Newcastle United have signed former Reading defender Deanna Cooper following the demotion of the women's set-up.

In the latest heart-breaking impact of lack of funding from owner Dai Yongge, the Royals' once-envied women's system was forced to significantly reduce its output as a cost-saving method.

As a result, just six years on from finishing fourth in the Women's Super League, the first team will line up in the fifth tier against local sides while most of the Academy has closed its doors for good.

As a result of dropping to amateur football, experienced internationals departed in their droves.

Cooper, a two-time WSL champion with Chelsea, has moved to Newcastle after four years and nearly 70 appearances for Reading.

After securing back-to-back promotions, the Magpies will line up in the Women's Championship next season, the division the Royals managed to survive in last year while a part-time outfit.

On joining Newcastle United Women, Cooper said: "I'm delighted to sign for Newcastle United Women. The ambition of the club is something I've admired for a while and speaking with Becky Langley only confirmed this as a place I want to be.

"The support and professionalism behind the women's team is incredible and I can't wait to work with the players and staff alike."