Lionesses aim to keep pride intact

Pete Davies looks at the trials of Millwall's better half

When the Millwall Lionesses won the WFA Cup in 1991, it seemed great things were in store for the distaff side of the Den. Instead, the team broke up; some went to Arsenal, others founded Croydon, and only two senior players remained.

Lou Waller was one; now 27, she is 5ft 3in of midfielder as tenacious as she is slight. "We had to shunt all the teams up," she recalls. "The reserves became the seniors, the juniors became the reserves." For the next few years, Millwall were sending out 14-year-olds - but they stayed together and grew up, and now they are in today's Women's League Cup final against Everton at Barnet.

Many of the squad are still under 20 but, says Waller: "They've got far more experience than most players of that age, and we're getting the rewards for it."

Given the straitened times at Millwall, it is a tribute to their community scheme (and to Waller herself, employed specifically to develop girls' and women's football) that they've made it to another final. As their manager Jim Hicks says: "Any positive news just now, the club's got to use it. We've always felt we were an integral part of things here, so it's nice to have something to show for it."

Whether they get a trophy to show for it depends, of course, on Everton. Formerly Leasowe Pacific, they only became part of the Goodison set-up this season; they have never been in a final before, and on paper Millwall have the edge. The Londoners have had five players in the England squad this season; Pauline Cope is widely acknowledged to be the best goalkeeper in Britain, Waller is a composed anchor at the hub of the team, and the wide midfielder Tina Lindsay has the wit and pace to alarm any defence.

Waller, however, does not underestimate Everton for a minute. "They're well organised, fit and strong, hard to break down, very good on set pieces - and Maureen Marley at centre-half's a good athlete."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific