Starting Out – A Captain’s Tale: Part One

As a little girl she followed her older brother, some two-and-a-half years her senior, to play football for Sherwood Boys; at the time now Nottingham Forest Women’s captain, Lyndsey Harkin, was around six-years-old.

Now, over two decades later, she has the honour, and privilege, of leading her hometown club from the back as the number two, and captain.

Back then though, life was certainly a little different, but she’d made it work, and both siblings would go on to become footballers, both in fact still playing to this day.

“Yes, my brother is a pretty good footballer and plays locally as well,” states Lyndsey, “but, back then, I wanted to do whatever my brother was doing, and that was to play football.”

It wouldn’t be that long in fact before she was pulling on the famous Garibaldi Red though, just a few short years really, with a little help from a family friend.

Through that assistance, and a brief, five year spell at Doncaster Belles aside, a lengthy association with Nottingham Forest began.

“The daughter of a friend of my dad’s was playing for Forest Girls at the time,” continued Lyndsey.

“She was a little older than me and I was what seven, maybe eight-years-old at the time, and was asked if I’d like to go along; I’ve never looked back.”

Within seven years at Forest, yes seven years, Lyndsey was making her first team debut for the Women’s team; the age bracket was somewhat lower fifteen years ago.

That debut would come on 16 October 2005, in a 4-3 reverse away to Aston Villa, she coming on as a second-half substitute.

During that first spell she would be part of the Forest side that lifted the FA Northern Premier League title in 2008 alongside three Nottinghamshire FA Women’s County Cup successes in 2006, 2007 and 2009, before making the move to Doncaster.

“We’ve had a women’s team since the nineties,” explained Lyndsey, “and I’d get to make my first team debut for them when I was just fourteen.

“I played for both the first team, and the reserves, and was well looked after.

“Then, at sixteen, the rules changed for first-teamers and I found myself having to wait a couple of months at the start of the season before I could; I missed a few matches because I didn’t turn sixteen until later in the August.

“We’ve always had a really good team here and it’s been really great being a part of it.”

Then came the move cross country, to Yorkshire, and the Doncaster Belles who, at the time Lyndsey joined there, were competing in the same division.

“Yes, we were both in the top division until the split came about,” she adds, “and, at the time, I was 18-years-old, and I was in the England set-up, so I needed to be playing at the highest level.

“Granted whilst I was there we were pretty much entrenched in relegation battles, but we had some really good times with some really good, young players, who’ve gone on themselves to better things.

“It was good to be able to represent them (Doncaster) though, and I’m really thankful for that opportunity.

“However, it was getting to the point that I was unable to commit myself full-time, unable to travel constantly between Doncaster and Nottingham, and be a mother (to Rueben), so I decided to come back home, to Nottingham.”

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @Josh Dixon Lyndsey barking the orders as captain of Nottingham Forest.

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