June Jaycocks: WFA Footsoldier
Born: c.1936, Brighton
Occupation: Telephonist? (1967)
An influential player in the formation of the WFA in 1969. She served as WFA International Officer for many years and was another dedicated volunteer who kept women’s football going despite a chronic lack of funding or official support.
The personable Jaycocks always went down well with players, sponsors and the male suits at the FA. Wendy Owen (2005) recalled: “I remember June as having a warm, lively personality and a great sense of humour which made her very popular with the players.”
In Women on the Ball (1997) Sue Lopez gave Pat Gregory‘s account of Jaycocks: “June worked tirelessly for the game right from the very start in 1969. One of the enduring memories of her, though, is the way she could get through to some of the stuffy gentleman officials where others had failed – just by smiling. They’d melt at her smile every time.”
The WFA’s shoestring operation was kept afloat by the efforts of a hardy band of volunteers, with Jaycocks a key player. She was equally at home mucking in with Flo Bilton‘s endless sewing of kits and caps, or beaming for the cameras while taking cheques off sponsors. She filled various other WFA roles over the years, serving as vice–Chair and vice–Secretary.
Jaycocks quit as International Officer in 1991, following two very poorly attended friendly matches against USSR at The Dell in Southampton and Brighton’s Goldstone Ground. Genial, pipe-smoking England manager Barrie Williams also legged it as the WFA began to unravel.
Much loved husband Gerald “Jimmy” Jaycocks passed away in 2008.
It now seems barmy, but what Jaycocks and others at the WFA achieved was revolutionary. There were still many bigots who hated the idea of women playing football, and would stop at nothing to grind the whole thing into dust. The determination to hang in there and chip, chip, chip away at such hardened attitudes kept the flame of women’s football flickering in this country. Not even the FA’s disastrous Year Zero approach from 1993 could stamp out the advances fought for and won off the field by Jaycocks and her WFA comrades.
Legacy: Brighton & Hove Albion W.F.C.
Jaycocks was a player on the Brighton GPO team which formed in 1967 from workers at the Post Office’s telephone exchange. In 1969 they were founder members of the Sussex Martlet League, which Jaycocks chaired.
In 1975–76 Brighton & Hove Albion reached the Women’s FA Cup semi final, but were beaten 8–1 by Southampton WFC. They faced Belle Vue Belles (soon to be Donny Belles) in the third place play–off, oddly played immediately after the Southampton v QPR final at Bedford Town FC.
The club scooped a sponsorship deal with sports retailer Clapshaw and Cleave Sports, becoming known as C&C Sports during the 1979–80 season. In 1990 they linked up with Brighton and Hove Albion men’s club, changed their name again, and joined the inaugural National League in 1991, in Division One (South).
Julie Hemsley (England player 1982 and Assistant Manager 1993–95) played for and managed the club, while Sue Law featured before joining Millwall Lionesses in 1987. The tennis player Julie Salmon played too. In 1993–94 Brighton turned up at Belle Vue for an FA Women’s Cup match and were horsed 5–1 by the Belles. Brighton boasted the talents of Angie Banks (a striker later with Arsenal and England), while future England players Alex Cottier and Donna Smith were also in the squad.
In 2013 the club was competing at FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division level. They threw their hat in the ring for WSL 2 in 2014, but received a knock–back.
Despite that setback and the inevitable exodus of players to WSL clubs, Brighton remained ambitious to dine at the top table. Their ‘Elite Women and Girls Football Manager’ Tracy Doe had been an England international and an excellent striker in the successful Maidstone, Howbury Grange and Millwall Lionesses sides of the 80s.