Rachel Brown-Finnis has become the first Burnley-born player to be inducted into the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame.
The England women legend, who earned 82 caps for her country in an international career spanning from 1997 to 2013, is part of this year’s entry to the prestigious list.
It’s really exciting, and I look forward to sharing the induction in October with my family in ManchesterRachel Brown-Finnis
The 35-year-old will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame at a celebratory dinner in October, and she was thrilled to join an exclusive band of players, including fellow 2016 inductees David Seaman and Neville Southall.
Inductees are chosen by a panel featuring the likes of Museum President Sir Bobby Charlton, Vice President Sir Alex Ferguson and Gordon Taylor, and Rachel was thrilled by the accolade: “It is amazing. I found out a month ago when I got an e-mail from the FA, and it is brilliant news.
“It’s completely surreal!
“I never thought I would be up for a nomination at this level, in this company.
“It seemed unreal until the press release came out this week and I got a lot of messages on facebook and twitter congratulating me.
“It’s really exciting, and I look forward to sharing the induction in October with my family in Manchester.”
She added: “It’s fantastic to be recognised along with some fellow goalkeepers, Big Nev and David Seaman, and it is a real honour. I’m really pleased. And it’s great to see women’s football represented with myself and Rachel Unitt, who I played with for England.
“It’s a sign of the times.
“We played together through the growth of women’s football, as it was, and as it is now, and that’s one of the things I’m most proud of.
“It’s surreal when you look at the list of players who have previously been inducted, there are some real legends of the game, and I’m humbled.”
It is the latest in a long line of honours for Rachel, who played at World Cups and European Championships, and was selected for the FIFA All-Star team in 2007, before the pinnacle of her career – selection for the first-ever Great Britain women’s football squad at the London Olympics in 2012.
And the former Liverpool and Everton keeper added: “It’s nice to reflect on it like that, when you’re playing, you have an ambition to play in the World Cup, the Euros, and I got the chance to go to the Olympics, but you don’t really think about individual accolades.
“It never entered my mind, so this is super-special.”
It was welcome news as she recovered from her exertions in Sunday’s Asda Foundation Burnley 10k, and she will be pulling on the gloves again on Sunday in a charity match for Breast Cancer Awareness in Leamington.