Football: Lionesses bring pride to Millwall
Monday 05 May 1997
Millwall's anthem of mournful defiance - "No One Likes Us, We Don't Care" - sounded out at Upton Park yesterday. The sentiments were hardly borne out by the facts, however.
By far the majority of the 3,015 spectators who turned up for the Women's FA Cup final were there in support of Millwall Lionesses, who seemed to be very well liked indeed.
As the victors cavorted in joy - a pride of Lionesses indeed - the gruff voices from the back of the stand were joined by the shriller song of the players themselves. "No One Likes Us..." followed by "Let Them All Come Down The Den". It was Millwall golden classics time, a curiously intimate moment of celebration and acceptance.
Among those in the male voice choir was Steve Anderson, a steward at the New Den, who had travelled back from Bury the previous day after seeing Millwall lose 2-0.
"The women are a damn sight better than the men," he said. "They have been challenging for four cups this season. I could be 300 years old before Millwall would manage that."
The match proved something of a triumph for Wembley, even in defeat. They had reached their first FA Cup final with a result of Chesterfield- like proportion in defeating the Premier League leaders Arsenal 1-0 in the semi-final. And their progress had been achieved despite losing six leading players, first and by no means least the England winger Kelly Smith.
Wembley, whose defence was superbly marshalled by Carol Harwood, lacked a forward threat. Despite the efforts of Tracy Koch, a 32-year-old Royal Mail manager, and Naz Ball, a 35-year-old RAF stewardess who has returned from retirement at the age of 35, they never managed a serious threat to the Millwall and England keeper Pauline Cope.
For all that, they held the favourites until the 51st minute of a closely fought, absorbing game when a corner from Justine Lortin was turned in at the near post by Lou Waller, a 27-year-old worker in the Millwall Community Sports project.
Waller, who along with Cope played in Millwall's previous FA Cup win six years ago, had coached many of her teammates, including 14-year-old full back Katie Chapman.
The Millwall manager, Jim Hicks, maintains the hardest thing in women's football is to keep a team together.
"You can't offer any financial incentives," he said. "You just rely on players having loyalty for the club." The immediate risk of Millwall defections seemed low. "My players enjoyed today," Hicks added, "and I think they will continue to enjoy it for the next 24 hours at least."
Goal: Waller (51) 1-0.
Millwall Lionesses (3-5-2): Cope; Walsh, Phillip, K Chapman (Fletcher, 87); Lindsay, Murphy, Waller, Osborn, Lortin; Buckley, Ede (Bedzrah, 88). Substitutes not used: Knowler, Downham, S Chapman.
Wembley (3-2-3-2): Higgs; Hewitson, Harwood, Frampton; Melia, Burns; Darby, Lee (Jones, 85), Calinan (Fidler, 70); Ball, Koch. Substitutes not used: LIran, Lippiatt, Harrell.
Referee: C Wilkes (Gloucester).
Woman of the match: Harwood. Attendance: 3,015.
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
Peter Biaksangzuala died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday
The X Factor's judges colourful outfit was mocked by Simon Cowell
Latest in Sport
'Adel Taarabt is about three stone overweight. I can't pick him' - Harry Redknapp
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
QPR vs Liverpool match report: Liverpool snatch victory in seven late minutes of madness
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce calm over lack of new contract
QPR vs Liverpool player ratings: Who was the star man? And did Mario Balotelli emerge with any credit?
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Lynda Bellingham dead: Loose Women presenter dies after battle with colon cancer
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...