Players: Carol Thomas

Carol Thomas (née McCune): England’s unsung heroine

 

cthomas1

Born: 5th June 1955
Position: Right-back
Debut: France (7th November 1974)
Last game: Republic of Ireland (22nd September 1985)
Occupation: Clerk (1974–85), Lunchtime Supervisor (1993–2001), Village Postie (2001–2013)

 

Today, Carol Thomas remains the forgotten and overlooked captain of the England women’s team (excluding this website of course!) yet she is still the most successful and second longest serving captain to date. Her achievements, which would be remarkable even by today’s professional standards, in an era of little funding and scant recognition, can only be described as truly extraordinary. Her willingness to return to the grass roots of the game for over 16 years, under the radar of women’s football’s high level administrators, following a glittering international career and after the birth of her two sons, highlights a true football devotee.

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Review: Carol Thomas interview with BBC Radio Humberside, 14 November 2016

 

Ex-England skipper breaks cover for local radio chat

 

On a cold Monday night in November BBC Radio Humberside pulled off a significant coup, securing Carol Thomas as the guest in their 6pm nightly ‘Sports Talk’ phone-in. In trying her hand at punditry Thomas proved herself an eloquent standard bearer for women’s football and sport in Hull. The episode link was here, but sadly is no longer available.

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An ‘Original’ writes

England ‘keeper Sue Whyatt: Forget me not!

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

1972 England goalkeeper Sue Whyatt recently got in touch with Women’s Football Archive:
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Anne O’Brien, footballer (1956–2016)

Irish football great Anne O’Brien dies in Italy aged 60

 

Ireland lost one of its best ever sports stars with the untimely death of Anne O’Brien in August 2016. Medals and memories from a stellar pro career in France and Italy cemented her unique legacy to Irish sporting heritage. The tragedy is that she has been lost with parts of her amazing story still to be told, and without getting the proper acclaim her achievements merited.

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Players: Maggie Pearce

Morag “Maggie” Pearce (née Kirkland): England’s original and best left-back

 

Born: c.1957, Southampton
Position: Left-back
Debut: Scotland (A) 18 November 1972
Occupation: Schoolgirl (1972)

 

Southampton WFC great Maggie Pearce is the only player to start both England’s first ever match in 1972 and the UEFA Championship final 12 years later. At 15 she was the youngest player to make it throught the trials into Eric Worthington’s inaugural Lionesses XI. Cool and unflappable, she was an essential component of two great England teams and the all-conquering Saints. Pearce formed a formidable full-back partnership with starboard-sided Carol McCune/Thomas and successfully transplanted her understanding with Southampton lefties Sue Lopez and Pat Chapman to international level. She bounced back from the birth of her first daughter to round off a 40-cap career.

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Players: Lorraine Hanson

Lorraine Hanson (née Dobb): Belles and England great

 

Born: c.1959, Worksop
Position: Defender/Forward
Debut: 1975?
Occupation: Sales receptionist (1983, 1985), Clerk (1986)

 

Considering Lorraine Hanson was such a brilliant footballer for Doncaster Belles and England, there is next to nothing about her on the internet. After starting out in her native Nottinghamshire with Carr Fastener and Nottingham Rangers, she joined Doncaster Belles in 1977 and became a key part of one of the most successful English club teams ever assembled. Equally capable at centre-forward or at centre-half, Hanson made around 30 appearances for England and played in the 1984 UEFA Championship final.

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Administrator: Pat Gregory

Patricia “Pat” Gregory

 

Born: c.1947, London
Position: Unknown
Debut: N/A
Occupation: BBC Sport special projects manager (1993, 2005)

 

Pat Gregory: A lifetime dedicated to women’s football

 

First, an apology: until now the entire Women’s Football Archive project has been a pathetic joke. That’s because it has purported to tell the story of women’s soccer in England… with hardly any mention of Pat Gregory! This article is a small step towards putting that right.
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Match: Republic of Ireland 0–5 England, 3 May 1981, Dalymount Park

Reagan’s rampant England put five past Ireland

 

Guerin in her later guise as a hard-bitten crime reporter
Irish soccer starlet Ronnie Guerin in her later guise as a hard-bitten crime reporter

 

Classic match report: Debuts for Coultard and Gallimore as England drub Girls in Green

 

In June 2016 England blooded two new Lionesses in the shape of Rachel Daly and Nikita Parris, who both made their debuts in a 7–0 cakewalk against hapless Serbia. Some 35 years earlier England also handed out a double debut, to Gillian Coultard and Angela Gallimore, in this match with Ireland at Dalymount Park. In their first visit to the Emerald Isle, England eased to a 5–0 win. But Ireland’s team sheet included a star name of its own: Veronica “Ronnie” Guerin wore the famous green shirt before she turned into a leading journalist, got tragically gunned down and became the subject of a Holywood blockbuster…

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Match: Italy 3–1 West Germany, 26 August 1984, Stadio Armando Picchi

Hosts Italy crush West Germany to claim Mundialito

 

Picture from the excellent History of Women's Football on Facebook
Picture from the excellent History of Women's Football on Facebook

 

Classic match report: Three first-half goals secure Italy’s win over patched-up West Germany

 

In August 1984 Italy beat West Germany 3–1 in the 1984 Mundialto Femminile final. A capacity crowd at the Stadio Armando Picchi in Jesolo saw goals from vaunted front three Carolina Morace, Rose Reilly and Betty Vignotto put the Italians ahead, before West Germany reduced the arrears in the second half through Anne Kreuzberg.
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