Carol Thomas, a pioneer for the Lionesses and women’s football in England as a whole, has been inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame.
Thomas captained England for the first time in 1976 at the age of just 20 and later became the first player, male or female, to skipper England in a European tournament final when the Lionesses were runners-up in the inaugural UEFA Women’s Championship in 1984.
The FA’s ban on women’s football was only lifted in 1971 and England played their first international the following year. When Thomas was named captain in 1976, she was only the second player to lead the Lionesses and later became the first to reach 50 caps.
Over the course of nine years, Thomas led England at seven consecutive international tournaments, including the aforementioned European Championship in 1984, where a penalty shootout defeat against Sweden was the small margin that decided it.
In 1985, Thomas lifted the Mundialito trophy for England, the unofficial world cup, which was also the first international tournament to feature the United States.
Thomas was presented with her award by FA director of women’s football Sue Campbell, surrounded by the current Lionesses squad, for whom she has done so much as a trailblazer.
“When we rebalanced the Hall of Fame as part of the National Football Museum’s commitment to Women’s Football, the one name that came up repeatedly was Carol Thomas,” NFM chief executive Tim Desmond commented.
“Carol is clearly well regarded and admired for what she achieved in the game; she is truly one of the giants on whose shoulders the current England players stand on. I am delighted that Carol is now being inducted to the Hall of Fame, to take her place amongst the greats of football.”