Lynda Hale: 'England legacy number is the one I wanted more than anything'
One of the goalscorers from England Women’s first official match says seeing her velvet cap with the legacy number on the front for the first time brought a tear to her eye.
Lynda Hale has a proud place in English footballing history as she was the second person to score for the England Women in their first official game in 1972.
When the FA finally lifted its 51-year ban on girls and women playing football, Hale was among those who went through regional and then national trials to be selected for the match against Scotland on 18 November 1972.
And despite being just 18 years old, Hale scored the equaliser for the Lionesses at Ravenscraig Stadium, Greenock, before fellow teenager Jeannie Allott scored the winner to make it 3-2.
Scotland v England Women: 50 years on
Founding members from the Women's Football Association and Scottish Women's FA discuss the Lionesses' first game in 1972
Friday is the 50th anniversary of that special day and to mark the occasion, the FA have announced the legacy numbers for all 227 players who have played for the Lionesses.
All former players have been identified via a thorough research programme commissioned by the FA. The programme, to better recognise the history of the women’s game, was assisted by grant funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players, with JJ Heritage, former members of the WFA, FIFA, UEFA, the National Football Museum, the British Library and other members of the women’s football family central to its creation.
Hale was one of those from the 1972 side who travelled to Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Friday 7 October this year, when they were presented with a bespoke England cap with their legacy number on the front as part of a special dressing room presentation.
“Yes, I wanted my cap, but the legacy number is the one that I wanted more than anything,” Hale said. “I wore number seven so to be the seventh person to represent your country, it's incredible.
“There has been a few of us who have been campaigning for quite a long time to try to get our caps so when we got the letter, you thought ‘Oh yes, we're going to Wembley, we're going to get the cap’.
But we didn't really know we were going to get the legacy numbers until nearer the date of the match.
“When you then went into the changing room and saw the numbers on the cap and your name and numbers were up on your shirts, it brought tears to your eyes. Oh, it was lovely.
“All my life I have worn the number seven so I was just thinking ‘please, please let me have the number seven’. So that was the icing on the cake.”
After the presentation, the players joined a host of other Lionesses stars from recent decades to walk around the pitch at half-time of England Women’s 2-1 win over USA.
It was an emotional moment for the players and the 76,891 fans in attendance, as men, women and children took to their feet to applaud those who had laid the foundations for the summer’s home EUROs win.
Hale said: “I am proud but it wasn't until the last month or so that you're riding this wave and it's incredible. It took the FA a long time to do it but I couldn't have asked for anything more.
“The FA have made us feel very proud. I'm really pleased with how we got the caps and then being in front of that crowd we had here for the USA game, it was absolutely brilliant.
“It brought a tear to your eye, with all the people clapping us around the pitch and then some of them had tears in their eyes. It was incredible.”
A full list of legacy numbers and a list of every game in England Women’s history can be viewed here.
England Women's Legacy Numbers