"It cost us quite a bit to play for our country" - Carol Thomas on how women's football has changed


For the first time in 37 years, ITV will broadcast an England women's international.

The last time that happened, it was European Championship final between England and Sweden and England's captain that day was Carol Thomas from Hull. Today England's women footballers are well known personalities, they're popular and they're fully professional.

But that wasn't the case when Carol was England captain.

"If I had to go down to London, I'd only get a percentage of my train fair or petrol money back. It cost us quite a bit to play for our country."

Almost 4 decades before their male counterparts lost to Italy in a European Championship final, Carol and her teammates were early victims of England's penalty shoot-out curse.

"We had to do extra training after being at work all day. There was no nutrition, you just ate what normal people would eat."

Carol began playing at just 11, she was England captain by the time she was 20. She was the first woman to win 50 international caps and didn't stop playing until she was well into her 50's.

Calendar filmed with Carol in 1985 when the idea of women playing football was still frowned upon.

There's no doubt Carol and her contemporaries didn't get the recognition they deserved, but they can certainly be proud of the part they played in laying the foundations for the women's game as it is today.