Football, food and awards with Izzy Christiansen

Isobel Christiansen (known as Izzy) is at the top of her game. Winner of consecutive Women’s Superleague Championships, the Continental Tyres Cup and also winning the personal accolade of Women’s PFA Player of the Year (sponsored by Sodexo) she is one to watch in Women’s Football.

We caught up with Izzy recently and discussed all things football, training regimes, diet as well as what it means to her to win such an accolade.

“Our training regime is periodised, so we work on a 4 week schedule where the weeks get harder and harder and the fourth week is used as a rest week. The only difference between a normal week and a rest week is that the timings of training adjust a little bit so it’s reduced time. The intensity is kept the same to ensure you sustain a match level of fitness.” Izzy also admits to enjoying all aspects of training when asked which exercises she dreads, “I’m quite a geek and like learning, to know why we do things. I enjoy working with the technical, tactical team out on the training field and also working with the sports science team who provide the science behind what we do.”

Izzy suffered an injury in one of the opening games of the season so it would have been easy for Izzy to let her head go down, but she is a resilient young woman and explained, “I was obviously really disappointed to have worked so hard during our pre-season period and then to get injured. It’s part of the game though and injuries certainly adjust your diet and your training.”

Like any normal woman in her 20’s she confesses to loving chocolate, “It’s definitely my weak point”, and hankers after the comfort of her mum’s home cooking, particularly roast dinners. However, her determination and commitment to her sport mean that she takes nutrition seriously and explains, “Where we are now with Women’s football, diet has become even more integral than it was 5-10 years ago. As with any professional sport there’s a key amount of science that goes in to what we need to eat and why we need to eat it. Again, I’m really interested in that side of things and I find it quite easy to maintain a good diet. My diet mainly consists of lots of vegetables, very good protein sources, carbohydrates when needed to fuel training and fuel the games, and increasing protein intake for recovery post training.”

Izzy is very much a star in her own right, having been voted by her peers as the PFA Women’s Player of the Year 2016, something she describes as being a “huge honour” but also “a massive shock”. On the back of winning consecutive Women’s FA Super League titles with Manchester City, her views on the future of the women’s game are similarly positive, “The amount of progress it’s made over the past 5 years is phenomenal really. I think the more teams that we can get the wider the participation. We can improve the standard of the players coming through to strengthen the league and make it bigger, make the league more competitive.”

The PFA Awards 2017 are taking place on the 23rd April where the new Women’s Players’ Player of the Year will be announced, and also the Young Women’s Players’ Player of the Year – both awards are sponsored by Sodexo. It will be fascinating to see the rising stars of the Women’s game, especially with the sport growing increasingly influential.

The full interview with Izzy Christiansen is available in the recent issue of Prestige magazine. Take a look here: Prestige Magazine Spring 2017

A step into football past and present

Here, at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, we’ve had a busy February with some interesting conference events including a couple of banqueting dinners and the exciting opening of the new Education and Heritage Centre with a Menu Showcase booked in for April.

Our planned menu showcase on the 5th April will allow us to show off our talents and display the best of what we can offer to a captive market. Stephen Frost and Fritz Machala are at the forefront of this event producing a wonderful display of canapés, bowl food and banqueting options.  We will surprise and delight guests by offering a wide array of dining locations from the multi-purpose corporate boxes, to drinks receptions in the dressing rooms and elegant dining in the heart of the new Education and Heritage Centre which opened on 22nd February.


The Education and Heritage Centre is a major contribution to the stadium and adds another string to our bow for hospitality. It offers a new dimension of bringing children and youth groups to the stadium for our ‘Sporting Heroes’ and ‘Little Legends’ catering packages.

The Education and Heritage Centre tells the unique story of Northern Irish football using a varied range of media, immersive physical interactives and key artefacts from the 1880s to the present day. A 45 minute walking tour, covering ¼ mile, visitors can relive the atmosphere of match day, gain insights into the drama on and off the pitch and feel the rush of emotions shared by everyone inside the stadium, whether their team wins or loses.  Additional to the centre guided tour, visitors can also go behind the scenes and take a seat in the Northern Ireland changing room, sharpen their knowledge in the Press Room and sit in the dug-out and walk out the tunnel of the Green and White Army.

When hosting the tours around the stadium, surprisingly, to most popular request by the ladies, is to see the ice baths in the changing rooms. These functional ‘climb in’ spaces seem to attract much attention, not for what they are, but for who uses them!  The gents on the other hand like to get their selfies taken in the hot seats of the manager’s chairs in the press conference room.  Exciting times ahead as we look to create amazing hospitality in the most unusual settings.  A personal challenge that is more than welcome.  Who says you host can’t a drinks reception in the shower rooms and a wedding reception in the museum?

Laura West, Sales Manager, National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Northern Ireland.

For information about holding an event at the stadium, contact the Central Enquiry Hub on 0845 6055 699 or email venues&  or take a look at their page online