Only days after leading Blues Ladies into the Quarter Finals of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in the club's history, it was announced that club captain Laura Bassett would not be renewing her contract, and would be leaving the Midlands side. Since then, many tributes have been paid, so here is ours to a true legend of Birmingham City Ladies.
Since she arrived at Blues thirteen years ago, Laura has not only left her mark, more imprinted her DNA into the whole club. Any team that goes out to play for Blues does so with a tenacity and a drive that is so symptomatic of Bassett's character, it doesn't matter whether she is even playing, her passion is ingrained into every player who has had the pleasure of playing under her. Watching her lead her team from the heart of the defence has been a joy to watch for these last three years, and her impact may only be truly felt once next season begins. For someone so strong and determined, there is a vastly underestimated calmness about her ability on the ball. A better reader of the game in her position I'm yet to see, and she always knows where a pass is available, even under severe opposition pressure.
But despite her undeniable talent and emphatic leadership qualities, Laura is genuinely the nicest person we have ever met. She would always greet us when we arrived at the game, always available to chat with all fans, and has been instrumental in us covering the game as much as we do. Whether it be this blog, or photographs from games and the kit launch, Laura always acknowledged what we did and always made it feel worthwhile. She met us at a couple of Centre of Excellence games, and always made time to talk to us.
Whilst we are naturally gutted that Laura is leaving, we can wish her nothing but the best in her future, wherever that may be. We can look back fondly and remember her lifting the FA Cup last summer, and of course bowing out at such a magnificent occasion at St Andrews. Thanks for the memories Laura, and good luck!