THIS time 12 months ago, Bradford City Women celebrated the inaugural Women’s Football Weekend with a 6-0 victory at home to Ripon City Ladies.

Across the whole country. women’s football took centre stage, with record-breaking crowds at Women's Super League games, as teams took advantage of the international break to stage their matches at what have been traditionally the men’s stadiums.

This year’s WFW will be a little different, with the new lockdown meaning that while the WSL goes ahead, non-elite sport is on hold, including City's own FA Women's National League Division One North season.

So with no football to report on, City have been speaking to long-standing, and imminently-retiring, chairwoman Sally Thackray.

Thackray has been at the club virtually from its inception, and she spoke to City's secretary Matthew Kermode about her long journey from player’s parent to leading the club.

She laughed: “I became involved with Bradford City Women's FC in 1998 when my daughter joined the Under-10s. She is 31 now and I haven't managed to leave yet.

“For the next two seasons I managed one of the U12s seven-a-side teams, gaining my FA Coaching Level 1 in the process.

“We had two successful seasons, first winning the league, and then the League Cup. The girls' development was also a key feature.

“After that I became involved as a committee member. Due to my professional career being in HR, I had the specific responsibility of recruiting managers and coaches and for diversity and equality issues.

“In 2003, I became the club secretary by default, as there was no-one else able to take it on.

“This was quite a baptism of fire, as there was no handover with the previous secretary and there was an awful lot to learn.

“This was at a time when I had a stressful full-time job, as well as two teenagers to get to their very different hobbies. I also completed part-time and Masters degrees in this period.

“A couple of seasons later, we were left with virtually no other personnel to run the club apart from me, so I then took on the chair role, in addition to the secretary job.

“A few very busy seasons followed, but I managed to secure some more help from both inside and externally to the club, so we had the main tasks covered.

“During this time, I began a long term project of trying to develop a closer relationship with our male counterparts at Bradford City.

“It is fair to say that this has gone from strength to strength, and we have moved closer together with each season.

“Now at the men's club, while there is more scope to move even closer, there is a much more open relationship and appreciation of the value that women's football has.

“The men's club has involved us as part of the Bradford City Family, and supported us where able. I would look back on this as one of the best achievements in my time as chair.”

Thackray will step down from her role this winter to enjoy a well-earned retirement, which will allow her to spend much more time with her family.

Meanwhile, the club finds itself in a similar situation to when Thackray took the reins as chairwoman around 15 years ago.

Her departure, along with treasurer Allyson Matthews, will see the club potentially run by a committee of only two or three people.

Now is therefore the perfect time to become involved in supporting the club, from media or matchday assistance right through to the top job.