Lucy Clark has become the first trans manager in English football, after taking over the reins of her childhood club Sutton United Women.
Clark’s first match with the fifth-tier side was on Sunday, and though it ended in defeat, her track record on the touchline is enough to fill Sutton United supporters with hope. She set up TRUK United, a trans-inclusive grassroots team, in 2021 and has led the side to three league titles since.
Clark has made history in football before, becoming the first trans referee in the world in 2018, and has since served as a beacon for other aspiring trans players, managers and referees.
Clark’s appointment comes at a time when transphobia in sport – women’s sport in particular – is at an all-time high. In December, 48 MPs signed a letter to the FA, asking for a change in trans inclusion policies in order to ‘protect’ women and girls in football.
Just one month before that, multiple teams in a South Yorkshire league refused to play against Rossington Main Ladies, after a shot from trans player Francesca Needham injured an opponent. Needham was eventually forced to quit the team.
As trans panic is perpetuated and spread online by public figures and ordinary folk alike, Clark’s new role is a major win for trans people in football.
Here’s to more historic moments from Clark and all the trailblazers in the trans community that come after her.