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Lionesses hit 40 mark
 Women's Football News 27 Jul 2010
Lionesses hit 40 mark - 27 Jul 2010 - Women's Football NewsWhen Millwall Lionesses walk out onto the pitch next month for their league opener against Leeds United, it will signal the start of their 40th season in women's and girls football.
The Lionesses were formed in 1971 and, for the next twenty years, competed in various divisions of the Greater London League becoming Champions on seven occasions and winning the Greater London League Cup twice.
During this period Millwall Lionesses led the way in the women's game by becoming the first women's team to be affiliated to a professional men's club and were pioneers of the 'Football in the Community Scheme' that is now common place among football of all standing, but unheard of in the seventies.
In 1991, the Lionesses made the first of their two F.A.Women's Cup Final appearances when they took on and beat holders Doncaster Belles 1-0. Six years later another final appearance saw Wembley LFC go down to the Lionesses by the same score.
1991 was the turning point for Millwall Lionesses, as well as the Cup they also won the Greater London League Premier Division and were promoted to the newly formed F.A.Women's Premier League, where they would stay until their relegation to the Southern Division in 1999.
During their time in the top division the Lionesses made two Premier League Cup Final appearances. A 1-0 defeat to Arsenal in 1992 was followed by a 2-1 victory over Everton in 1997, giving them the cup double of League and FA Cups that year.
After ten long years in the Southern Division, Millwall Lionesses finally won back their National Division place after being crowned Champions in the 2008-09 season. After an unbeaten start, which saw the Lionesses stay in pole position for six weeks, the results dropped away after Christmas and they finished the season in a respectable eight position.
After losing out to Arsenal and Chelsea for the two London region FA Super League places, Millwall will be competing in the F.A.Women's Premier League again this season.
During the past 40 years, many girls have come up through the Lionesses teams and gone on to make a name for themselves in women's football. In the current England set up, there is former player and now England manager Hope Powell as well as Claire Rafferty and Katie Chapman. Former England players include Mary Phillip, Pauline Cope, Leanne Champ and Louise Waller.

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