By Chris Harris
The Arsenal Ladies success story might be very different without Vic Akers.
That's the view of Katie Chapman, whose goal set up yet another FA Cup triumph for the Gunners on Monday. The midfielder struck after 32 minutes before a stoppage-time goal from Kim Little sealed a 2-1 victory over Sunderland at Pride Park.
Arsenal's record in the FA Cup is exemplary. They have made 10 Final appearances and won them all, including each of the last four years. And Akers has been in charge every step of the way.
The manager pulled on his Cup Final suit for the last time on Monday as he prepares to relinquish his role after 22 years at the helm. Akers has won 31 major trophies during that time and will add one final pot if Arsenal beat Everton in next weekend's title decider.
As far as Chapman is concerned, the 62-year-old deserves every plaudit he gets.
"Vic’s been there throughout and he has made Arsenal Football Club what it is," she said.
"He has brought in fantastic players, players have come and gone, but it has always been a great Club. I think he’s been an inspiration for the Club and the players here. I am very pleased he brought me here because I have loved every minute of it.
"It was very important for me to score in the Final. We had already missed a lot of chances and it was a case of just getting that first goal just so we could relax a bit more and try and play. It was nice and a bit of relief really.
"I think we were hoping to score more goals but they made it hard for us. Sunderland are a great side, young and enthusiastic. They made it hard and we were very sloppy in our passing and we didn’t play a great game. Perhaps we would have done on another day.
"We have lost some of our internationals and that has been hard but the girls have got together and we’ve rebuilt.
"We want success as much as we ever did, that hasn’t changed. We just need to go out there and work a bit harder. We have worked hard and the team spirit is massive for us. The togetherness of Arsenal Football Club is a massive thing for us when we go out and play."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 5 May 2009