ANNE Barker has never considered herself to be a woman in a man's world despite finally ending one of the longest male bastions in football.

For Anne has been elected on to the Lancashire Football Association's full council - the first woman to do so in its 129-year history.

But whether it has been with Clitheroe Wolves, Clitheroe FC, the Accrington and District Boys League and now the LFA, Anne firmly believes you should be judged on merit rather than gender.

"I have never considered myself to be a woman in a man's world," said Anne who is the LFA northern youth league area representative. "I suppose the LFA appointment will raise a few eyebrows only because I am the first woman to get on to the council.

"But the way I see it is that I am not there because I am a woman, I am there because of what I am capable of."

It is a belief that has served her well ever since helping to set up Clitheroe Wolves back in 1992.

Anne helped George Hibbert and Brian Robinson set up the club to give boys in the town the chance to carry on playing football.

"At the time, there were a number of cub packs in the town where the lads played football but there was nothing for them to do once they finished with the cubs," recalls Anne. "We decided to set up a club and give them the chance to carry on playing football."

Anne's two eldest sons, David and Simon were among the first boys to play for Clitheroe Wolves which was formed with just an Under 11s and Under 12s teams. Her third son, Michael, would later join the Wolves and all three would go on up through the age groups.

"At first, I was just a mum who used to go along and help out with the halftime drinks but then I got more and more involved. I am a strong believer that if your children get involved in something then you should get involved as well."

Today, the club has 21 teams from under sevens to under 18s and Anne has been club secretary for the past nine years.

"The club is probably the most established in the area and has flourished over the years. The fact that we have kept it going and helped it grow is very rewarding for everyone involved."

Anne said her role as league secretary has been made all the more easier by the work of administrator Jo Greatorex, another woman who has been at the club from the early years.

"Jo is a great worker and we have the same principles when it comes to how things should be run. In fact, thanks to Jo, my role with the club is not as hands-on as it has been in the past."

Helping to run a thriving club would be considered by many as a hard enough task on its own. But Anne has never shirked a challenge and is always prepared to take something else on - but only if she can make a difference.

"It's not worth doing something just for the sake of doing it," said Anne who is a bank clerk in Blackburn. "I've always gone with the belief that I will only do something if I can make a difference."

But Anne insists what she does is being replicated by thousands of people up and down the country.

"What I do isn't special because whether it is football, cricket or any other sport, there are people who work behind the scenes to make sure children get the opportunity to play sport."

But despite her modesty, Anne does more than her fair share and is chairman of the Accrington and District Boys League and vice chairman at Clitheroe FC. She also helps out with Blackburn Rovers Ladies.

Anne's appointment as the Accrington and District Boys League chairman was the only time she doubted herself as being a woman in a man's world.

"There were a few questions asked when I joined the committee and then became chairman. But the real worry for me was at the AGM because I didn't no where to sit!

"Now every time I attend an AGM I do get a bit nervous that I am going to sit in the wrong place."

Anne's main focus over the past two years is her role at home town club at Clitheroe FC. The club were struggling when Anne offered her services at the beginning of last year and she has slowly helped turn things around.

Anne is the first to admit that she doesn't possess some kind of Midas touch but her attention to detail, organisational skills and refusal never to be beaten has never let her down.

"If I do something, I give it my all," said Anne who was appointed Clitheroe FC's vice chairman in June. "I am really enjoying my time at Clitheroe at the moment. I came here when they were struggling a bit but we have slowly begun to turn things around."

While Anne is happy to juggle so many balls at the moment, she says the time will come when she has to let one go "I do worry that I could be spreading myself a little thin because everything I do, I want to give it 100 per cent. As far as I am concerned there is no compromise."