‘We used a size four ball’: former Lionesses recall first women’s Euros

Gillian Coultard and Carol Thomas reflect on 1984 event that had shorter games and little publicity in EnglandThe contrast could hardly be greater for the former England captains Gillian Coultard and Carol Thomas between what was at their disposal in their playing days and the resources and professionalism afforded to the Lionesses today. The pair, who contested the first staging of what is now the European Championships in 1984, are looking forward to England kicking off Euro 2022 against Austria at Old Trafford on 6 July.Thomas, 67, took to the game before the FA ban on women’s football was lifted in 1970, while Coultard, 58, began playing in 1976 when female participation was permitted, though not championed. “When I started playing, I was only an 11-year-old local footballer in Hull,” Thomas says. “I didn’t realise there was a ban or anything. I just played for the fun of the game and we played wherever we could find goalposts.”

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