Five months ago Kit Graham was faced with an agonising decision.
She had given 14 years of loyal service to her childhood club Charlton but when the offer to go full-time at Tottenham came along, it was just too good to refuse, writes Tom Dean.
The 24-year-old Kent-born forward joined the Addicks when she was nine and scored more than 200 goals for the club before Spurs came calling following their promotion to the Barclays FA Women’s Super League this season.
Tottenham were quick to announce their new signing on a free transfer, but Charlton were less than impressed with their dealings and immediately released a statement sharing their disappointment that the move had been allowed to go ahead with the forward still being under contract.
Midway through her debut top-flight season, Graham has let the drama wash over her – certain the decision was the right one to further her footballing career.
“I always wanted to gain promotion with Charlton, and we tried for a very long time, but it just didn’t happen,” said Graham.
“I have also always had a very good relationship with Spurs and I just felt it was the right time for me to move in terms of my progress rather than staying at the club [Charlton] for personal reasons.
“Having the opportunity to train week-in week-out as a day job is unreal and that definitely plays a major role in the increase in standard in the WSL.
“It is a massive lifestyle change for me now – before I used to work for a pharmaceutical company and juggle that with training which doesn’t allow you to rest and recover properly.”
— Kit Graham (@KitGraham) January 8, 2020
Of course, a step up to the top flight doesn’t just mean changes off the pitch, with the increase in quality proving quite drastic for a player who has been used to scoring goals for fun in the past.
Her 16 goals last season were enough to earn her the FA Women’s Championship Players’ Player of the Year prize but were a far cry from the numbers she had been posting when the Addicks were a third-tier side – scoring 47 times in 35 games during the 2017/18 season.
But it’s points that are the main objective at this stage of her career as she aims to help Spurs to become a top-flight mainstay – although goals aren’t entirely off the menu either.
“I have adapted here a lot quicker than I thought I would do as well which has helped me but the players that are already here have helped me to do that", added Graham, who has already netted three times in eleven league games.
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“When you make the step up you realise straight away that the standard is a lot better and where I am used to scoring 30 or more goals per season, I realise that is not realistic now.
“We have proved that we are more than capable of competing at this level and we have the players that can do that too so it’s just about learning more about each other.
“Any team in this league can win on their day so we have to make sure that we train well and do the jobs that are asked of us and we will keep picking up points that way.”