Durham WFC were formed in 2014 as a merger between South Durham & Cestria Girls and Durham University, competing in their first ever Women’s Super League season during 2014.
Cestria was founded during 2006 by Lee Sanders and the North East side became perennial achievers in the women’s game. The girls played teams as far-reaching as Portugal, Ghana and America before winning the prestigious World Peace Cup in Oslo in 2010. A year later, they finished runners-up at the Gothia World Youth Cup.
Their first season as a senior football side finished in a Northern Women’s Combination League trophy before the merger came about with Sanders and Quentin Sloper, head of sport at Durham University, heading up the idea.
This led to the Wildcats competing in their first WSL2 campaign during 2014. The side took a while to find their feet but finished strongly and eventually finished 6th, a magnificent achievement for a side formed just months before the League began.
A successful second season followed with Durham finishing 7th despite an injury-ravaged campaign, giving the Wildcats plenty of confidence heading into 2016.
And that confidence was well-founded, with Durham enjoying their most successful season to date in their third year. A fourth-placed finish in FA WSL 2 represented the club’s best ever league finish, with the Wildcats well in the promotion hunt until the end of the season. Records were broken off the field, too, with crowds flocking to New Ferens Park across the season.
This laid the foundations for the one-off FA WSL Spring Series. With the vast majority of the squad retained, the side were looking forward with optimism into 2017.
A fifth place finished followed in the Spring Series as the club continued to develop both on and off the pitch. And that growth was rewarded at the 2017 FA Women’s Football Awards, where the Wildcats were awarded the prestigious FA Women’s Super League 2 Club of the Year prize for their excellent progress as a club.
Since then, Durham have regularly finished in the top four of the second tier and recorded their highest-ever finish in the 2020/21 campaign – when they secured second place.
Off the field, the Wildcats have also continued their growth and in the 2021/22 season sold-out a home game for the first time during their 2-2 draw with Manchester United.
That has been followed by three more sell-out games, accompanied by rapidly-growing crowds.
And the club took the latest step in their journey ahead of the 2022/23 season, as they turned fully-professional for the first time.
Further good news followed in the summer of 2023, when Durham signed a groundbreaking agreement with world-leading brand Nike.