Celebrities, organisations, schools and councillors across East Lancashire have praised England’s female football team after they were crowned UEFA Women's European Champions for 2022 on Sunday.

England beat Germany 2-1 after extra time in front of 87,000 supporters at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, securing the first major tournament title for the country since 1966.

Now, thousands are celebrating their win and praising the Lionesses for their outstanding performance in the tournament.

Three of the players, Keira Walsh, Georgia Stanway and Ella Toone, were reared in East Lancashire and spent the beginning of their careers at Blackburn Rovers.

Rovers were quick to remind fans where they were trained and said: “A Lioness goal made in Blackburn," after Stanway laid a pass off to Walsh, whose pinpoint long ball found Toone, who slotted home a perfectly placed chip to give England the lead.

Blackburn Rovers Ladies club even appeared on a national news programme this morning where they interviewed budding young players and coaches.

Tom Perris, Blackburn Rovers Ladies Assistant Coach, said: “We are absolutely delighted and all three of our players were involved in the first goal last night.

“They’re a great inspiration to all of these young girls [at the club] who can aspire to be like that one day.

“Grassroots coaches are doing a lot of work as well it’s not just us – but we have some talented girls coming through.

“I think we are blessed in the North West to have some really talented football players. Fingers crossed in the future we will have some more players representing England.”

Keira, who was named player of Sunday’s match, attended Haslingden High School, which has been supporting her throughout the tournament.

Her former P.E teacher,  Nikki Berko, said she was an “outstanding all round sportswoman” from the moment she arrived at the school.

She said: “Her footballing ability was unrivalled. She is the best young female footballer I have ever seen and I used to say to her mum she would 100 per cent make it as a professional.

“We are immensely proud of her and the Lionesses and she serves as a role model for all young people to look up to.

“She rightly takes pride of place as our most famous ‘Wall of Famer’ and we now need an updated picture from the Euros.

Lancashire Telegraph: Keira WalshKeira Walsh

“She’s an absolute inspiration to all young girls up and down the country, but someone our girls can absolutely relate to.

“Hopefully this is just the start for the women’s game and it now gets the support it’s always deserved!

“Well done, Keira - we will continue to follow your career. Now for the World Cup?”

Local politicians were eager to express their pride in the players.

Blackburn with Darwen Council’s health and wellbeing boss Cllr Damian Talbot, a keen Rovers fan, said: “I am super-proud of the Lionesses’ amazing efforts.

“They are an example to us all with the determination they have shown in getting this far.

“I’m sure that this will bring about further progress in the popularity of the women’s game.

“Perhaps our England men’s team might want to take some advice.”

Women’s equality campaigner and lifelong Rovers fan Cllr Maureen Bateson added: “I think the Lionesses victory was great, and great for women’s football.

“The atmosphere in the stadium was wonderful.

“I know from being a trustee of the Blackburn Rovers Community Trust there is tremendous enthusiasm from girls for football and they want to play in competitive professional leagues.”

Cllr Bateson added she would like to see other women’s teams playing in large capacity stadiums.

She said: “Three of the Euro-winning squad started their careers at Blackburn Rovers.

“I would like to see women’s teams playing in mainstream stadiums.

“I would certainly go down to Ewood Park to see Blackburn Rovers women playing there.”

Cllr Phil Riley, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council and an Ewood Park season ticket holder, said: “It was a great achievement and it shows the outstanding progress that has been made by women’s football in recent years.

“It was particularly pleasing as the three of the squad started their careers at Blackburn Rovers.”

Blackburn MP Kate Hollern said she is “so proud of our Lionesses”.

She said: “As ever, Blackburn plays its part in leading the way with women’s football. Well done on this historic achievement.”

Former Blackburn MP, Rovers season ticket holder and Labour cabinet minister Jack Straw, added: “Brilliant, brilliant result – the culmination of years of campaigning by women for proper recognition for the women’s game.

“My daughter – now approaching 40 – was a very keen soccer player at Manchester University so feels this even more.

“Happily she and her family and my son Will and all four of our grandchildren were at Wembley thanks to early faith in the England team.

“Both our children developed their passion for soccer in the late 80s and 90s watching Rovers.”

Hyndburn MP Sara Britcliffe was watching the game with her father, County Counillor Peter Britcliffe, while Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans shared messages of support, as did Chorley MP Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

There were jubilant scenes at St Mary’s Chambers in Rawtenstall when Ella Toone scored the team's first goal.

in the video, the packed out crowd screamed, cheered and chanted after the ball hit the back of the net.

Local celebrities also have high praise for the team, including Blackburn’s AJ Odudu who attended the game.

Lancashire Telegraph: AJ Odudu (right) with her sister 'Sunshine Ufuoma' at Wembley StadiumAJ Odudu (right) with her sister 'Sunshine Ufuoma' at Wembley Stadium

“The winning goal – the joy. History made.”

Blackburn World Superbike champion, Carl Fogarty, wished the team luck before kick off asking them to “finish off what the men couldn’t”.



After their victory he said: “Yes! Get in there girls”.

Former England rugby union ace Will Greenwood, from Hurst Green and a World Cup winner himself, also had kind words for the team.

He said: “The two goals in normal time simply sensational - bravo England and Germany.

“Then the fight and the [team work] to get the job done by the Lionesses.

“Awesome, girls - truly awesome.”