EURO 2022: Sussex's most influential female football trailblazers who helped create the lionesses' success

Following England Woman’s historic victory yesterday at Wembley Stadium, SussexWorld takes a look at some of the influential women footballers from across the county.

The Lionesses won their first ever major women's tournament when they beat Germany in extra-time – thanks to goals from Ella Toone and Chloe Kelly.

Substitute Kelly managed to poke the ball home with ten minutes to spare – sending the 87,192 supporters inside Wembley wild as Sarina Wiegman's side won England’s first major international trophy since 1966.

Hope Powell

Manager of Brighton & Hove Albion, Hope Powell looks on during the Barclays FA Women's Super League match between West Ham United Women and Brighton & Hove Albion Women (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Brighton & Hove Albion Women’s first team coach Hope Powell was spotted at the final yesterday.

Hope was appointed as the first-ever full-time National Coach of the England Women’s team and was both the youngest ever England coach and the first female England coach.

She was also the first black and the first female manager of any England national team and, In 2003, became the first woman to achieve the UEFA Pro Licence—the highest coaching award available.

Hope has been instrumental in women’s football, especially the England team, to make it a professional setup.

Maggie Murphy - CEO at Lewes FC

She said: “People quite often said ‘Oh, Hope is coaching to give something back’ but it was nothing to do with that. I wanted to get paid in the game, I wanted to stay in the game, and I thought coaching was a way to do it.”

Maggie Murphy

At Lewes FC, Maggie Murphy became the CEO of the first football club in the world to offer equal pay between its male and female teams.

Maggie has been a passionate football player since she was a young girl but always felt football was just something for the weekend.

June Jaycocks and Eileen Bourne at the launch of the Goal Power Women’s Football 1894-2022 Exhibition outside the Royal Pavilion in Brighton

Having previously worked in anti-corruption, human rights and governance, she became angry that the governance of football was corrupt and that it only really seemed to care about money.

Maggie used her experience and teamed up with a group of other women to set up the charity Equal Playing Field.

They began setting world records to raise awareness of equality and respect for women and girls across the world.

Maggie describes it as a sort of ‘physical manifestation of the frustrations they were feeling’.

This led her to being approached to become General Manager of Lewes FC women’s team; a club she believed in due to its Equality FC campaign and community ownership.

Eileen Bourne

Finally, in the 1960s, Eileen Bourne was invited as a teenager to join one of the first Brighton women’s team – the Brighton GPO (General Post Office).

She played charity matches against men’s teams until the first women’s league was formed.

Eileen was the first woman to be sent off for swearing during a match in 1971 – aged 20.

With the score nil-nil and only five minutes to go, Eileen fielded the ball near the by-line and the referee awarded a corner to the other side. “The ball didn’t go over the bloody line, Ref!” protested Eileen, and her legacy was cemented.

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Commenting on her time in football, Eileen said: “When I was a young girl, I’d be dreaming of being a footballer, but I’d be putting myself in one of the men’s teams.

"I’m in the cup final at Wembley and I’m playing for Tottenham upfront and I’m going to score the winning goal. Real dreams that little girls can have now and fulfil, whereas for me it was never going to be anything except a dream. It didn’t occur to me that it wasn’t fair.”