Hopes are high that England’s incredible Women’s Euro success will trickle down to the pitches of Wiltshire.

Players, coaches and parents across the county have been avidly watching the progress of the Lionesses as they inspire a nation with their resilience, skill and positivity.

Swindon Town Women’s director of football Tom Hartley said there had never been a better time for the women’s game after the national side convincingly beat Sweden to reach the tournament final.

“I am incredibly proud of the team, and very excited for the ripple effect that will inspire boys and girls," he said.

“This is bigger than just sport. Football is part of the fabric of the nation and ladies’ football is now finding its place. Regardless of the result, England have won already.”

Hartley said it was important to realise that England’s journey was far from an overnight transformation, and that it resulted from clear decision-making and direction over many years.

And he said there was much that the men’s game could learn from the women’s sport.

“There’s a real acceptance that people can be the people they want to be," he said.

“And there is the way in which the game is humble, grounded and communicating with its fans.

“The England players stayed on the pitch for at least 20 minutes after the game. That is what being a sportsperson is about.”

Hartley is particularly pleased with the rise of England’s first scorer from last night, Beth Mead, who is the joint highest scorer at a Women’s European Championship.

He worked with her while at Arsenal, and said: “I feel incredibly happy for players like Beth who are now getting their moment in the sun.”

He added: “As a society, people are talking about women’s football more. It’s a long win and we can’t go back from this. The game is going to get bigger and bigger, and clubs like Swindon are going to benefit from it.

Former Arsenal and England men’s star Ian Wright made a passionate plea for change in Britain’s schools after last night’s victory.

The BBC pundit said: "Whatever happens in the final now, if girls are not allowed to play football in their PE - just like the boys can - what are we doing?

"We have got to make sure they are able to play and get the opportunity to do so. If there's no legacy to this – like with the Olympics – then what are we doing as this is as proud as I've ever felt of any England side."

Hartley added: “I hope football clubs which aren’t investing now see a reason to do so.”

Swindon Town Women play in Division One South West, where they finished seventh last season.

Further down the football pyramid, at Melksham Town Ladies, the positivity is also being felt.

The club’s social media editor Mel Paterson said the times were changing.

The club finished second in the Wiltshire Ladies Premier League last season.

Paterson said: “I really hope that England Ladies making it this far into the competition will have a long lasting, positive effect on girls’ football in general up and down the country. As someone who has played myself since I was eight, girls’ football has always been overshadowed by the boys and men.

“It has got better over the last few years, there seems to be much more support now than there was when I was younger which is positive as it proves that it’s definitely going in the right direction, albeit slowly, but it’s getting there.

“I just hope that the competition as a whole will provide a platform to attract an influx of all ages of girls, to at least give it a try and engage in the sport. Even if you’re an older girl, it’s definitely worth testing the waters.”

Both Hartley and Paterson have no doubt that there will be a happy ending on Sunday, when England will meet either Germany or France in the final.

Hartley said: “England are going to win. Football’s coming home.”

  • For more information about Swindon Town Women, go to their website.
  • To get involved with Melksham Town, go to its Facebook page. The side is currently on the lookout for a new goalie.
  • To find out about how to get involved in girls’ and women’s football, go to the England Football site.