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New TV documentary focuses on the remarkable story of former Arsenal and Wales star Jayne Ludlow

01 Apr 2022 3 minute read
Jayne Ludlow Head Coach of Wales Women during 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Group 1 qualifier match between England and Wales at St.Mary’s, Southampton FC.  (Photo by Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A new documentary on BBC Wales next week pays tribute to the former Arsenal and Wales star Jayne Ludlow.

Airing on BBC One Wales on 4 April, the last episode in the current run of the Legends of Welsh Sport series focuses on Jayne’s remarkable career both as a player and Wales national team manager and her current job looking after Manchester City’s academy.

Featuring footage from throughout her playing and managerial career, the programme also includes additional interviews with her parents, as well as former players and coaches including Laura McAllister and former Arsenal Women’s coach Vic Akers.

As a little girl growing up in Blaenrhondda, Jayne lived and breathed football, joining her father, a former professional  footballer, every Saturday as he managed the local team.

She played the game at a time when girls didn’t have their own leagues or teams and after playing for Treherbert Boys until the age of 11, she was stopped from playing competitively.

Barry Town

With no route for young girls to play football, Jayne took up athletics where she became a rising star in the triple jump.

A member of the British Athletics squad, she was aiming for glory in track and field until the opportunity came up to play for Barry Town.

She quit athletics and joined the most forward-thinking women’s team in Wales – a decision that catapulted her to the top.

Success at Barry attracted the attention of one of the biggest clubs in Europe – Arsenal. She joined them in 2000 and went on to lift 26 trophies and score 211 goals in a 13-year career at the club (her goal scoring record 2nd only to Thierry Henry in the club’s history books).

As captain she also became the first British woman to lift the Champions League trophy in 2007 when her team also won the FA Cup, League Cup and League title – the first to clinch the fabled quadruple.

Linda Bresonik of Germany (R) is beaten to the ball by Jayne Ludlow. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.

She played 61 times for Wales, scoring 19 times before being appointed national coach in 2014.

At the time the side was under funded with a lack of infrastructure but during her time in charge she won 15 of 39 games, drawing 13 and losing 11 before leaving her role with the FAW last year.

Current Wales internationals Natasha Harding and Helen Ward, who played under Ludlow, discuss how she revitalised the squad, changing their mindset and bringing a sense of professionalism and confidence previously missing, ultimately leading them through two qualifying campaigns where they narrowly missed out on their first ever major tournament.

Legends of Welsh Sport: Jayne Ludlow is on BBC One Wales at 8pm on Monday 4 April and will also be available on BBC iPlayer.

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