Gillian Coultard

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Gillian Coultard
Personal information
Date of birth (1963-07-22) 22 July 1963 (age 57)
Place of birth Thorne, England
Height 5 ft 0 in (1.52 m)
Position(s) Sweeper, Midfielder
Senior career*
19761982 Doncaster Rovers Belles
19821986 Rowntree W.F.C.
19862001 Doncaster Rovers Belles
National team
19812000 England 119 (30)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league onlyand correct as of 13 October 2010
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 13 October 2010

Gillian Coultard MBE (born 22 July 1963) is a retired English football player, and former England captain. She is one of England Women's most capped internationals, with 119 appearances, and was the highest capped outfield England international ever until Rachel Yankey reached 120 caps in 2012. At the time she was one of only five footballers (Bobby Moore, Billy Wright, Bobby Charlton and Peter Shilton were the others) to have reached over 100 caps for England, and she was the first woman and amateur player to have done so.


International career

Coultard, a midfielder initially, though moving back to sweeper towards the end of her career, made her international debut in a 31 win over the Republic of Ireland in 1981, at the age of 18. [1] She went on to score 30 goals at international level, a rate of one every four games, [2] including a pair in England's first ever World Cup finals match, a 32 win over Canada in Sweden, in 1995. [3] England were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by eventual tournament runners-up, Germany. [4] Coultard had also been part of the England squad which finished runners-up to Sweden in the first UEFA final in 1984, losing the final on penalties. [5] Coultard was appointed England captain in 1991 when the previous captain Debbie Bampton was injured. Bampton was restored as captain in 1995, [6] but Coultard regained the captaincy in 1997 when Bampton retired from international football.

Coultard won her 100th England cap in a 40 win over Scotland at Almondvale Stadium in August 1997. [7] That October, before a 1999 World Cup qualifier against Holland at Upton Park, she was presented with a silver cap by Sir Geoff Hurst in recognition of the achievement. [8]

In the early stages of England's successful 2001 UEFA Women's Championship qualification campaign Coultard remained captain of the side. [5] Coultard's 119th and final cap came in a 10 win over Switzerland in May 2000. [1] She was later a non-playing member of the England side which suffered their record defeat an 80 loss away to Norway in June 2000. [9] In October 2000, 37-year-old Coultard announced her international retirement in order to concentrate on a coaching role in the National Women's Football Academy in Durham. [10]

"Gillian was a genuinely world class player."

– England women manager Hope Powell on Coultard [11]

Club career

At club level, Coultard won two National League titles and six FA Women's Cup finals during 24 years with Doncaster Belles. [10] Joining as a 13-year-old schoolgirl, she eventually made over 300 appearances and became a key player in the side which dominated women's football in England. [12] She retired from club football at the end of the 200001 season, making an emotional farewell appearance for the Belles against Charlton Athletic in May 2001. [13]

Coultard fitted in four training sessions and a match every week, [2] despite her fulltime job on the production line at a Pioneer factory in Castleford. [14] She used her annual leave from work to play for England and rejected several offers to join semi-professional clubs in Belgium, Italy, Sweden [2] and Finland. [14]

Post retirement

In May 2005 Coultard was diagnosed with breast cancer, which was successfully treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radium therapy. [15] On 19 October 2006, she was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame. [11] Coultard managed the new Hartlepool United Ladies team in 200809. [12] In 2009, she was offered a role as coach of the Estonia women's national football team, but turned down the offer for personal reasons. [16]

Coultard was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2021 New Year Honours for services to football. [17]



  1. Up until 1991, there was no top national division of English women's football; from then, until the formation of the FA WSL in 2010, it was the FA Women's Premier League National Division. The FA only took over the direct running of the domestic league structure from the WFA in 1993.

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  1. 1 2 Robert Galvin. "Gillian Coultard". National Football Museum. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 "Fact Sheet 5: Women and Football". University of Leicester. March 2002. Archived from the original on 12 September 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  3. "Coultard is catalyst for England". The Independent . 7 June 1995. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  4. "FIFA Women's World Cup Sweden 1995 Match Report". Archived from the original on 19 April 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2008.
  5. 1 2 Tony Leighton (19 June 2001). "Coultard cautious over England hopes". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  6. Lopez, Sue (1997). Women on the ball. Scarlet Press. p. 106. ISBN   1-85727-016-9.
  7. Susan Sweet (24 August 1997). "Football: England excel as Coultard joins club". The Independent . Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  8. Mike Rowbottom (1 November 1997). "World Cup place can cap it all for Coultard". The Independent . Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  9. Tony Leighton. "A decade of hope". Fair Game Magazine. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  10. 1 2 "Coultard goes out at the top". 3 October 2000. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  11. 1 2 Cathy Gibb (19 September 2006). "Coultard gets deserved recognition". Morning Star. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  12. 1 2 Hayley Paterson (19 February 2009). "Belles hit their stride again at 40". Doncaster Free Press. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  13. Tony Leighton (20 May 2001). "Coulthard bows out as season ends". [sic] BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  14. 1 2 "BELLE of the BALL". The Mirror. 12 August 1996. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  15. "BELLES STAR'S CANCER FLIGHT". Doncaster Free Press. 11 August 2005. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  16. Nick Booth. "From Tooting to Tallinn - managing the Estonian women's team". Total Football magazine. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  17. "No. 63218". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2020. p. N17.