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West Ham may have lost in the Women

The intermittent deluges that sent both fans and subs in the pitch-side seats scampering for cover tried to dampen the occasion.

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So did Spurs, playing party poopers on West Ham’s landmark day by leaving the London Stadium with victory.

But this was not a day to stifle the enthusiasm of those involved in the growth of the women’s game, with just under 25,000 fans in the crowd. 

West Ham may have lost in the Women's Super League, but they gained 25,000 new fans

West Ham may have lost in the Women’s Super League, but they gained 25,000 new fans

Tottenham Hotspur were the party poopers on the day, coming out with a 2-0 victory

Tottenham Hotspur were the party poopers on the day, coming out with a 2-0 victory

Tottenham Hotspur were the party poopers on the day, coming out with a 2-0 victory

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This summer’s World Cup in France captured the imagination of a host of new fans.

Days like this are part of the game’s attempts to capitalise on that growing interest, with West Ham the latest WSL club to host a game at their main stadium.

The Hammers’ commitment to promoting the women’s game has been significant.

They have invested heavily in their squad and setup since turning full-time last season and were rewarded with a Wembley FA Cup final against Manchester City. They wanted to reschedule their men’s game on the same afternoon so more supporters could go to Wembley, but their request was denied.

They shone a light on their women’s team in a BBC documentary called Britain’s Youngest Football Boss, a nod to their 19-year-old managing director Jack Sullivan, son of West Ham co-owner David. 

Regardless, it was a wonderful day for women's football, hosted at the London Stadium

Regardless, it was a wonderful day for women's football, hosted at the London Stadium

Regardless, it was a wonderful day for women’s football, hosted at the London Stadium

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West Ham’s attendances at their usual Rush Green home doubled last season to around 1,000, the WSL average.

This was a new level for a regular league game for Matt Beard’s side. The attendance was an impressive 24,790 with West Ham’s pricing — £2 for adults, £1 for season-ticket holders and members, kids allowed in free — going down well.

‘It shows there is a market and people want to come,’ Beard said. ‘I remember seven, eight years ago when I was at Chelsea. Roger and Dan were our two supporters and ended up becoming volunteers. It just goes to show how far the game has come in a short space of time.’

The crowd contained women’s football regulars and newcomers, young and old, some taking the chance to visit the ground for the first time and others looking for inspiration.

‘We are supporting both teams,’ explained smiling dad Yussef Segda, attending with his family.

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‘Having a daughter who wants to play football you have to support and take them to watch the women playing so they will be inspired and maybe be heroes themselves for the national team.’ 

The Hammers have dedicated a lot to promoting the women's game in recent times

The Hammers have dedicated a lot to promoting the women's game in recent times

 The Hammers have dedicated a lot to promoting the women’s game in recent times

Hammers season-ticket holder Charlie Hughes, who had two friends in his group attending their first ever game along with his wife, said: ‘What constitutes a good day? Having an entertaining match and the crowd enjoy themselves and wanting to come back.’

Key to that will always be the main event, the action on the pitch, which improved, along with the initially muted atmosphere, as the game went on.

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With winger Michail Antonio and club legend Sir Trevor Brooking among those watching on, West Ham walked out to the familiar strains of I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.

But theirs were burst by Spurs striker Rianna Dean’s brilliantly placed first-half diving header.

West Ham were made to pay for missing a string of chances when birthday girl Lucy Quinn grabbed Spurs’ second goal. 

The fans braved heavy rain as they watched the two teams play the Super League match

The fans braved heavy rain as they watched the two teams play the Super League match

 The fans braved heavy rain as they watched the two teams play the Super League match

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Spurs’ joint head coach Juan Amoros said: ‘It’s a massively important occasion for football in general. I don’t like to call it just the women’s game.

‘It is different idols for young girls, young boys. Playing in different stadiums like this gives it the platform it deserves.

‘We also can’t forget elderly and senior people who are maybe changing their mentality and the way they look at things.’

Sullivan added: ‘The showcase is today but someone who comes here, we want them to go to Rush Green next week and the week after that.’

And that is the ultimate test — how many of the newcomers return when West Ham host Chelsea on October 27.