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If a Tranmere fan were to be asked to name the clubs greatest players the likes of Muir, Bell and Alderidge would be high on people’s lists. Their achievements will echo through the corridors and stands at Prenton Park for years to come. However one Tranmere player whose achievements may not always be so well remembered stands just as tall.

This Rovers legend joined the Tranmere family in the mid 1990s and was part of a team which reached the highest levels in English Football. Alongside a glittering career with Rovers they also enjoyed a successful international career. This legend is none other than Sue Smith.

Sue Smith signed for Rovers in 1994 at the age of 14 and played in the mid field. During her time with the Tranmere Rover’s Ladies Football Club her achievements surpassed most of the men’s achievements combined. In 1998-99 season she won the FA Player of the Year Award the highest award in the women’s game alongside league successes.

As well as her domestic success she also had a glistening international career with the England’s women squad. She first played for her country in 1997 against Germany where she also scored her first goal. Since then she has been capped 93 times and scored 16 goals. But perhaps her most impressive achievement is wining the FA’s International Player of the Year Award twice whilst she was playing for Rovers.

Currently she plays for Doncaster Rovers Belles but most will have seen her when she was a pundit during the Olympic Games and is regularly a pundit for the England’s Women team.

Tranmere Rovers Ladies were founded in 1990 but the history of women’s football dates back to the 19th Century with groups such as the British Ladies Football Club leading the way in sport. It was not until the First World War that women’s football really took off. With men’s football so disrupted by the war women’s leagues were established to boost morale.

In the immediate years after the war women’s football was attracting supporters in the thousands at the larger clubs. However the FA banned womens teams from being affiliated with male clubs and grounds. Without FA recognition women’s football fell out of main stream society. It wasn’t until 1970 that the FA began to recognise women’s football and since then the profile has slowly been rising.

Tranmere Rovers Ladies were formed through the Football in the Community Scheme 1990 giving talented female players the opportunity to play in a structured league. The team began life in the North West’s Women’s Regional League Division Four which they won in their first season. Over the next four years the team climbed four more leagues and in 1996 they were promoted to the FA’s Women’s Premier League.

The season before the women’s team was promoted they had only suffered one defeat and had secured the Cheshire Shield for the first time beating Stockport 6-2. However even with such impressive results the top flight of the women’s league would not be an easy mountain to climb.

In the first season Tranmere were given a master class in women’s football and finished 8th only three points above the relegation zone. But Tranmere battled on and over the seasons the team improved and progressed further up the table reaching fifth four seasons in a row and they reached the final of the AXA Premier League Cup but lost 3-0 to the giants of women’s football Arsenal.

The women’s success however went into decline much like the men’s team in the early 00s and in 2004 the women’s team was relegated back to the Northern Division. After a few unlucky seasons Tranmere now reside in the North West’s Women’s Regional League Premier Division however hopes are high this season as Tranmere sit third in the division.

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