Doncaster and England football hero Gillian Coultard awarded MBE in New Year Honours list

A pioneer of women's football has been awarded the MBE in the New Year Honours list, a decision she said left her happy and surprised.

Gillian Coultard was the first player to gain 100 caps in the women's game

Gillian Coultard, 57, who was born in Thorne nhear Doncaster and who now lives in Castleford, was the first women's player to win 100 caps.

Now working at a pharmaceutical company, she said: "I am delighted. The women's game has come a long way since I began as a nine-year-old playing for a boys team but there is still a long way to go.

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"We have a lot of foreign players coming in to the game but we must make sure we have room for our own girls who are coming through."

She signed for the Doncaster Belles in 1977 as a 13-year-old schoolgirl and was called into the England squad the same year. She left the club playing for Rowntrees Ladies (York) returning to Doncaster Belles in 1984 and became captain in 1987.

At club level, she won two National League titles and six FA Women's Cup finals during 24 years with the Belles.

She made over 300 appearances and became a key player in the side which dominated women’s football in England.

She retired from club football at the end of the 2000/01 season.

She fitted in four training sessions and a match every week, despite her full-time job on the production line at a Pioneer factory in Castleford.

At the 1995 Women’s World Cup in Sweden, the first England had ever been to, she scored the first ever goal for England in a women’s world cup. She scored two during the game, resulting in the team winning 3-2 against Canada.

She was the first woman to score a goal at Wembley for England against Northern Ireland. She won her 100th England cap in a 4-0 win over Scotland at Almondvale Stadium in August 1997.

That October, before a 1999 World Cup qualifier against Holland, she was presented with a silver cap by Sir Geoff Hurst in recognition of the achievement.

In 2006, she was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.

She managed the new Hartlepool United Ladies team in 2008/09.