Object of the Week: England Women shirt, 1991 Calendar

15 Jul 2022

england women 1991

What is this object?

This is one of the final shirt designs worn by the England women’s team whilst under the management of the Women’s Football Association (WFA).

Up until the mid-90s when the FA took over the administration from the WFA, the women’s team would have distinctive kits and crests, setting them apart from the equivalent men’s national side. The crest does hold some similarities to the men’s side, featuring the three lions and red roses synonymous with England; a long-lasting reminder of the development of women’s football in the England.

england women 1991 shirt pattern

Who were the WFA?

The FA banned women’s football from its clubs’ grounds in 1921, on grounds of it being ‘quite unsuitable for females’, but some teams continued to play; by the 1960s there were several established sides. The Women’s FA (WFA) was formed in 1969 to support the growth of the sport, and within three years the first Women’s FA Cup and England Women’s international had been held. The international women’s senior side would be under the administration of the WFA, an independent body from the FA, until 1993.

Women’s Football in England in 1991

Until this point arguably England’s greatest success was reaching the 1984 Women’s Euro Final where they lost to a strong Sweden side on penalties. In 1991 the WFA launched a national league, kicking off with 24 clubs. The England squad at the time was full of hugely talented and influential players in the women’s game with several future National Football Museum Hall of Famers. These included Gillian Coultard, Tracey Davidson, Karen Walker, Janice Murray and Jackie Sherrard.

Gill Coultard in particular had a lasting legacy for England with 119 international caps, a record only beaten by Rachel Yankey in 2012. This England team also had a core of Doncaster Belles players who found much success during this period, winning the Women’s FA Cup six times in 12 seasons between 1983 and 1994.