Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa 7 July 1970 – England 5–1 West Germany

England crush German rivals at 1970 Women’s World Cup in Italy

Germany boss Heinz Schweden imparts some half-time instructions to Martina Arzdorf

Germany boss Heinz Schweden imparts some half-time instructions to a pouting Martina Arzdorf

Remember when England whupped Germany 5–1? No, not that time. Y’know… 1970… at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa? Before Stevie G, Michael O and, er, Emile H were even born. No? Then read on…

UPDATE: See below for a November 2016 update to this article.

Background


The Women’s Football Association gingerly began life as the ‘Ladies’ Football Association of Great Britain’ in 1969.

For a few years they remained so bogged down in ludicrous ‘steering groups’ and ‘joint-consultative sub-committees’ that nothing actually got done in terms of putting a national team out.

Meanwhile, hard-headed realist Harry Batt got on and made things happen. Like all the best drivers of early women’s football he acted without waiting for permission.

Batt was the manager of Chiltern Valley Ladies, where his formidable wife June had played, and had taken it upon himself to put together an England national team.

Meanwhile an independent world women’s football governing body, FIEFF, had been formed as the brainchild of a group of Italian businessmen. Among them was Marco Rambaudi, furniture magnate and owner of the Real Torino women’s football club.

Martini & Rossi, purveyors of sickly fortified wines – popular in the pre-alcopop 70s – were the group’s main sponsors.

Tournament poster from the superb thehistoryofwomensfootball.com

Tournament poster from the superb thehistoryofwomensfootball.com

A Coppa Europa involving Batt’s England had proved to be a money-spinner for FIEFF in 1969. Thumbing their nose at FIFA, the Italian impresarios put together an even more ambitious eight-team Coppa del Mondo in 1970.

Another invitation winged its way to Batt, while teams from Mexico, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark and West Germany were also rounded up. Czechoslovakia pulled out at late notice when they were refused visas.

Plans to invite Brazil were scuppered when it turned out women’s football there was not only banned – as it was in most places – but actually illegal.

Martini ponied up for a massive ornate trophy, to be collected by the tournament winners.

England


England’s star players Sue Lopez and Dot Cassell ultimately earned moves to full-time football in Italy off the back of their performances for Batt’s team.

Here the Italian press reported that Lopez had a distant relative in the Mexican squad, due to the great-granddad who had bequeathed her Iberian moniker.

Sue’s copious memoirs rather skirt over this 1970 tournament. It was apparently a bit naughty of her to take part: she was, after all, the nascent WFA’s assistant secretary.

Batt was said to be sweating on Cassell and Lopez turning up – they made their own way to Italy after starring for Southampton in the Deal International Tournament.

Sue Buckett, the great Southampton goalkeeper who became a fixture in the WFA’s England team, was in the team lists published by La Stampa on the morning of the match, with Everitt on the bench. But in the following day’s match report it was Everitt between the sticks with Buckett nowhere to be seen.

There were a few other interesting names in Batt’s line-up, which might suggest his team was stronger and more representative than it has often been given credit for.

Briggs and Seymour jump out: Joan Briggs and Jean Seymour were veterans of the big Northern works teams who dominated England’s domestic scene in the pre-WFA era.

Seymour had moved down to play for Southampton, while Briggs turned out for Leicester side EMGALS and was one of the last players to be cut from Eric Worthington’s 1972 England team. Briggs later became a Tory Councillor in the East Midlands (Boo! Hiss!)

Denmark proved too strong in England’s next match, winning 2–0 at a canter in Milan.

Neither Cassell or Lopez were in the England team which lost the third place play-off 3–2 to Mexico in Turin. Batt’s girls never recovered from a sensational early goal by Alicia Vargas, perhaps the Marta of her day.

West Germany


The Germans did not set up an official women’s team until 1982. So the invite for this tournament was taken up by Heinz Schweden, coach of club team SC Bad Neuenahr.

The Rhine Valley outfit made headlines in 2000 when they signed former Southampton Saints and Reading frontwoman Sarah Stainer, making her the first English player in the Frauen-Bundesliga.

Like Batt’s England, the Germans bolstered their ranks with guest players. Captain Margaretha Holl joined from Bellenberg. Sieglinde Schmied and Anneliese Probst came in from Ludwigsfeld and Gannertshofen, respectively.

The Bad Neuenahr team had a youthful spine: Maria Nelles (later Breuer) was the 17-year-old goalkeeper and Elisabeth “Fritzi” Schuhmacher the midfield hub. Prolific 15-year-old Martina Arzdorf (later Hertel) was charged with leading the line and getting the goals.

Match


England and West Germany both trained at Genoa’s impressive stadium on the day before the match, with Batt and Schweden soon at loggerheads over alleged spying!

The spat foreshadowed the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup – where the Chinese hosts subjected their opponents to creepy surveillance, involving bugged dressing rooms and two-way mirrors.

In its quaintly shambolic way, the bickering proved that the stakes were high. Batt and Schweden were contrary characters. They needed to be, too: by running their “unofficial” national teams they constantly shrugged off threats of dire consequences from football’s powers that be.

ENGLAND
1. Everitt
2. Knowles
3. Cheshire
4. Cassell
5. Stockley
6. Read
7. Rayner
8. King
9. Briggs
10.Lopez
11.Cross

Substitutes:
13.Foulke
14.Seymour

Coach:
Harry Batt

WEST GERMANY
Nelles .1
Probst .2
Marino .3
Waluga .4
Wilke .5
Rosenberg .6
Schuhmacher .7
Arzdorf .8
Holl .9
Schmied.10
Yusten.11

Substitutes:
Glasmacher.12
Seeliger.13
Nagel.14

Coach:
Heinz Schweden

A crowd of around 3,000 were in place for the half nine kick-off, after which England quickly seized control of the match.

Briggs blasted an early two-goal salvo, inside the first minute and then on nine minutes. Stockley knocked in a penalty on 25 minutes, awarded by fussy Italian ref Loffi. Cross’s goal on the half hour mark gave England a commanding 4–0 half-time lead.

Germany’s Schmied reduced the arrears with an eye-catching solo goal on 49 minutes, before – who else? – Sue Lopez lashed in a fifth to make the game safe on 61 minutes.

The match made a small ripple in the West German press. Abendzeitung sports hack Veit Mölder, piqued at the Germans’ thrashing, instead focused on the players’ looks.

Scoffing at the Brits’ “tree-truck calves”, Mölder seedily branded the German teens “die schönere Elf” (the beautiful eleven). Well, it was the 70s!

Meanwhile the sweaty-palmed, dirty raincoat-wearing snappers trained their long lenses on German number 4 Helga Waluga. The same treatment was meted out to England’s own blond bombshell Jeannie Allott a couple of years later.

It would be 45 long years before Fara Williams’ trusty right boot gave England victory over Germany again, at the 2015 World Cup in Canada.

Italy


Italian preparations for the tournament were marred by internal politics and internecine strife.

The team was selected by FICF, who were based in Viareggio and then Turin. A rival Rome-based association, FFIGC, banned its players from taking part.

FFIGC league champions Gommagomma noisily bragged that they would thrash the FICF national team. The Milan outfit may well have done too – their 16-year-old striker was the legendary Betty Vignotto.

The Italians still put out a strong team, containing captain and golden girl Elena Schiavo and excellent goalkeeper Wilma Seghetti. As holders of FIEFF’s 1969 Coppa Europa, they were looking to underline their dominance in their own backyard.

Notorious slow starters, the Italians edged out the Swiss 2–1 in Salerno. Then Schiavo booked their place in the final, grabbing a double to see off highly-fancied Mexico in Naples.

Denmark


Top club team Femina BK were invited to represent Denmark, as they had in the previous year’s Coppa Europa. They wanted to go one better having finished runners-up to their Italian hosts on that occasion.

The Femina ranks boasted a couple of talented Czechs in the shape of Jana Mandikova and Maria Sevcikova, a legacy of the club’s 1968 tour behind the old iron curtain. Sevcikova was already in the sights of Italian clubs and had been on trial at Real Torino alongside Sue Lopez.

Things got off to a rocky start when the hamper containing Femina’s iconic white kits failed to materialise. Suspicion fell on the Russian travel agents. Undeterred, the Danes sourced a job lot of AC Milan replica kits at a local sports shop and wore those instead.

Femina opened their campaign with a 6–1 win over West Germany, who were tired out by their England defeat and an exhausting train journey from Genoa to Bologna.

Two goals from Evers disposed of England in the semi-final in Milan – setting up a mouthwatering final rematch with Italy in Turin.

Final


The match was staged at Turin’s Stadio Communale (now the Stadio Olimpico after it was refurb’ed for the 2006 Winter Olympics).

Ex-Juventus custodian Giovanni Viola was in evidence, later making measured and sensible comment about the quality of football on show.

24,000 ticket sales went through the books, but the actual number inside the ground was reckoned at more than 40,000. Marco Rambaudi and pals made a killing but rubbed FIFA up the wrong way.

The crooks at the world governing body felt quite strongly, then as now, that their own noses should always be first in the trough on such occasions.

Femina celebrate their win, resplendent in Rossoneri livery

Femina celebrate their win, resplendent in Rossoneri livery

After an even bigger, better FIEFF World Cup in Mexico the following year, FIFA redoubled their efforts. High-level interference blocked a tournament in fascist Spain after which FIEFF fizzled out.

On the pitch, Denmark duly took revenge on Italy with goals in either half from Hansen and their irrepressible Czech Sevcikova.

Femina returned home in triumph having scooped the world title. But there was something rotten in the state of Denmark: their civic reception turned into a damp squib when the team caught an earlier train and missed the festivities.

The club inked a big sponsorship deal with the FAXE brewery off the back of their “World Champions” tag. But the peevish Danish FA (DBU) did everything in their power to stamp Femina out altogether over the following couple of years.

Update (November 2016)


An article in the Southern Evening Echo makes it clear that Sue Lopez and the Southampton players pulled out of the squad on the eve of the tournament and DID NOT take part, after all.

Quotes from Lopez indicate a mooted transport strike on the continent dissuaded the Southampton players from setting off at 8am the day after their Deal heroics. They were also wary about being seen to undermine the WFA.

The 2–0 semi-final defeat by Denmark in Milan was followed by unsavoury scenes, as players fled in terror from exuberant Italian fans invading the pitch. Batt insisted, not entirely convincingly: “The crowd did invade the pitch but the did not touch my girls. I can surely deny this. They may have been jostled a bit but nothing more.”

It seems Seymour in the England team was not Jean (née Gollin), the Mancunian veteran of Corinthians and Dick, Kerr’s Ladies, but Janice Seymour – a team-mate of Louise Cross of Patstone United.

Thanks to Neil Morrison of The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation for additional info.

Five players NOT in the English Football Hall of Fame

…Who should be!

NFM

National Football Museum’s ‘one female’ policy reeks of tokenism


Recently retired Arsenal stalwart Faye White was named in the English Football Hall of Fame this month. While Kelly Smith and Rachel Brown are nailed–on certs to join White in the next couple of years. Who could begrudge these warriors their place in the pantheon of greats? Not Women’s Football Archive, that’s for sure. But where does that leave earlier players, already overlooked for too long? Here’s five whose bizarre exclusion makes the whole thing a JOKE…


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Theresa ‘Terry’ Wiseman England’s number one throughout the eighties: tritely dubbed “the female Shilton”. London-born, she guarded the nets with distinction at Spurs, Maidstone, Howbury Grange and Friends of Fulham, winning back-to-back W.F.A. Cups and some 60 England caps. Also an animator who worked on Raymond Briggs’ masterpiece The Snowman and ended up Stateside, working for Disney Pixar. A cornerstone of England’s Euro 1984 successes, she repeatedly thwarted Pia Sundhage and pals in the final first–leg in Gothenburg.


KerryDavis93

Kerry Davis Burst on the scene in 1982 with two goals against Northern Ireland in Crewe. Hit two in the Belfast return, notched the only goal in Dublin, all four in Scotland and finished England’s historic Euro 84 campaign with 11 goals in 11 games. Signed by Lazio in 1985, she spent four years as a Serie A pro, also playing for Trani and Napoli. Turned out for Knowsley (Liverpool), Croydon and Millwall Lionesses on the Premier League circuit.

A favourite of 90s England boss Ted Copeland: her time in Italy made her a diligent trainer and gave her a physical confidence often lacking in female players. Went to the 1995 World Cup as a veteran. Adroit, versatile, elusive, loyal, she plundered upwards of 40 goals for the Three Lionesses in a 16-year career.


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Carol Thomas (née McCune) England’s time-served skipper from 1976 to 1985 who made the Guinness Book of Records when she crashed the 50-cap barrier. A redoubtable right-back from Hull with a tigeress-ish tackle. Certifiably football-daft, she tied the knot in 1979 and went to the Euros in Italy by way of a honeymoon! Played club soccer for Hull Brewery, Preston Rangers, CP Doncaster and Rowntrees FC of York. The protégée of much-loved Flo Bilton, who loomed large over women’s football in the East Riding of Yorkshire and beyond.


Sue Buckett One of a few Southampton WFC candidates to belatedly join Sue Lopez, the sole Saints inductee, in the national Hall of Fame. Buckett was England’s first goalie in 1972, whose incredible longevity saw her playing in the Women’s National Premier League some 20 years later. She backstopped the peerless Southampton WFC side to an avalanche of silverware and won 30 England caps in a 12-year national team career.


Linda Curl Goalscoring policewoman who made her England bow at 15 and retired as the all-time record cap holder. A big game player who popped up with crucial goals for Martin Reagan‘s genuinely top class England team. Another Euro 84 hero who scored in both the semi-final and final. Curl was not slow in striking goals for her clubs either, firing both Lowestoft and Norwich to W.F.A. Cup glory before winding down her playing days with spells at Town & County and Ipswich Town.



None of these players had a central contract. They didn’t get glossy photo shoots or expenses-paid jollies to La Manga and Cyprus. But they all made sacrifices over many years to write their names indelibly in the annals of English football history. Honourable mentions go to Pat Chapman, Liz Deighan and Lorraine Hanson (née Dobb), further proof—should it be needed—that women’s football in England did not start in 1993.

Calling all Stattos

Football history buffs of the world, unite!

Maggie Pearce keeps an eye on Pia Sundhage in the Euro 1984 final

Maggie Pearce keeps an eye on Pia Sundhage in the Euro 1984 final

AUTHORITATIVE football stats site RSSSF.com has published a list of the oldest and youngest players to play and score for their countries.

Now the number crunchers behind the prestigious list, stattos of international repute, need your help to properly credit the women who should be on there.

It is thought that Maggie Kirkland (Pearce) and Linda Curl may have debuted for England before their 16th birthdays, and that Jeannie Allot hit the Scotland net at 16.

Frankly, if detail about such all-time greats is difficult to come by, how many other candidates are ‘hiding’ in plain sight?

Neil Morrison and his gimlet-eyed cohorts deserve unfettered praise for their efforts. For very few football history experts of this calibre give women’s stuff the time of day: never mind equal billing.

It has always been the case. As Pete Davies put it in I Lost My Heart To The Belles (1996): “the women didn’t keep track of their stats with the stamp-collector’s precision of the men”.

That MUST change for women’s football to put down roots, without which there can be no progress and no ascent. We all have our part to play.

Those in charge of promoting women’s football have long peddled tiresome baloney about explosions in participation numbers. Time and time again we hear that the game is on the cusp of its breakthrough.

The problem with this dubious narrative is that everything pre-breakthrough (ie. before now) is accorded lesser status.

The reset button is hit every two minutes. A long and proud heritage is ignored or, worse, denigrated when it ought to be the major selling point.

If any of you among this site’s small but discerning readership can aid RSSSF in their quest, then please… PLEASE chip in with any info – no matter how small.

Together we can put the women’s game on the record and end many years of shameful neglect. Thank you!