One of the trailblazers of the sixties and seventies, Sheila Parker was appointed as the first captain of the official England national side put together by the WFA in 1972.

Having initially played alongside boys in her hometown of Chorley, Sheila signed for the famous Dick, Kerr Ladies as a 13-year-old, later joining local side Chorley Ladies.

In 1971, the ban that prevented women’s football fixtures being played on FA pitches was belatedly lifted, and one year later, Sheila was selected for the first official WFA England squad. After a series of trials, manager Eric Worthington handed the armband to the 24-year-old defender. She duly featured in the first official fixture against Scotland in 1972, during which the newly-formed side came back from two goals down to win 3-2.

Parker would remain as captain until 1976, leading England to victory in the first ever home international championships and, after a brief spell out of the national side through injury, returned to start at centre-half between 1977 and 1980.

An extraordinary Women’s FA Cup with Fodens was the crowning achievement of her domestic career. She had previously captained the works team to victory in the English Knock Out Competition Final over Scotland’s Westhorn United, but the victory over the much-fancied Saints in the 1974 final was one of the great shocks of the seventies.

Not just a defender, Sheila could play in almost any outfield position – as evidenced by her 51-goal haul in just 14 games for Preston in their title-winning 1975 campaign. She would ultimately win six Division One titles – five with the all-conquering Preston, one with St Helens – as well as five League Cups.

Sheila Parker accepting her Hall of Fame award in 2013. Photo: © Jason Lock

Principal clubs: Dick, Kerr Ladies, Chorley Ladies, Preston, St Helens

Honours: 6 Division One championships, 5 League Cups, 1 WFA Cup

Caps: 33

Inducted: 2013

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