England Women

Lionesses header 2

A Brief History of the Women’s Game

Women’s football in England has been through huge contrasting extremes; from being very popular in the early twentieth century to falling into near oblivion following the World War. It faced jealous scaremongering, sexism, ridicule and a ban with little or no help from the Football Association for many decades. With the game at its peak, in the 1920s the FA prohibited all women’s teams from playing on their affiliated grounds citing football as “quite unsuitable” for the female body. Teams were forced into disbanding at a time when they were pulling in crowds as big as the top men’s sides. The consequences were felt for pretty much seventy years as the game struggled to recovere. Without the FA’s backing, they had to create their own structures as, firstly, The English Ladies’ Football Association then, in 1969, The Women’s Football Association tried to resurrect the game. A national team and a League existed but was largely volunteer based and received no television exposure. Contrast this to the men’s game when national and regional highlights were booming on both BBC and ITV following England’s 1966 World Cup victory. UEFA stepped in to try to remove some of the FA’s restrictions on the women’s game; a national Cup was formed in 1970 – now known as the Women’s FA Cup – and slow progress was underway to get the sport on its feet again. On a couple of occasions, brief highlights of the Final were shown during the men’s equivalent on BBC Cup Final Grandstand in 1976 and 1977 but seemingly that was it. Under the stewardship of the WFA, the England Women’s team played their first ever official international fixture; winning three-two against Scotland in November 1972 (pictured below, footage from Associated Press), exactly a century after the first men’s international. A handful of international friendlies were played in each subsequent year across Europe before UEFA began their first formal tournament in 1984; the European Competition for Women’s Football. Although this received no televison coverage in this country, England actually reached the two-legged Final and only lost to Sweden on penalties.

England Women v Scotland Women 1972

Britain’s second commercial broadcaster, Channel 4, launched in 1982 with a remit of providing alternative programming with a focus on minority groups.  Eventually this moved round to getting in on the football act with highlights of the Women’s FA Cup Finals broadcast on their service between 1989 and 1993. At the same time the men’s game was about to embark on a meteoric rise which changed the face of the sport forever, with the launch of Sky Sports and the Premier League. In 1991 the Women’s National League was formed, which would go on to become the Women’s Premier League under the FA’s guidance the following season, as the assocation finally got back on board and formally lifted their ban. With their support and resource the women’s game would make huge strides throughout the 1990s both domestically and internationally. In 1995 the England side reached the Quarter Finals of the Women’s World Cup and gained national exposure on the BBC, albeit through brief late-night highlights after the men’s matches. Sky added Live Women’s FA Cup Finals and England internationals to their ever-growing portfolio of football from 1994, beaming domestic fixtures direct to living rooms for the first time. By the dawn of the new Millennium research figures from the FA told of close to a quarter of a million women were playing football in the UK, compared to just seven thousand a decade earlier. The sport was on the up and benefitted further in 2002 when the BBC began broadcasting the Women’s FA Cup Final Live on free-to-air television. The showpiece event remained with the Beeb until 2009 where ITV took over, before ending back up where it began on Sky in 2010 for a further three seasons. As of 2013 the FA Cup Final was back Live on the BBC again with Wembley hosting from 2015 (pictured below), marking a new era for the domestic game.

WFAC 2015 Final

At international level, after reaching the Final in the inaugural European competition in 1984, subsequent UEFA tournament appearances in 1987 and 1995 didn’t bring too much joy and zero media exposure for England. The competition didn’t really find its feet until the 2001 event when it expanded from four to eight teams and was held centrally over the course of a few weeks instead of sporadically across the season for the first time. England didn’t win a match but were given the honour of hosting it four years later. Euro 2005 was a landmark event in the coverage of the competition in the UK, as host broadcaster British Eurosport showed every match Live whilst the BBC brought England’s matches Live to a terrestrial audience for the first time. They also showed the Final along with nightly highlights programmes. The men had enjoyed this sort of coverage for decades but this demonstrated a huge leap forward for the Women’s Euros, even if the hosts didn’t fare too well. England improved dramatically on the international stage over the next decade, reaching Quarter Finals of World Cups and the Final of Euro 2009. BBC output concentrated largely on England’s matches during this period, with mixed reviews of the coverage. Whilst the Lionesses were roaring, the FA were keen to capitalise and expand. 2011 saw the rebranding of the top flight – the FA Women’s Super League. Prior to this restructuring, League fixtures had never been shown Live on television. Satellite broadcaster ESPN covered six to ten Live matches each season before they were consumed by BT Sport two years later, who continued to grow the sport on their screens. The 2012 Olympics in London provided another huge platform for women’s football at Team GB competed for the first time. Hope Powell’s side beat Brazil at Wembley (pictured below) in front of 70,000 to reach the Quarter Finals, where Canada ended the dream. With a side made up of mostly England players pulling in the crowds, it was clear there was a real apetite for the women’s game in this country. The BBC comprehensively covered the 2015 Women’s World Cup, with all games available across their digital platforms. As England won Bronze in Canada, television audiences stayed up late in big numbers to cheers them on. This set the blueprint for future tournaments to come, with proper coverage of the whole thing instead of just selected tidbits and ad-hoc deals. By 2018 the WSL expanded to a fully professional top-flight for the first time, supported by a fledgling second tier Championship. Live games were available every matchweek as well as regular magazine programmes and national media coverage. The women’s game worked extremely hard to get to that point and television, eventually, played a big role in pushing it to the next level.

GB Brazil 2012

Here, I start by looking at the television coverage of the Lionesses adventures at the FIFA Women’s World Cups below, before going on to chart their appearances at the Women’s European Championships underneath, which you can be transported to now by clicking this link.


Womens World CupENGLAND AT THE WOMEN’S WORLD CUP

The Women’s World Cup began in earnest in November 1991, with a twelve team ‘World Championships for Women’s Football’ taking place in China. Every four years subsequently, the more familiar ‘FIFA World Cup’ term has been in use as the tournament continually went from strength to strength. England first qualified for the Finals in 1995, when media coverage in this country was extremely limited. As the 1990s went on, Live coverage was limited to occasional internationals and FA Cup Finals before the expansion of sports broadcasters in the 21st Century catapulted the game to another level. After a twelve year absence from the competition, England qualified for the 2007 World Cup, gaining national interest. The game continued to grow and by 2011 a rebranded top League was launched, qualifying for the biggest prize in football became the norm for the Lionesses and the broadcasters treated it as the spectacle it was. First I take a look at the coverage of England’s World Cup appearances beginning with that 1995 event. It starts here!

 

Image result for 1995 women's world cup

SWEDEN 1995

BBC SportThere was no Live UK terrestrial coverage of the 1995 Women’s World Cup, the BBC did show brief highlights of all three group matches. This was under the banner International Match of the Day introduced by Tony Gubba. These went out on the same night as each group match, in the same programme as men’s international highlights from the Umbro Cup in England. Previews and round-ups were also shown during the regular Grandstand broadcasts. Additionally, the Final had its own dedicated forty minute highlights programme in the early hours of Monday morning (19th June). Hazel Irvine introduced with commentary by Clive Tyldesley. John Helm voiced highlights of the tournament for FIFA/Host Broadcaster.

Group B; Tuesday 6th June
ENGLAND 3-2 Canada, 6pm BST

Thursday 8th June
ENGLAND 0-2 Norway, 6pm BST

Saturday 10th June
ENGLAND 3-2 Nigeria, 3pm BST

KNOCKOUT STAGES – QUARTER FINALS
Tuesday 13th June
ENGLAND 0-3 Germany, 7.15pm BST

WWC 1995

Red England crestENGLAND SQUAD Manager; Ted Copeland
Goalkeepers; Pauline Cope, Lesley Higgs
Defenders; Tina Mapes, Samantha Burton, Clare Taylor, Brenda Sempare, Donna Smith, Louise Walker, Mary Phillip, Julie Fletcher
Midfielders; Hope Powell, Gillian Coultard, Debbie Bampton (C), Karen Burke, Kerry Davis, Sian Williams, Becky Easton
Forwards; Karen Farley, Karen Walker, Marieanne Spacey


2007 FIFA Women's World Cup.svg

CHINA 2007

England qualified for their first World Cup in twelve years. The tournament increased from twelve teams back then to sixteen teams in 1999, with that format continuing in China. Taking place later on in the year, September instead of the usual summer berth, the focus was competing for attention with the men’s matches, now in full swing domestically. For UK audiences, kick off times were in the middle of the afternoon. Rights holder BBC afforded Live coverage and studio presentation to the England matches as well as the Semis and Final. The rest of the tournament was rounded up in nightly highlights programmes on BBC Two. Gabby Logan fronted proceedings, a New Year signing from ITV. Hosted from the usual Match of the Day studio in London she was joined by regular pundits Gavin Peacock and Karen Walker, whilst Guy Mowbray was the main commentator alongside Leeds United Ladies forward Lucy Ward. Rising BBC Sport star Jake Humphrey reported from the England camp in the Far East in his first major football tournament having previously been a part of the 2006 Commenwealth Games and stood in on magazine programmes. England’s campaign reached the Quarter Finals once again before bowing out to eventual bronze medalists the United States. The tournament began to make England’s players more familiar in the public conscience for the first real time, having previously only had sporadic Live appearances on free-to-air television for club and country.

Group A; Tuesday 11th September
bbc twoENGLAND 2-2 Japan, 1pm – 12.45pm-3pm
Gabby Logan in the studio in London with Gavin Peacock & Karen Walker. Commentary by Guy Mowbray & Lucy Ward. Jake Humphrey reported

Friday 14th September
bbc twoGermany 0-0 ENGLAND, 1pm – 12.45pm-3pm
Gabby Logan in the studio with Gavin Peacock & Karen Walker. Commentary by Guy Mowbray & Lucy Ward. Jake Humphrey reported

Monday 17th September
bbc twoENGLAND 6-1 Argentina, 1pm – 12.50pm-3.15pm
Gabby Logan in the studio with Gavin Peacock & Karen Walker. Commentary by Guy Mowbray & Lucy Ward. Jake Humphrey reported

KNOCKOUT STAGES – QUARTER FINALS
Saturday 22nd September
LIVE on BBC OneENGLAND 0-3 USA, 1pm – 12.45pm-3pm
Gabby Logan in the studio with Gavin Peacock & Karen Walker. Commentary by Guy Mowbray & Lucy Ward. Jake Humphrey reported

WWC titles 2007     WWC 2007 graphics

Red England crestENGLAND SQUAD Manager; Hope Powell
Goalkeepers;
 Rachel Brown, Siobhan Chamberlain, Carly Telford
Defenders; Alex Scott, Faye White (C), Casey Stoney, Mary Phillip, Rachel Unitt, Anita Asante, Lindsay Johnson
Midfielders; Karen Carney, Katie Chapman, Fara Williams, Jill Scott, Rachel Yankey, Sue Smith, Vicky Exley
Forwards; Kelly Smith, Eni Aluko, Jody Handley, Lianne Sanderson


2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.svg

GERMANY 2011

Having enjoyed decent exposure in 2007, the subsequent 2009 Euros and the 2011 World Cup were a backwards step in terms of terrestrial coverage. At a time when the England national team was ever improving, reaching the 2009 Final and climbing to tenth in the world rankings, and a first professional League was established in April 2011 – the FA Women’s Super League – the BBC put minimal effort into building the fanbase at tournaments. The three England group games were shown Live on the Red Button with highlights on BBC Two late night. British Eurosport did show the majority of the tournament Live on satellite, as they had done regularly over the years, but it’s the free platform of the BBC which was required to gain national interest. The coverage on the Red Button did receive the studio treatment in London, again fronted by Gabby Logan alongside former internationals Jo Potter and Sue Smith as well as BBC Sport’s Martin Keown. Over in Germany they sent a small team of commentator Guy Mowbray, co-commentator Lucy Ward and reporter Alistair Magowan (not the impressionist but a BBC journalist who provided reports on the tournament across TV and online). Nigel Adderley also contributed to coverage, reporting for radio and interviews with the England squad for television build up and highlights. When England reached the knockout stage, a third World Cup Quarter Final in as many appearances, there was increased interest and clamour from the public for the match to be shown on a main channel. Eventually the France clash was promoted from the Red Button to BBC Two, only for the Lionesses to lost on penalties. The mistakes made by the Beeb over the past couple of tournaments were clearly noted and coverage was improved upon for subsequent years. Outside of their coverage of England, the Final was broadcast Live on BBC Three with the same core team.

Group B; Monday 27th June
LIVE via Red ButtonENGLAND 1-1 Mexico, 5pm – 4.45pm-7pm
Gabby Logan in the studio in London with Jo Potter & Sue Smith. Commentary by Guy Mowbray & Lucy Ward. Alistair Magowan reported

Friday 1st July
LIVE via Red ButtonENGLAND 2-1 New Zealand, 5.15pm – 5pm-7.15pm
Gabby Logan in the studio with Jo Potter & Martin Keown. Commentary by Guy Mowbray & Lucy Ward. Alistair Magowan reported

Tuesday 5th July
LIVE via Red ButtonENGLAND 2-0 Japan, 5.15pm – 5pm-7.15pm
Gabby Logan in the studio with Jo Potter & Martin Keown. Commentary by Guy Mowbray & Lucy Ward. Alistair Magowan reported

KNOCKOUT STAGES – QUARTER FINALS
Saturday 9th July
bbc twoENGLAND 1-1 France (AET, 3-4 on penalties), 5pm – 4.50pm-7.10pm [Extended to 7.45pm]
Gabby Logan in the studio with Jo Potter, Sue Smith & Martin Keown. Commentary by Guy Mowbray & Lucy Ward. Alistair Magowan reported

WWC 2011 graphics

Red England crestENGLAND SQUAD Manager; Hope Powell
Goalkeepers;
Karen Bardsley, Rachel Brown, Siobhan Chamberlain
Defenders; Alex Scott, Rachel Unitt, Faye White (C), Casey Stoney, Laura Bassett, Sophie Bradley, Steph Houghton, Claire Rafferty, Dunia Susi
Midfielders; Jess Clarke, Fara Williams, Jill Scott, Rachel Yankey, Anita Asante
Forwards; Ellen White, Kelly Smith, Karen Carney, Eni Aluko


Tournament logo

CANADA 2015

The 2015 tournament was once again covered by the BBC, who elected to broadcast a large proportion of the matches in the expanded 24 team tournament Live. Jacqui Oatley anchored proceedings from the BBC’s sport studios in Salford. The time difference with Canada made for a lot of late nights and UK-unfriendly kick off times, particularly as the tournament progressed. Prime time England matches were shown on BBC Three whilst early evening and late night kick offs were bumped up to the main channels. Tina Daheley was the bridge between the studio and the stadium, interviewing players and managers as well as appearing in-vision to provide some of the atmosphere. In the commentary box the established pair of previous years – Guy Mowbray and Lucy Ward – were replaced by a new lead of Jonathan Pearce and Sue Smith, the latter moving from the studio to the gantry. Ward was still a key part of the coverage, pairing up with regular WSL partner on BT Sport Steve Bower for the secondary matches. Due to England’s progress all the way to the Semi Finals, the coverage and tournament gathered more interest in the UK as it went on and would provide an immediate bump in attention that the Women’s game received in this country in the weeks and months afterwards.

Group F; Tuesday 9th June
bbc twoENGLAND 0-1 France, 6pm – 5.30-8pm
Jacqui Oatley in the studio in Salford with Rachel Yankey, Natasha Dowie & Danny Mills. Commentary by Jonathan Pearce & Sue Smith. Tina Daheley reported

Saturday 13th June
LIVE on BBC ThreeENGLAND 2-1 Mexico, 9pm – 8.30-10.55pm
Jacqui Oatley in the studio with Natasha Dowie, Rachel Yankey & Trevor Sinclair. Commentary by Jonathan Pearce & Sue Smith. Tina Daheley reported

Wednesday 17th June
LIVE on BBC ThreeENGLAND 2-1 Colombia, 9pm – 8.30-10.55pm
Jacqui Oatley in the studio with Rachel Yankey, Natasha Dowie & Trevor Sinclair. Commentary by Jonathan Pearce & Sue Smith. Tina Daheley reported

KNOCKOUT STAGES – LAST 16
Monday 22nd June
LIVE on BBC ThreeENGLAND 2-1 Norway, 10pm – 9.30pm-12.15am
Jacqui Oatley in the studio with Natasha Dowie, Rachel Yankey & Trevor Sinclair. Commentary by Jonathan Pearce & Sue Smith. Tina Daheley reported

QUARTER FINALS
Saturday 27th June
LIVE on BBC OneCanada 1-2 ENGLAND, 12.30am – 12.05-2.35am
Jacqui Oatley in the studio with Rachel Yankey, Rachel Brown-Finnis & Trevor Sinclair. Commentary by Jonathan Pearce & Sue Smith. Tina Daheley reported

SEMI FINALS
Wednesday 1st July
LIVE on BBC OneENGLAND 1-2 Japan, 12am – 11.10pm-2.05am
Jacqui Oatley in the studio with Natasha Dowie, Rachel Yankey & Trevor Sinclair. Pitchside; reporter Tina Daheley with Faye White. Commentary by Jonathan Pearce & Sue Smith

THIRD PLACE PLAY OFF
Saturday 4th July
LIVE on BBC ThreeENGLAND 0-0 Germany (1-0 AET), 9pm – 8.30-11pm [Extended to 11.30pm]
Jacqui Oatley in the studio with Rachel Yankey & Lindsay Johnson. Pitchside; reporter Tina Daheley with Faye White. Commentary by Steve Bower & Lucy Ward

WWC 2015 titles

 

Red England crestENGLAND SQUAD Manager; Mark Sampson
Goalkeepers;
Karen Bardsley, Carly Telford, Siobhan Chamberlain
Defenders; Alex Scott, Claire Rafferty, Steph Houghton (C), Laura Bassett, Lucy Bronze, Casey Stoney, Alex Greenwood
Midfielders; Fara Williams, Jordan Nobbs, Jill Scott, Karen Carney, Jade Moore, Katie Chapman, Jo Potter
Forwards; Eni Aluko, Toni Duggan, Jodie Taylor, Lianne Sanderson, Fran Kirby, Ellen White

 

BBC-SportBBC SQUAD
Presenter; Jacqui Oatley
Pundits; Rachel Yankey, Natasha Dowie, Rachel Brown-Finnis, Faye White, Trevor Sinclair, Danny Mills
Commentators; Jonathan Pearce, Steve Bower, Nigel Adderley, Sue Smith, Lucy Ward, Gilly Flaherty
Reporters; Tina Daheley, Eilidh Barbour


2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.svg

FRANCE 2019

The BBC covered every single match from the Women’s World Cup Live, with 50 out of 52 on television in 2019, and the other two clashing matches available online. England games and selected high profile matches were on BBC One, with many others on BBC’s Two and Four. The remainders were on the Red Button, all in all making it the most watched women’s football competition the UK has ever seen. Record peak viewing figures were achieved firstly in the England v Scotland match (6.1 million) followed by further highs in the knockout rounds; last 16 against Cameroon (6.9 million) and Quarter Final against Norway (7.64 million). The highest rated women’s football match ever to date was achieved in the Semi Final though when a peak audience of 11.7 million viewers saw England versus USA; almost trebling the previous tournament high. With two home nations qualifying, and in the same group, the BBC utilised a three person commentary team for the head-to-head match; a co-commentator representing each nation alongside lead voice Jonathan Pearce, who covered his second Women’s World Cup for the corporation. Gabby Logan once again led the studio coverage, which was all presented from the grounds for the first time. Red Button and certain other matches did not receive presentation and were handled out-of-vision by the commentary team. It was also the first time VAR was used in the tournament. The consequence was lots of controversial decisions with inexperienced referees and a plethora of delays and added on time causing some issues with the run times.

Group D; Sunday 9th June
LIVE on BBC OneENGLAND 2-1 Scotland, 5pm – 4.30pm-7.10pm
Gabby Logan in the stadium with Alex Scott, Gemma Fay & Hope Solo. Commentary by Jonathan Pearce, Sue Smith & Scott Booth. Jo Currie & Kelly Somers reported with fan interviews by Chelcee Grimes

Friday 14th June
LIVE on BBC OneENGLAND 1-0 Argentina, 8pm – 7.30pm-10.05pm
Gabby Logan in the stadium with Alex Scott, Jordan Nobbs & Dion Dublin. Commentary by Jonathan Pearce & Sue Smith. Jo Currie reported

Wednesday 19th June
LIVE on BBC OneENGLAND 2-0 Japan, 8pm – 7.30pm-10.05pm
Gabby Logan in the stadium with Alex Scott, Jordan Nobbs & Dion Dublin. Commentary by Jonathan Pearce & Sue Smith. Jo Currie reported

KNOCKOUT STAGES – LAST 16
Sunday 23rd June
LIVE on BBC OneENGLAND 3-0 Cameroon, 4.30pm – 4-6.35pm [Overran until 6.45pm]
Gabby Logan in the stadium with Alex Scott, Jordan Nobbs & Dion Dublin. Commentary by Jonathan Pearce & Sue Smith. Jo Currie reported

QUARTER FINALS
Thursday 27th June
LIVE on BBC OneENGLAND 3-0 Norway, 8pm – 7.30-10.10pm
Gabby Logan in the stadium with Alex Scott, Jordan Nobbs & Dion Dublin. Commentary by Jonathan Pearce & Sue Smith. Jo Currie reported with fan interviews by Chelcee Grimes

SEMI FINALS
Tuesday 2nd July
LIVE on BBC OneENGLAND 1-2 USA, 8pm – 7.30-10.15pm
Gabby Logan in the stadium with Alex Scott, Jordan Nobbs & Hope Solo. Pitchside; Eilidh Barbour with Dion Dublin. Commentary by Jonathan Pearce & Sue Smith. Jo Currie reported

THIRD PLACE PLAY OFF
Saturday 6th July
LIVE on BBC OneENGLAND 1-2 Sweden, 4pm – 3.45-6.10pm
Eilidh Barbour presented, from Lyon’s stadium ahead of the Final, with Alex Scott & Dion Dublin. Commentary by Robyn Cowen & Lucy Ward. Jo Currie reported

WWC 2019 titles WWC 2019 Graphics WWC 2019 Studio

 

Red England crestENGLAND SQUAD Manager; Phil Neville
Goalkeepers; Karen Bardsley, Carly Telford, Mary Earps
Defenders; Lucy Bronze, Alex Greenwood, Steph Houghton (C), Millie Bright, Demi Stokes, Leah Williamson, Abbie McManus, Rachel Daly
Midfielders; Keira Walsh, Jill Scott, Jade Moore, Georgia Stanway, Karen Carney, Lucy Staniforth
Forwards; Nikita Parris, Jodie Taylor, Fran Kirby, Toni Duggan, Ellen White, Beth Mead

 

BBC SQUADBBC-Sport
Presenters;
 Gabby Logan, Eilidh Barbour, Reshmin Chowdhury
Pundits; Alex Scott, Hope Solo, Dion Dublin, Gemma Fay, Jordan Nobbs, Laura Bassett, Casey Stoney, Rachel Brown-Finnis, Claire Rafferty
Commentators; Jonathan Pearce, Robyn Cowen, Mark Scott, Sue Smith, Scott Booth, Lucy Ward, Faye White
Reporters; Jo Currie (England), Kelly Somers (Scotland), Chelcee Grimes (roving)


 




Euros


Womens EurosENGLAND AT THE WOMEN’S EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Whilst FIFA got on board with an official Women’s World Cup in 1991 and never looked back, the history of the European game is slightly more complicated and unofficial. England Women played in a number of European tournaments before the structure became known as the familiar Euro Championships that came about in the 21st Century. A European Competition for Women’s Football existed as far back as 1969 but it was irregular and not governed by UEFA. England were one of four teams that played twice over the space of as many days in Italy. England lost four-three to Denmark in the Semi Final before defeating France the next day to take Third Place. However it would be ten years before a further competiton took place. Interest in these games was low, attendances were small and television coverage was zero. To garner any hopes of future media exposure, they needed UEFA on board, England to progress on the field and an attitude shift across the country. We pick up the next chapter in 1979. It starts here!

 

EARLY DAYS & UNOFFICIAL TOURNAMENTS

All tournaments prior to the 1991 Women’s Championship were not under the jurisdiction of governing body UEFA and are therefore not deemed as ‘official’ European tournaments. The unofficial cup in 1979 actually had twelve participants spread across twelve days, like it’s debut predecessor in 1969 it was hosted in Italy. England won both their group matches, against Finland three-one and Switzerland two-nil, to top the table and progress to the Semis where the hosts awaited. Italy won that three-one. England then lost to Sweden on penalties in the Third Place Play Off. In 1984 and 1987 England reached the Finals stage of these unofficial games but still no terrestrial television coverage of these matches came about, with interest still at a relatively low level internationally. The domestic game was making huge strides but it wasn’t until 2002 when the BBC televised the Women’s FA Cup Final Live for the first time that things very slowly began to change in the media perception. The early tournaments in 1984 and 1987 – known as the European Competition for Women’s Football only featured four teams and weren’t hosted in a central location. Instead, these competitions were hosted by several cities and indeed several countries on some occasions. In 1984 England reached the Final and lost out to Sweden in a two-legged home and away tie on a penalty shoot-out after both legs ended one-nil to the home side. Luton’s Kenilworth Road was the English venue. To reach that stage, England defeated Denmark home (at Crewe’s Gresty Road) and away with an aggregate score of three-one. In 1987 it was Sweden again who scuppered the English bid, defeating us in the Semi Final in Extra Time. That match took place in Norway. When UEFA did take control of the tournaments from 1991 onwards, they also served as the qualification route for the next FIFA World Cup, still featuring four teams in the Finals. When England next made the UEFA Women’s Championship, as it was known, in 1995 they lost home (Vicarage Road, Watford) and away to eventual champions Germany, with an aggregate score of six-two. It expanded from four to eight teams for the following Euros in 1997 but England weren’t back until the one after that, in 2001. The qualified teams were split into two groups of four with the top two teams progressing to the Semis. England drew their opening match with Russia one-all before bowing out of the competition hosted in Germany, losing four-nil to those pesky Swedes and three-nil to the hosts. Despite this lack of success in Europe, the English FA successfully bid for the staging of the 2005 UEFA Women’s Championship. This would be the first in this country to receive full Live television treatment on terrestrial as well as satellite. It’s from this point that we pick up the England coverage.


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ENGLAND 2005

The UEFA Women’s Championship of 2005 saw eight European teams descend on England’s North West for two weeks of football. Eurosport were the designated host broadcasters and covered every match Live across British Eurosport 1 and 2. Matches were filmed and broadcast in 4×3 which was unusual for the era. Also unusual was studio presentation for the channel, which for other competitions would usually begin coverage a couple of minutes before the kick off and leave straight after. ITV Sport host Matt Smith anchored their coverage from the studio alongside guests from the world of both men’s and women’s football as well as journalists. The BBC brought the game to a Live terrestrial audience, continuing on from their Women’s FA Cup Final broadcasts. This was the first women’s international tournament to be shown Live on free to air television, with all three England matches plus the Final on BBC Two. On days where there wasn’t a Live match, BBC Two broadcast a highlights programme to round things up. Celina Hinchcliffe hosted with England internationals Karen Walker and Sue Smith as well as new BBC recruit Gavin Peacock. Steve Wilson was the regular women’s commentator for the Beeb, joined by ex-striker Marieanne Spacey. Matches were played at Ewood Park, City of Manchester Stadium, Deepdale, Bloomfield Road and Warrington rugby’s Halliwell Jones stadium. Despite England not faring too well at the tournament, this would be the catalyst to a sharp increase in interest in women’s football and was a milestone moment for Live coverage of the game in this country.

Group A; Sunday 5th June
BBC Two 2001ENGLAND 3-2 Finland, 7pm – 6.45-9pm
Celina Hinchcliffe with Karen Walker, Sue Smith & Gavin Peacock. Commentary by Steve Wilson & Marieanne Spacey. Rebecca Lowe reported

Wednesday 8th June
BBC Two 2001ENGLAND 1-2 Denmark, 6pm – 5.45-8pm
Celina Hinchcliffe with Karen Walker, Sue Smith & Gavin Peacock. Commentary by Steve Wilson & Marieanne Spacey. Rebecca Lowe reported

Saturday 11th June
BBC Two 2001ENGLAND 0-1 Sweden, 6pm – 5.45-8.25pm
Celina Hinchcliffe with Karen Walker, Sue Smith & Gavin Peacock. Commentary by Steve Wilson & Marieanne Spacey. Rebecca Lowe reported

Red England crestENGLAND SQUAD Manager; Hope Powell
Goalkeepers; Jo Fletcher, Rachel Brown, Leanne Hall
Defenders; Alex Scott, Rachel Unitt, Faye White (C), Mary Phillip, Casey Stoney, Lindsay Johnson
Midfielders; Katie Chapman, Fara Williams, Emily Westwood, Karen Carney, Vicky Exley, Anita Asante
Forwards; Jody Handley, Amanda Barr, Rachel Yankey, Kelly Smith, Eni Aluko

 

England 2005 scorebar Womens Euro 2005 Replays

Womens Euro 2005 Smith Womens Euro 2005 Graphics Womens Euro 2005 Studio

BBC SQUADRelated image
Presenter;
 Celina Hinchcliffe
Pundits; Karen Walker, Sue Smith, Gavin Peacock
Commentators; Steve Wilson, Guy Mowbray, John Murray, Marieanne Spacey
Reporters; Rebecca Lowe, Juliette Ferrington

BRITISH EUROSPORT SQUADImage result for BRITISH eurosport logo
Presenter;
Matt Smith
Pundits; Julie Fleeting, Lucy Ward, Paula Cocozza, Julie Chipchase, Paul Elliott, Tony Dorigo
Commentators; Dave Farrar, Dan O’Hagan, Angus Loughran, Jen O’Neill, Marcus Bignot, Becky Easton
Reporters; Carrie Brown, Andy Botros


UEFAWomensEuro2009.png

FINLAND 2009

The old, clunky name of the UEFA Women’s Championship was ditched in favour of the more easy to brand UEFA Women’s Euros from the 2009 version onwards. There was also an expansion from eight teams to twelve. Despite making great strides on the international stage since the last Euros in 2005, England received very little media attention when the 2009 tournament in Finland came around. Scheduling didn’t help that a lot of the matches were mid afternoon UK time and the men’s season was well underway, with the staging of this Championships taking place at the end of August. England also went into the tournament having qualified unbeaten ahead of the likes of Spain and Czech Republic. As a result the tournament was only covered Live by British Eurosport, who very rarely provide studio coverage for any sport they cover unless they are the host broadcaster. England’s matches received the same treatment as all the others, coming on-air around five minutes before the kick off for the national anthems, then coming off-air straight after the final whistle. Half-time was handled out of vision by the commentary team, which was Wayne Boyce, Tim Caple and former player turned journalist Jen O’Neill. It was only when England reached the Final of the tournament, knocking out hosts Finland along the way, that any sort of national interest was garnered. At this point, the BBC struck a last minute deal to broadcast the Final Live on BBC Two on the Thursday afternoon. Regular women’s football commentary pairing Guy Mowbray and Lucy Ward took the mic, whilst Gabby Logan anchored proceedings from London. Alas it was not to be for the Lionesses but never again would they be afforded such shabby television coverage at a major tournament.

Group C; Tuesday 25th August
Related imageENGLAND 1-2 Italy, 3.30pm – 3.25-5.30pm
No presentation. Commentary by Wayne Boyce & Jen O’Neill

Friday 28th August
Related imageENGLAND 3-2 Russia, 6pm – 5.55-8pm
No presentation. Commentary by Wayne Boyce & Jen O’Neill

Monday 31st August
Related imageENGLAND 1-1 Sweden, 5pm – 4.55-7pm
No presentation. Commentary by Tim Caple & Jen O’Neill

KNOCKOUT STAGES – QUARTER FINALS
Thursday 3rd September
Related imageFinland 2-3 ENGLAND, 2pm – 1.55-4pm
No presentation. Commentary by Tim Caple & Jen O’Neill

SEMI FINALS
Sunday 6th September
Related imageENGLAND 1-1 Netherlands (2-1 AET), 5pm – 4.55-7.30pm
No presentation. Commentary by Wayne Boyce & Jen O’Neill

THE FINAL
Thursday 10th September
Related imageENGLAND 2-6 Germany, 5pm – 4.40-7pm
No presentation. Commentary by Wayne Boyce & Jen O’Neill. Eurosport Germany’s Hans Finger reported

THE FINAL
Thursday 10th September
bbc twoENGLAND 2-6 Germany, 5pm – 4.45-7.15pm
Gabby Logan in the studio in London with Jo Potter, Rachel Yankey & Martin Keown. Commentary by Guy Mowbray & Lucy Ward

WEC 2009 Eurosport International

Red England crestENGLAND SQUAD Manager; Hope Powell
Goalkeepers; Rachel Brown, Siobhan Chamberlain, Karen Bardsley
Defenders; Alex Scott, Casey Stoney, Faye White (C), Lindsay Johnson, Rachel Unitt, Laura Bassett
Midfielders; Jill Scott, Anita Asante, Fara Williams, Katie Chapman, Jess Clarke, Karen Carney, Emily Westwood, Dani Buet
Forwards; Eni Aluko, Ellen White, Kelly Smith, Sue Smith, Jody Handley, Lianne Sanderson

 


UEFA Women's Euro 2013 logo.jpg

SWEDEN 2013

Following the terrible coverage from 2009, Euro 2013 was afforded expanded Live coverage on the BBC. They showed roughly one match per day Live and the rest in highlight form. All England matches plus the semis and Final were Live on BBC Two and Three. Jacqui Oatley presented coverage from the Salford studio with a small core punditry team of Sue Smith, Michael Gray and Faye White. In the commentary box were number one duo Guy Mowbray and Lucy Ward, covering the main games. Whilst Steve Bower and Sue Smith were voiced the secondary matches. Over in Sweden were reporters Sally Nugent & Tina Daheley. Eurosport also covered the whole tournament Live.

Group C; Friday 12th July
LIVE on BBC ThreeENGLAND 2-3 Spain, 7.30pm – 7-9.30pm
Jacqui Oatley in the studio in Salford with Sue Smith, Michael Gray & Faye White. Commentary by Guy Mowbray & Lucy Ward. Sally Nugent reported

Monday 15th July
bbc twoENGLAND 1-1 Russia, 5pm – 4.30-7pm
Jacqui Oatley in the studio with Sue Smith, Michael Gray & Faye White. Commentary by Guy Mowbray & Lucy Ward. Sally Nugent reported

Thursday 18th July
LIVE on BBC ThreeENGLAND 0-3 France, 7.30pm – 7-10pm
Jacqui Oatley in the studio with Sue Smith, Michael Gray & Faye White. Commentary by Guy Mowbray & Lucy Ward. Sally Nugent reported

WEC 2013 Promo WEC 2013 Graphics WEC 2013 Comms

Red England crestENGLAND SQUAD Manager; Hope Powell
Goalkeepers; Karen Bardsley, Rachel Brown, Siobhan Chamberlain
Defenders; Alex Scott, Steph Houghton, Sophie Bradley, Casey Stoney (C), Laura Bassett, Dunia Susi, Gemma Bonner, Lucy Bronze
Midfielders; Jill Scott, Anita Asante, Fara Williams, Rachel Yankey, Jess Clarke, Karen Carney, Jordan Nobbs, Jade Moore
Forwards; Eni Aluko, Ellen White, Toni Duggan, Kelly Smith

 


UEFA Women's Euro 2017 logo.svg

NETHERLANDS 2017

UEFA expanded the Euros again for this tournament from twelve teams previously up to sixteen. In a surprise move, and to capitalise on the surge of women’s football, Channel 4 returned to the market with Live and exclusive coverage of Euro 2017. This was Four’s first foray into Live football since their acclaimed Football Italia broadcasts ended fifteen years earlier. The presentation team was headed by Clare Balding, making her football debut, whilst pundits were borrowed from both the men’s and women’s games as the likes of Ian Wright and Michael Owen stood alongside former England stars Eni Aluko and Kelly Smith. Commentary came from BT’s WSL pairing Steve Bower and Lucy Ward. The main channel broadcast England Live as well as the Final all direct from the stadiums in the Netherlands. Scotland and higher profile others were on digital channel More4 whilst the rest were available Live on the Channel 4 website and catch-up service All4 with world feed commentaries. The interest increased throughout the tournament as the Lionesses progressed. England group matches peaked all at around 2 million viewers, rising to 3.3 million for the Quarter Final and 3.96m for the Semi Final heartbreak. Eurosport also had every game Live as is now the norm.

Group D; Wednesday 19th July
Channel 4 2015-ENGLAND 6-0 Scotland, 7.45pm – 7pm-10pm
Clare Balding pitchside with Eni Aluko, Michael Owen & Kim Little. Gantry; Lee McKenzie with Heather O’Reilly. Commentary by Steve Bower, Lucy Ward & Scott Booth. Sam Quek reported

Sunday 23rd July
Channel 4 2015-ENGLAND 2-0 Spain, 7.45pm – 7.30pm-10pm
Clare Balding pitchside with Eni Aluko, Ian Wright & Heather O’Reilly. Commentary by Steve Bower & Lucy Ward. Reporter Sam Quek joined by Kim Little on the gantry

Thursday 27th July
Channel 4 2015-ENGLAND 2-1 Portugal, 7.45pm – 7.30pm-10pm
Clare Balding pitchside with Eni Aluko, Jermaine Jenas & Heather O’Reilly. Commentary by Steve Bower & Lucy Ward. Sam Quek reported

KNOCKOUT STAGES – QUARTER FINALS
Sunday 30th July
Channel 4 2015-ENGLAND 1-0 France, 7.45pm – 7.15-10pm
Clare Balding pitchside with Eni Aluko, Kelly Smith & Jermaine Jenas. Commentary by Steve Bower & Lucy Ward. Sam Quek reported

SEMI FINALS
Thursday 3rd August
Channel 4 2015-Netherlands 3-0 ENGLAND, 7.45pm – 7.30-10pm
Clare Balding pitchside with Eni Aluko, Kelly Smith, Jermaine Jenas & Ian Wright. Commentary by Steve Bower & Lucy Ward. Reporter Sam Quek joined by Vera Pauw on the gantry

WEC 2017 Host WEC 2017 Scorebar WEC 2017 Credits

Red England crestENGLAND SQUAD Manager; Mark Sampson
Goalkeepers; Karen Bardsley, Siobhan Chamberlain, Carly Telford
Defenders; Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton (C), Millie Bright, Demi Stokes, Jo Potter, Casey Stoney, Laura Bassett, Alex Greenwood, Alex Scott
Midfielders; Jill Scott, Jordon Nobbs, Isobel Christiansen, Fara Williams, Karen Carney, Jade Moore
Forwards; Jodie Taylor, Toni Duggan, Ellen White, Nikita Parris, Fran Kirby

 

CHANNEL 4 SQUADRelated image
Presenter;
Clare Balding
Pundits; Eni Aluko, Ian Wright, Kim Little, Heather O’Reilly, Michael Owen, Jermaine Jenas, Kelly Smith, Vera Pauw
Commentators; Steve Bower, Robyn Cowen, Lucy Ward, Scott Booth
Reporters; Sam Quek, Lee McKenzie, Kirsteen O’Sullivan


 

Introduction Sources; University of Leicester publication, Wikipedia, New Statesman article, England Lionesses website
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