Object of the Week: Ellen White’s boots

This week’s object is a very special pair of boots. These are Ellen White’s boots from during a Women’s Super League fixture between Manchester City vs Reading: the final boots she ever wore in her domestic career.

Where did Ellen White start off?

White began in Arsenal’s academy, before starting her professional career at Chelsea. She went on to play at Leeds, Arsenal, Notts County, Birmingham City, and finally Manchester City, the team who she made the most appearances for (56).

Whilst at Birmingham City, during the 2017-18 season she was awarded the WSL Golden Boot, meaning she scored the most goals in the league that season.

She was also the all-time record goal scorer in the WSL for a month in February 2021 with 55 goals, until Vivianne Miedema surpassed her again in March.

Image: James Boyes

What about her international career?

The impressiveness of her club career is also mirrored in her spectacular international career. White is the record goalscorer for the England women’s national team, having scored a whopping 52 international goals. In terms of overall goalscorer for England, she is third, behind Harry Kane (62) and Wayne Rooney (53).

She has 113 caps and was awarded England’s Player of the Year three times (2011, 2018, and 2021). At the 2019 Women’s World Cup, White was the joint top goalscorer with six goals, and was awarded the Bronze Boot (as she had fewer assists than the Silver and Gold winners).

At the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, White’s last tournament, she started all six games. She scored 2 goals, both in England’s giant 8-0 victory over Norway in the Group stage. As we all know, England went on to win the final, meaning that this was the country’s first official major tournament win since the men’s World Cup in 1966.

What happened in her last WSL game?

On the 8th May 2022, Manchester City played their last WSL game of the season away against Reading. They won this game 4-0, with two goals coming in the first half (Lauren Hemp and Khadija Shaw), and two in the second (Ellen White and Alex Greenwood). White was brought on in the 79th minute replacing Khadija Shaw, and ended up scoring in the 85th minute. This was her last goal for City, which she scored in these exact boots. Funnily enough, the goal itself had nothing to do with the boots, as she scored a header from a corner taken by Vicky Losada!

Embed from Getty Images

Her last game for City was actually in the FA Cup final against Chelsea. She was brought on in the 80th minute this time when City were down 2-1. They did get an equaliser through Hayley Raso, but sadly lost in extra time when Sam Kerr managed to get the winner for Chelsea.

Even though she ended the season as a City player with a win in the WSL and a defeat in the FA Cup final, it was with England that summer that she had her final hurrah. What was already a sensational career became that much better when she won the Euros with England. She announced her retirement on 22 August 2022.

This announcement retroactively made these boots that she wore vs Reading all the more special and an important part of history, as it was then that they became the boots that Ellen White wore for her last ever game in the WSL.