Captained England and played in five winning Women’s FA Cup finals for four different clubs: (Howbury Grange 1984, Millwall Lionesses 1991, Arsenal 1993, Croydon (as player-manager) in 1996 & 2000).
“I learnt a lot from every manager I played under and it was as player-manager of Croydon that I enjoyed my final two FA Cup wins. We beat Liverpool in the first final to go to penalties in 1996 and Doncaster Belles 2-1 in 2000. On both occasions we also won the Double. I think my very best Women’s FA Cup memory is that last final in 2000. I already knew it would be my final game as a player because I was hanging up my boots to concentrate solely on management, and there is something special about winning as a manager when you carry the ultimate responsibility.”
Played in eight winning Women’s FA Cup finals (a record for a goalkeeper) for Southampton (1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1981), saving penalties in the 1975 and 1981 finals.
“Saving penalties was something I was always pretty good at and I can remember the one I saved against St Helens in the 1981 final very clearly. Everything about that final stands out. It was the first one to take place in what I would call a proper stadium, even though it was a rugby league stadium at St Helens. The mayor of Southampton also travelled all the way up for the game and that made it feel really important. We won the game 4-2 and it was a real thriller.”
Former England captain and first player to win 100 caps for the national team. Played in five winning Women’s FA Cup finals for Doncaster Belles, three of them as captain.
“I loved the Women’s FA Cup. Before the National League it was the only competition in which you could prove you were the best in the country. Even when the National League came about it got nothing like the publicity the WSL gets today. The only time the newspapers or TV ever paid any attention to the women’s game was in the Cup final. I have so many great memories of the WFA Cup but my favourite was beating Friends of Fulham 1-0 at the Baseball Ground in 1990. I was captain for the Cup final for first time and scored the winning goal.”
Played in six winning finals with Southampton. Holds record for the most goals in one Women’s FA Cup final (six in 1978) and most career Women’s FA Cup final goals (10).
“I always found WFA Cup finals to be nerve-racking occasions but my best final was 1978 when we beat QPR 8-2 and I scored six. In this game I settled down early on, scored in the first-half and then it all just went from there. I can remember two of the six goals really clearly. For one of them I remember the ball coming over from the right. Both me and Hilary Carter went for it. When we were running back to the half-way line after I’d scored Hilary said, ‘It’s a good job you scored that because I was going to take that shot’. It was an incredible day, to score a double hat-trick and win the WFA Cup and the Player of the Match award is something I will never forget.”
Played in seven winning finals for four clubs: Millwall Lionesses (1997), Fulham (2002), Arsenal (2007, 2009, 2011) and Chelsea (2015, 2018).
“Being called into the Millwall Lionesses first-team when I was just 14 and winning the FA Cup that year at Upton Park was just amazing. The whole season was quite daunting. The final took place in front of more than 3,000 fans, which was a huge crowd at the time.
“In 2015 more than 30,000 fans were present as Chelsea beat Notts County 1-0 and I had the honour of being the first captain to walk up the Wembley steps and collect the trophy. We experienced the pain of defeat against Arsenal in 2016 but in 2018 we got revenge with a 3-1 win over the Gunners. I retired just days after that game. It was an incredible way to say goodbye, captaining Chelsea to another FA Cup win in front of a record 45,000 fans at Wembley. A great end to a great career.”
Current England and Manchester City captain
Played in five Women’s FA Cup-winning finals: (Arsenal: 2011, 2013 – Manchester City 2017, 2019, 2020)
“Being the captain who lifted the trophy at the 50th Women’s FA Cup final in 2020 felt incredible. I’m fortunate to have experienced winning every domestic trophy and they all have a different feeling surrounding them. The FA Cup has the prestige and the history. It is the trophy name that every girl and boy is familiar with when they are young and that everyone can dream of winning.
“The feeling I associate with the FA Cup is a feeling of being around family, friends and fans. It’s about the fans (in normal times) desperate to find a way to be at Wembley. It’s about all the celebrations afterwards. It’s about lifting a trophy whose very name resonates with every fan around the world.”
Before becoming England manager (1998-2013), Powell played in four Women’s FA Cup finals. She won two finals, with Millwall Lionesses in 1991 and as Croydon captain in 1996.
“In 1991 I won the Cup for the first time with Millwall Lionesses where I had started playing as a youngster. We beat Doncaster Belles 1-0 in the 1991 final. We were not expected to win at all, because Doncaster were a magnificent team. They had more honours and trophies than any other club of the time. I remember Yvonne Baldeo getting the only goal and celebrating with about 10 rolls along the turf. In 1996 I enjoyed victory again with Croydon. I scored our equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool and was also on target in the shootout before lifting the Cup as captain. It’s brilliant to see what the competition has grown into today.”
Played in a record 11 women’s FA Cup-winning finals: (Arsenal: 1998, 1999, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014 – Fulham: 2002, 2003)
“I am proud to have played for the winning team in 11 Women’s FA Cup finals. One of the moments that stands out is the free kick I scored for Fulham against Doncaster when we won the 2002 final 2-1 at Selhurst Park. The day before the game our manager Gaute Haugenes had told me I was on free kicks. I wouldn’t usually take them. There was an oak tree behind our goal at training and I must have hit every branch of that tree, that’s how bad I was at free kicks. I said to him that I thought Rachel Unitt should take them – she could hit them with much more power, whereas I was more of a curler. When it came to the free kick in the final Rachel and I agreed it was a bit too close for a powerful one, so I went for the curler and put it right in the corner.”