
Grieve was one of a few players who decided to remain as a QPR player during the summer as the club was rebranded as ‘QPR FC Women’.
This saw graduates from QPR in the Community Trust’s ‘QPR Girls’ scheme join a handful of more experienced players to make a new team, while the old ‘QPR Women’ formed independent club Hounslow.
Seeing so many young players in the current Rangers team brings a smile to the face of Grieve, who is able to look back on how much the women’s game has progressed since she started.
She said: “The change is massive. When I first started playing, there weren’t even girls’ teams where I lived. You had to play for a boys’ team until you got to a certain age.
“Now you have female footballers to look up to, players who are earning a live from football and having it as their full-time job. When I was younger, it was no more than a hobby. For most men and women, it will always be just a hobby but there is now an elite group of women who can have a career in football.”
She added: “Attitudes have changed and there has been a total shift in mentality. Little boys and girls are growing up knowing female footballers now and that is great. Women’s football has become a sport in its own right and that is what it always should have been.
“I think men’s and women’s football are very different but lots of women dedicate their lives to being the best they can in football, so it is only right that they are being recognised now. It’s nice to see.”
Grieve balances playing for QPR with her work as a gas engineer and she says that the club’s understanding of her work is one of the many reasons why she enjoys representing the R’s so much.
She said: “Sometimes I’m on call when we’re training and I have to run off the side of the pitch and take an emergency phone call and then run back on again!
“Balancing things can be really difficult because quite often on the days when we train I am working in Ipswich, so I have to drive for three hours from work in rush hour over to west London. I’m very fortunate in that I can manage my own time a bit and the club appreciate that.”