Hope Powell

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Hope Powell
Arsenal LFC v Kelly Smith All-Stars XI (076) (cropped).jpg
Hope Powell in 2017
Personal information
Full name Hope Patricia Powell
Date of birth (1966-12-08) 8 December 1966 (age 55)
Place of birth Lewisham, England
Position(s) Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1978–1987 Millwall Lionesses
1987–1989 Friends of Fulham
1989–1991 Millwall Lionesses
1991–1994 Bromley Borough
1994–1998 Croydon W.F.C.
National team
1983–1998 England Women 66 (35)
Teams managed
1998–2013 England Women
2012 Great Britain Olympic Women
2017– Brighton & Hove Albion
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Hope Patricia Powell, CBE (born 8 December 1966) is an English former international footballer and women's first-team manager of Brighton & Hove Albion. She was the coach of the England women's national football team and the Great Britain women's Olympic football team until August 2013. As a player, Powell won 66 caps for England, mainly as an attacking midfielder, scoring 35 goals. She made her England debut at the age of 16, and went on to play in the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup, England's first World Cup appearance. She was also vice-captain of her country. At club level Powell played in four FA Women's Cup finals and captained Croydon to a League and Cup double in 1996.

The Football Association (FA) appointed Powell as England's first-ever full-time national coach in 1998. She led the team at the 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013 editions of the UEFA Women's Championship. After failing to qualify in 2003, she guided England to the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2007 and 2011. England's best results, reaching the final of the UEFA Women's Championship in 1984 and 2009, both featured Powell. She was a player at the former and coach at the latter.

As well as managing the England senior team, Powell oversaw the whole structure from Under-15s to the Under-23s, a coach mentoring scheme and The FA’s National Player Development Centre at Loughborough University.[1] In May 2009 Powell's administration implemented central contracts, to help players focus on full-time training and playing, without having to fit it around full-time employment. Initially 17 players signed contracts.[2] In 2003 Powell became the first woman to achieve the UEFA Pro Licence, the highest coaching qualification available.

Club career[edit]


Powell made newspaper headlines when FA rules banned her from representing her school team beyond the age of 11. The teacher running the team had appealed against the ban, not, according to Powell, because he was interested in gender equality, but because of a pragmatic desire to field his strongest team.[3] Powell moved on to play club football for Millwall Lionesses when she reached 11.

At Millwall Lionesses Powell came under the influence of coach Alan May. A senior manager with British Telecom, May taught Powell people management skills and remained a major inspiration throughout her career, including when she moved into coaching herself. May was employed as Powell's head scout when she became England manager.[4]


As the club grew to be one of the most successful in England, Powell left for London rivals Friends of Fulham. A two-year spell with Friends of Fulham culminated in an appearance at the 1989 Women's FA Cup final. Powell scored twice and is reported to have played exceptionally well, but her team were beaten 3–2 by Leasowe Pacific. The match was played at Old Trafford but attracted only 914 spectators, although it was also broadcast on Channel 4.[5]

Return to Millwall[edit]

In the aftermath of that defeat Powell returned to Millwall Lionesses, where she became the team's all-time record goalscorer. In 1991 they reached the Women's FA Cup final and beat Doncaster Belles 1–0 at Prenton Park to win the Cup for the first time. Millwall Lionesses also won the Greater London League to qualify for the inaugural National Division in 1991–92.[6][7]

Bromley and Croydon[edit]

The team broke up in the aftermath of that success and Powell moved with teammate Sue Law to form a new club Bromley Borough. Beginning in the South East Counties League, the club quickly progressed through the divisions. After adding England player Brenda Sempare in 1992, Bromley Borough won all 16 matches in the South East Counties League Division One, scoring 142 goals in the process.[8] The team also reached the semi final of the Women's FA Cup, where they lost 2–0 to treble-winning Arsenal.[9]

In 1993–94 Bromley Borough won the National League Division One South by ten points, securing promotion into the top flight of English women's football. Although they were handed a chastening 10–1 defeat by Doncaster Belles in the fifth round of the FA Women's Cup. For 1994–95 the club entered a partnership with Croydon FC and enlisted Powell's England teammate Debbie Bampton as manager. Powell was one of six Croydon players who represented England at the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup.[10]

With Powell as captain and Bampton as player-manager, Croydon won a domestic double in 1995–96. In the[11] FA Women's Cup final against Liverpool at The Den, Powell equalised Karen Burke's opening goal then scored from the spot as Croydon won a penalty shootout.[12] A farcical end of season fixture backlog saw Croydon play five games in ten days, winning four and drawing one to erode Doncaster Belles' 13-point lead[13] and win the National Premier Division on goal difference.[14]

In 1997–98 Croydon lost both domestic Cup finals to Arsenal. The 1998 FA Women's Cup final was lost 3–2 and, despite scoring Croydon's second goal, Powell missed out on her third winners' medal. She had agreed to take over as England coach and retired from playing.[15]

International career[edit]

Martin Reagan gave Powell her England debut against Republic of Ireland, in a 6–0 Euro qualifying win staged at Elm Park in Reading, Berkshire on 9 September 1983.[16] Aged 17, Powell played in the final of the 1984 European Competition for Women's Football as England were beaten by Sweden on penalties. The two-legged final had seen England recover a one goal deficit at Kenilworth Road in Luton, in muddy conditions described by Powell as "absolutely shocking."[17]

International goals[edit]

No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 17 March 1985 Deepdale, Preston, England  Scotland ?–0 4–0 1987 European Competition for Women's Football qualifying
2. 25 May 1985 Allen Park, Antrim, Northern Ireland  Northern Ireland ?–? 8–1
3. 17 August 1985 Ballacloan Stadium, Ramsey, Isle of Man  Wales ?–0 6–0
4. ?–0
5. 22 September 1985 Páirc Uí Rinn, Cork, Ireland  Republic of Ireland 2–0 6–0
6. 12 October 1986 Stark's Park, Kirkcaldy, Scotland  Scotland ?–? 3–1
7. 11 April 1987 Elland Road, Leeds, England  Northern Ireland ?–0 6–0 Friendly
8. 17 March 1990 Het Minneplein, Ypres, Belgium  Belgium 1–0 3–0 UEFA Women's Euro 1991 qualifying
9. 2–0
10. 17 April 1994 Griffin Park, Brentford, England  Slovenia ?–0 10–0 UEFA Women's Euro 1995 qualifying

Managerial career[edit]

First steps into coaching[edit]

Powell had passed the FA's preliminary coaching award at the age of 19. During her later playing career she had worked as a development officer for Lewisham London Borough Council and in Crystal Palace FC's community outreach scheme. She had also been a volunteer coach at soccer camps in the United States. Ted Copeland encouraged Powell to complete the FA's new female coach mentoring scheme and obtain her 'B' licence while she was still playing.[18]

England Women[edit]

England were unfortunate to be drawn in a 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup qualification group with Norway and Germany, the reigning World and European champions, respectively. Copeland quit as manager after a 1–0 defeat to Germany at The Den in March 1998, which Powell had started.[19]

At 31 Powell became the youngest ever coach of any English national football team, as well as the first woman and the first non-white person to hold the office.[20][21]

On 26 July 1998 Powell managed England for the first time in a friendly against Sweden at Victoria Road, Dagenham. After entering the game as a substitute, Swedish debutant Malin Moström scored the only goal on 84 minutes.[22] Powell's first competitive fixture in charge was the 2–0 defeat to Norway in Lillestrøm the following month, which consigned England to last place in the group and meant they faced a relegation play-off against Romania. Had England lost they faced being demoted to B level and therefore unable to qualify for major tournaments. Powell described the situation as "very much do-or-die" since a substantial reduction in funding was at stake.[23] A 6–2 aggregate victory kept England's place among the elite.

In 2003 Powell became the first woman to be awarded the UEFA Pro Licence, studying alongside Stuart Pearce.[1] She had become England coach in 1998, and led the national team to the final of Euro 2009 where they lost to Germany. It was speculated that Powell would become the first female manager in English men's football when she was linked with the vacant managerial role at Grimsby Town in October 2009, however caretaker manager Neil Woods was appointed on a permanent basis.[24]

At the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, England suffered a quarter-final penalty shootout defeat to France following a 1–1 draw. Powell controversially attributed "cowardice" to the players who had failed to volunteer to take a penalty.[25] After England's disastrous showing at UEFA Women's Euro 2013, there was a clamour for Powell to be sacked. However, despite the first round exit, she retained the support of the FA.[26]

In July 2013 Keith Boanas made an outspoken attack on Powell's record as England manager and publicly called on her to resign. As he had also applied for the job in 1998, but was not granted an interview, Boanas suspected that the selection of the relatively unqualified Powell was "a political appointment to cover all bases". He criticised Powell's role in the international retirement of his wife Pauline Cope and suggested that anyone could match or surpass Powell's achievements, given a similar level of support.[27]

On 20 August 2013, Powell was sacked as manager of the England women's team.[28]

Brighton & Hove Albion[edit]

Hope as Brighton manager in April 2018

On 19 July 2017, Brighton & Hove Albion announced that Powell had been appointed as first-team manager of the club's women's team.[29]

Managerial Statistics[edit]

As of matches played 15 December 2021
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record Ref
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Brighton WFC 19 July 2017 Present 116 47 12 57 153 199 −46 040.52 [30]
Career totals 116 47 12 57 153 199 −46 040.52


Powell was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2002 and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours.[31][32] In 2003, she was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in recognition of her talents.[16]

Powell was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of East London in 2011.[33]


Millwall Lionesses



Personal life[edit]

Powell was born and raised in London to a family of Jamaican descent.[34] In 1990 Powell graduated from Brunel University in London with a degree in Sport Science and History.[35]

In August, 2010, she was named in 68th place on The Independent newspaper’s annual Pink List of influential LGBT people in the UK.[36] Her entry was subsequently redacted from the online version of the article[why?] and her name was absent from the 2011 and 2012 lists. Powell was included in a rival World Pride Power List compiled by Square Peg Media in association with The Guardian; reaching fifth place in 2011 and 48th place in 2012. Commenting about her relationships with men, she said they were "intrigued" to discover that she was a footballer.[37]

In an October 2005 interview with Diva magazine, Powell commented about lesbians in football: "There's always been that stereotyping of female footballers as butch, dykey and unattractive, so maybe it's just best left alone."[38]

Powell's autobiography, Hope: My Life in Football, was published in 2016.[39]


  1. ^ a b "England manager Hope Powell leads England on with great expectations". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  2. ^ "Central contracts confirmed". FA website. 14 May 2009.
  3. ^ Cadwalladr, Carole (12 June 2011). "Hope Powell: 'I was the real-life Bend It Like Beckham Girl'". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  4. ^ Barclay, Patrick (7 September 2003). "Hope is on the way for England". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
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  10. ^ Rowbottom, Mike (6 June 1995). "Women boldly go where no men have been of late". The Independent. Retrieved 21 August 2013. Was it coincidental that the newly appointed captain, Bampton, was accompanied by five fellow members of Croydon, even though they were not a Premier League side? [sic]
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  12. ^ Aldis, Colin. "English clubs 95-96". Women's Soccer World. Archived from the original on 14 February 1997. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
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  14. ^ "Football". The Independent. 15 May 1996. Archived from the original on 21 August 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013. Croydon completed the Women's Football Association league and cup double last night by beating Arsenal 2–1 to deny Doncaster Belles the Premier League Championship on goal difference.
  15. ^ "Greatest Manager Series… Hope Powell". footballsoccerfocus.com. Archived from the original on 20 August 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  16. ^ a b Galvin, Robert. "Hope Powell". National Football Museum. Archived from the original on 20 March 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  17. ^ Leighton, Tony (19 May 2009). "England's shoot-out jinx begins - England, 1984". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  18. ^ Cushion, Chris (22 October 2009). "4". Sports Coaching Cultures: From Practice to Theory. p. 44. ISBN 978-0203390955. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  19. ^ Rowbottom, Mike (9 March 1998). "Football: Smisek sinks England women". The Independent. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  20. ^ "Hope Powell". Black Soccer Association. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  21. ^ "Hope Powell". Football Unites, Racism Divides. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  22. ^ "Ireland beat Germany to take European title - Football". The Times. 27 July 1998. The England women put up a spirited performance against Sweden yesterday in Hope Powell's first match as national coach, having the better chances in the first half at Dagenham and Redbridge only to lose to the former European champions and World Cup bronze-medal-winners by an 84th-minute goal by Malin Mostrom
  23. ^ Viner, Brian (26 October 2007). "Hope Powell: 'I see him now and again but I don't swap notes with Steve McClaren'". The Independent. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
  24. ^ Wilson, Steve (22 October 2009). "England's women coach Hope Powell plays down Grimsby Town link". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 30 May 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2009.
  25. ^ "Hope Powell accuses players of 'cowardice' and hints at departure". TheGuardian.com. 10 July 2011.
  26. ^ Leighton, Tony (21 July 2013). "Hope Powell to be passed over for elite women's role, says Sir Trevor Brooking". The Independent.
  27. ^ Boanas, Keith (22 July 2013). "Keith Boanas Speaks on Hope Powell And Women's Football in England". Women's Soccer United. Archived from the original on 23 August 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  28. ^ "Powell sacked as England manager". English FA. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  29. ^ "Powell appointed women's head coach". Brighton & Hove Albion. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 19 July 2017.
  30. ^ "England - Brighton & Hove Albion WFC - Results and fixtures - Soccerway".
  31. ^ "No. 59446". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2010. p. 8.
  32. ^ Zeta-Jones joins cricket buffs Duckworth and Lewis on honours list
  33. ^ "High Performance Sport at the University of East London" (PDF). UELSports, University of East London. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  34. ^ "Stories From The 90's - JJ Heritage".
  35. ^ "Congratualtions - Awards and Honours". Brunel Link Magazine 2011. 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  36. ^ Montgomery, Hugh (1 August 2012). "The IoS Pink List 2010". The Independent. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  37. ^ 1Odulate, Busola; Buxton, Olivia (22 February 1998). "One of these women has married eight men; one puts out fires, one buys blue movies, one is a chippie, one works with apes and one scores for England. Guess who..." The People. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  38. ^ Bigley, Lydia (4 May 2011). "Women in sports: the lesbian peril". Diva. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  39. ^ "Hope: My Life in Football". Bloomsbury. Retrieved 7 February 2016.

External links[edit]