Express & Star

'Britain's most glamorous soccer manager' – Memories of football pioneer Phyllis back in 1967

A pretty face, a ready smile, and a trim figure... that's what it takes to be a successful football manager these days.

Manager Phyl with her team.

Put away those pens – we're only quoting from a November 1967 article which featured the manager of a local team who was causing a bit of a stir back then.

She was 20-year-old Phyllis Hand of Walsall, who was a "strong contender for the title of Britain's most glamorous soccer manager" according to the rather non-politically correct Sporting Star of the day.

Phyl, as she liked to be called, was manager of Cross Keys, a side in the Walsall Junior League who were heading the table and in their first year the previous season had won a cup.

She said her boyfriend George had wondered what he would do when he finished playing and she thought it would be a good idea if he started a team of his own.

"I scouted around and got some lads together and it has grown from that. Now George picks the team and I do the work," she said.

As for getting on in a world rife with bad language and not necessarily known for best behaviour, Phyl said: "I never have any trouble. Perhaps it's because I'm there that the lads behave themselves and the other officials are always willing to help me."

She was hoping to take Cross Keys to the Continent to play the following year (does anybody know if they actually went?).

"I wasn't really a football fan, but my boyfriend was soccer crazy. So I thought, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, and now I really enjoy it.

"I sometimes go to watch Walsall, but Manchester United are my favourite team – after Cross Keys, of course."

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