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England's 1971 World Cup captain calls for FA to recognise her snubbed team

PUBLISHED: 21:06 14 June 2019 | UPDATED: 21:06 14 June 2019

England at the 1971 Women's World Cup. Picture: Supplied by Carol Wilson

England at the 1971 Women's World Cup. Picture: Supplied by Carol Wilson

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More than six million people tuned in to watch England Women's World Cup victory over Scotland on Sunday, June 9.

Carol Wilson, captain of the England women's football team from the 1971 World Cup.

Picture: RACHEL EDGECarol Wilson, captain of the England women's football team from the 1971 World Cup. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

But turn the clock back by almost 50 years and attitudes in England were very different.

The Football Association refused to sanction the 1971 World Cup team and upon their return, members of the side were banned from playing football for appearing unofficially in Mexico.

However, they were met with a rousing reception when they arrived in the country, something which they hadn't received back home.

Captaining the side was an 18-year-old Carol Wilson, originally from Newcastle, who now lives in Shipdham, near Dereham.

Carol Wilson controls the ball for England at the 1971 Women's World Cup. Picture: Supplied by Carol WilsonCarol Wilson controls the ball for England at the 1971 Women's World Cup. Picture: Supplied by Carol Wilson

She said: "It was quite daunting because it was something men didn't like to happen in those days.

"We had a fantastic reception out there. Supporters threw things at our bus, we thought they were rocks but later found out they were presents.

"We weren't used to this support but when we came back there was just one reporter at the airport."

After qualifying for the tournament in Sicily, England went on to finish sixth and Carol Wilson remains the youngest ever woman to captain England.

England arrive at the 1971 Women's World Cup. Picture: Supplied by Carol WilsonEngland arrive at the 1971 Women's World Cup. Picture: Supplied by Carol Wilson

It is believed that they still hold the record attendance for the England Women's team, with an estimated 95,000 people watching them take on Mexico.

Carol was spotted by manager Harry Batt when playing five-a-side.

Now aged 67, and working at logistics firm Wincanton, in Watton, she was reunited with her teammates for the first time recently and believes her side deserves to finally be officially recognised by the FA.

She added: "I was invited to a reception, my dad was really proud but I was humiliated. Whenever I answered a question it was turned on its head. I felt ridiculed.

Carol Wilson (left) and the Argentina captain. Picture: Supplied by Carol WilsonCarol Wilson (left) and the Argentina captain. Picture: Supplied by Carol Wilson

"There are two things we want to come out of this. We need to get girls into teams away from their school.

"We also want to be recognised. That's what we deserve.

"Women aren't getting paid the same and we don't get the same airtime. It's moving forward, I just wish it was a bit faster.

"There were England Women's teams before us who need to be recognised. I want to keep fighting,"

England team group: (left-right) Front Row - Jade Moore, Fran Kirby, Nikita Parris, Jordan Nobbs and Toni Duggan. Back Row - Demi Stokes, Lucy Bronze, Millie Bright, Steph Houghton, Siobhan Chamberlain and Jodie Taylor during the FIFA 2019 Women's World Cup qualifying match at Prenton Park, Birkenhead.England team group: (left-right) Front Row - Jade Moore, Fran Kirby, Nikita Parris, Jordan Nobbs and Toni Duggan. Back Row - Demi Stokes, Lucy Bronze, Millie Bright, Steph Houghton, Siobhan Chamberlain and Jodie Taylor during the FIFA 2019 Women's World Cup qualifying match at Prenton Park, Birkenhead.

A petition to officially recognise the 1971 England Women's team can be found at https://www.change.org/p/the-football-association-recognition-from-the-football-association-for-the-england-women-s-1971-world-cup-team

File photo dated 09-06-2019 of England's Nikita Parris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday June 10, 2019. Nikita Parris admits she experienced a bout of File photo dated 09-06-2019 of England's Nikita Parris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday June 10, 2019. Nikita Parris admits she experienced a bout of "butterflies" for the first time ahead of her goalscoring World Cup debut. The forward put England ahead in the 14th minute of Sunday's 2-1 Group D win over Scotland in Nice, confidently converting a penalty awarded following a VAR review. See PA story SOCCER England Women. Photo credit should read John Walton/PA Wire.

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