With the present-day England women’s football team heading to the final of EURO 2022, the i’s campaign has successfully honoured the original team in 1972 with their own official appearance caps for the first time
In a column for the news brand earlier this month, chief football correspondent Sam Cunningham pressed the Football Association to officially award the original 1972 Lionesses team with the traditional caps for each international appearance for the national team.
Previous players could only receive handmade replica caps, painstakingly produced by then-officer at the Women’s FA Flo Bilton. Players had to pay for their own caps as well as their own transport to fixtures.
Instead of official caps, players would be given a shield upon retirement noting each England appearance. Even after the FA later assumed responsibility for women’s football in 1993, previous players still did not receive official caps.
Although the FA is honouring its women’s national team with an official 50th anniversary event in November in which all previous players would be honoured, the i revealed there were no plans for these players to receive the caps they had missed out on.
After the news brand initially brought the campaign to readers’ attention, the issue was then raised in the House of Commons by Labour MP Barbara Keeley, with Leader of the House of Commons Mark Spencer saying Kelley’s motion “carries the support of the whole House”.
The FA later announced that it was “committed to awarding them with bespoke caps” as part of the anniversary celebrations.
Former winger for the 1972 team Jeannie Allott spoke to the i after the FA’s announcement, stressing that the team deserves an official apology for their treatment. She said: “I got in a lorry, a milk cart, anything that was going down to London… The things we do for the England team.
“That’s why it’s frustrating. What we went through to get women’s football where it is today. Nothing that happened in the past should be forgotten but the FA forgot us. We want a cap and I believe we deserve an apology.
“We didn’t have equal rights in those days. It was a shame. Some in the FA didn’t agree with ladies football. It was a man’s world.”