Burton Wanderers / Beacon Wanderers
The idea for Derby County Football Club Women was born by Sheila Rollinson and Jess Reid, who wanted to establish a womens football club in the Derby and Burton area. After advertising for players in the Burton Mail and the Derby Evening Telegraph, they established Burton Wanderers. Their inaugural season in 1978 saw them compete in the Midlands League, playing their home games at Shobnall Fields in Burton. They later moved to compete in the Nottingham League.
With the demise of Derby Rangers in 1985, a number of experienced players joined the club, which changed its name to Beacon Wanderers after striking a sponsorship deal with The Beacon Hotel. The club moved to play their home games in Derby, with matches held at both Lees Brook School and Parker's Piece.
Formation of Derby County Ladies FC
In 1990, John Jarman helped to establish the community department at Derby County Football Club, leading to a discussion with Beacon Wanderers that eventually saw the formation of Derby County Ladies FC. Training was moved to the DCFC Ramarena training ground. In 1993, the FA was instructed by UEFA to take over the running of womens football, leading to the formation of a national league structure. Derby County FC Ladies were to be a founding member of the Midland Combination League.
Turn of the Century
In 2001/02, DCLFC recruited for their first official youth squads, which saw teams representing the club in the Notts Girls League, both teams enjoying League and Cup success. Unfortunately the senior team didn't replicate this, succumbing to relegation to the Unison East Midlands League. The club used the following season to consolidate and even reached the semi-finals of the League Cup.
The 2003/04 season saw further expansion of the youth squads, accompanied by a positive season from the senior squad. The team reached the final of the League Cup, and finished as runners-up in the Unison East Midlands Premier Division. The 2004/05 season was to prove successful for DCLFC, with the club claiming a League and Cup double, gaining promotion to the Midland Combination League.
Derby County Ladies FC participated as a founder member of the FA Midland Centre of Excellence programme in the 2005/06 season, further developing the young offering provided. The senior squad was able to secure a 4th place finish in their return to the Midland Combination League.
Following multiple seasons in the Midland Combination League, in the 2008/09 season, DCLFC were crowned winners of the league following victory in the last game of the season at Pride Park Stadium. This meant promotion to the Women's Premier League.
Women's Premier League
The 2009/10 season saw Derby County Ladies FC make their debut in the Women's Premier League. Despite a tough opening season, the club secured it's Premier League status late in the season. The seasons to follow saw DCLFC continue to establish themselves in the Women's Premier League.
The 2012/13 season saw the FA announced the formation of the Women's Super League. Clubs in the Women's Premier League were invited to apply to join the newly formed league, however, Derby County Ladies FC fell short of the criteria required to join the newly formed league.
A New Era
From the 2013/14 season, the club looked to address some of the issues that left the club short in it's desire to play in the Women's Super League. Duncan Gibb was appointed as Chief Executive, and started to address the state of off-the-field matters.
In the 2014/15 season, as the club continued to develop both on and off the pitch, the club placed as runners-up for the FA Club of the Year award at the FA Awards. On the same night, Sheila Rollinson was honoured with an award for 'Outstanding Contribution to Women's Football'.
The 2015/16 seasons saw DCLFC appoint a Board of Directors to oversee the direction of the club. The club was rewarded for their continual development over recent years when they were awarded the Derby City Club of the Year award, before being awarded the 'FA Premier League Club of the Year' award at the FA Awards. The club relocated to Mickleover Sports' Don Amott Arena in 2016.
In the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons, the club continued to make strides both on and off the pitch. The club began training at Derby County's Moor Farm training centre, as part of a closer relationship with the men's team. A #OneClub approach was now being formed, with Derby County providing support for DCLFC.
The 2018/19 season saw the Ewe Rams play at Pride Park Stadium in front of their biggest home crowd, with over 2,000 fans in attendance. The club continued to deliver on the pitch, finishing joint second place in the Women's National League Northern Premier Division.
2019/20 saw another bumper crowd at Pride Park Stadium and the Ewe Rams in second place, before the season was curtailed owing to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The club also saw a rebrand as Derby County Ladies FC was to become Derby County Football Club Women.
A Governance Board was implemented, to sit alongside the Operational Board, strengthening the link between DCFC and DCFCW, with key DCFC personnel joining the board of DCFCW.
Despite a late start, the 2020/21 season was also curtailed as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Derby County Football Club Women became a formal partner at Mickleover Sports' Don Amott Arena, becoming one of the few women's clubs in the country to own their own ground.
The 2021/22 season was one of success for the Ewe Rams, securing a second place finish in the Women's National League Northern Premier Division.
In March 2023, it was announced that from the beginning of the 2023/24 season, the Ewe Rams would fully integrate into Derby County Football Club along with the formation of a new elite player pathway. DCFCW completed the 2022/23 season with a fourth place finish in the Women's National League Northern Premier Division. In April 2023, it was announced that general manager, Duncan Gibb would step down at the end of the 2022/23 season following 10 years with the Ewe Rams.
Integration with Derby County Football Club
More club historyto follow.