This is one of the first caps given to the official England Women side, awarded to the team’s first ever official captain, Sheila Parker.

These caps were unofficial and homemade by Flo Bilton, a women’s football pioneer and a founding member of the Women’s Football Association (WFA). Bilton managed to acquire a men’s England cap from her neighbour Raich Carter to make her own copies of the caps for the female England players.

The crest is noticeably different to that used by the men’s national team, as the WFA was independent of the FA. The WFA kept women’s football alive in this country following the FA’s de facto “ban”, preventing women’s sides from playing at FA-affiliated grounds. This ban was only lifted around 1971.

“Scotland 1972” refers to the national side’s first official fixture: an exhibition match against Scotland at Ravenscraig Stadium. The visitors would run out 3-2 winners in Greenock, with Sylvia Gore scoring the Lionesses’ first ever official goal. Eric Worthington’s side had trailed at the break, only for goals from Lynda Hale and Jeannie Allott to turn the tie around.

Sheila, England Women’s first official skipper, had turned out for Dick, Kerr Ladies, Chorley Ladies and Foden’s, another influential side of the period. She was selected as inaugural captain by manager Eric Worthington, retaining the armband for another four years. The versatile lynchpin, who could play in either defence or midfield, continued to make appearances for England until her international retirement in 1983.  

During her domestic career, Sheila won the WFA Cup with Foden’s in 1974, then five titles and four League Cups with Preston Ladies. She achieved another league and League Cup double with St Helen’s.

In recognition of her achievements, Sheila was inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame in 2013.