Lionesses 50th anniversary to see introduction of legacy numbers

Sue Buckett & Mary Earps
Sue Whyatt & Mary Earps

The history of the England senior women’s team is to be permanently celebrated with the introduction of legacy numbers.

The initiative will celebrate the 227 individuals who hold the honour of representing the nation at the senior women’s level with their own unique number, mirroring the England senior men’s team.

The full list of legacy numbers was revealed today to mark 50th anniversary of the team’s first full international on 18 November 1972 against Scotland.

From 1972 goalkeeper Sue Whyatt (no.1), through to latest debutant Katie Robinson (no.227), all former and current players will be able to collectively acknowledge their own part in England’s history.

The numbers will be debuted on England’s matchday shirt against South Korea on Thursday 16 February 2023 at Stadium MK, when each member of the current squad will proudly display have their own unique number on their matchday shirt.

The legacy numbers were initially announced in the build-up to the Lionesses’ fixture against the USA which was dedicated to the 50th anniversary. As part of the celebrations on the evening, members of the inaugural 1972 team received their bespoke England cap with their legacy number as part of a special dressing room presentation.

Every former player will in due course receive the honour of a special velvet cap with their newly-established legacy number embroidered on the front.

Millie Bright & Carol Thomas
Millie Bright & Carol Thomas

All former players have been identified via a thorough research programme commissioned by The FA. The programme, to better recognise the history of the women’s game, was assisted by grant funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players. JJ Heritage, former members of the WFA, FIFA, UEFA, the National Football Museum, the British Library and other members of the women’s football family have been central to its creation.

ENGLAND WOMEN LEGACY NUMBERS (listed 1-227)

Kay Cossington, Head of Women’s Technical at The FA, said: “Every former player has played their part in the team’s journey and the introduction of legacy numbers is a permanent reminder of their impact and the history of the England senior women’s team. All 227 players are valued members of the ‘England family’ and we hope they can reflect with pride on being part of a small group of women who have transformed football and made an everlasting impact on society.

“We want to thank each and every one who has worn the shirt since 1972 and epitomised what it means to be a Lioness. Their number will always remain unique to them and is a symbol of their legacy in growing the game.

“We remain indebted to many in the women’s football family who have helped collate this historic list and the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund. I would like to pay particular tribute to Professor Jean Williams and Patricia Gregory, who have worked tirelessly with FA colleagues over a number of years to bring this project to life.”

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, former players Sue Whyatt, Carol Thomas and Kerry Davis joined members of the current squad at St George’s Park last week.

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