Women's World Cup: England's 'Lost Lionesses' honoured at National Football Museum event in Manchester

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A team of women’s football trailblazers were honoured at Manchester’s National Football Museum as the Lionesses continue their bid for World Cup glory.

The 1971 England team, known as the ‘Lost Lionesses’, were presented with upcycled caps and a hand-crafted bespoke Mitre football to commemorate their place in the history of the women’s game.

The Lost Lionesses - the England women's team who played at a World Cup in 1971 and were banned on their return home The Lost Lionesses - the England women's team who played at a World Cup in 1971 and were banned on their return home
The Lost Lionesses - the England women's team who played at a World Cup in 1971 and were banned on their return home
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The team, managed by Harry Batt, travelled to Mexico for a World Cup in 1971 - launching them to fame and stardom as they played in front of crowds of up to 90,000. With women’s football still banned at the time however, on their return to England the players were subsequently stopped from playing football, some never to play again.

Despite their huge success and popularity, and their role in breaking the boundaries for today’s women’s game to flourish; a fan-led initiative originated by Craig Stronach and supported by the Football Supporters’ Association was needed to create a collection of products to mark the team’s achievements.

Mitre commissioned football designer Jon-Paul Wheatley to create a hand-crafted football for the project using upcycled Mitre footballs previously used by football fans and players over the last 30 years. It was created as a gift to the family of manager Batt.

Keith Batt, son of manager Harry, receives the specially-commissioned ballKeith Batt, son of manager Harry, receives the specially-commissioned ball
Keith Batt, son of manager Harry, receives the specially-commissioned ball

Designer Sophie Hird created 14 bespoke England caps to present to the team - designed, upcycled, and created by England fans. Each cap is inspired by a woman that played after the 1971 team, signified by the specific shirt, their name and number, and defined into a specific game. Retro football shirts donated England shirts to aid Sophie’s creations.

Sophie Hird with the Lost Lionesses Sophie Hird with the Lost Lionesses
Sophie Hird with the Lost Lionesses
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The presentation evening at the National Football Museum included a round table discussion with current players about the experiences women faced in 1971, in comparison to today’s game. 

1971 England team

Manager: Harry Batt - Son: Keith Batt. Squad: Chris Lockwood, Carol Wilson, Jan Emms (Barton), Marlene Rowe (Collins), Jean Elliott (Breckon), Jill Brader (Stockley), Paula Milnes (Rayner), Val Hyde (Cheshire), Leah Caleb, Gill Sayell, Louise Gardner (Cross), Trudy Mccaffery, Lillian Taylor (Harris), Yvonne Bradley (Farr).

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