Posted: 20.04.20 at 20:28 by The Editor
INTERNET football sensations Hastag United, who play their home matches in Tilbury, joined forces with AFC Basildon Women to launch a ladies' side.
The two clubs have merged and Hashtag will field a women's team for the first time in the coming season.
The senior ladies team will play in the FA Women's National League Division One South East - the fourth tier of the women's game - and the club will also have U23 and U18 women's teams.
Hashtag, which boasts more than one million followers across social media channels, was founded in 2016 by YouTube personality Spencer Owen, who cut his local football filming technique following East Thurrock United, where he dad Steve was the physio. Our video clip features the Rocks' historic trip to Hartlepool United in 2014.
Hashtag originally played exhibition matches against professional football clubs' staff teams, Sunday league teams and non-league teams.
The games were filmed and highlights were uploaded to their YouTube channel, where they quickly gained a significant online following.
In 2017 they joined the non-League pyramid and in their first season topped their division in the Eastern Counties League.
They then moved to Tilbury and competed in the Essex Senior League and were looking a good bet for a second successive promotion until the season was abandoned because of cornavirus.
Spencer says: "Our goal at Hashtag United has always been to grow the club at a controlled and steady rate with an aim of being inclusive and representational for all.
"Following the 2019 Women’s World Cup I made a personal pledge to support the growth of women's football and had been looking for the right opportunity to do so since.
"I knew the best case scenario would be bringing a women's team under our wing at Hashtag so I could ensure continuous support long-term.
"After reaching out locally to see what teams were in need of support, AFC Basildon stood out from the rest right away as a club that are not only geographically very close to our base but are also the most successful women's team in the county.
""This move also furthers the important process of us putting down some permanent roots and providing opportunities to those in our local community, while simultaneously bringing more attention to the women’s game."