Sunday, August 7, 2022

Mary Earps: “Mary Queen of Stops has a heart of gold who always had time for the younger fans”

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Neil Evans was the public announcer when Mary Earps was at Bristol Academy and says football success couldn’t happen to a nicer person

The England goalkeeper, who played a starring role at Euro 2022, initially played football for the West Bridgford Colts under 10s before steadily climbing the football ranks, staying at Leicester City, Nottingham Forest, Doncaster Rovers Belles, Birmingham City, Bristol Academy and played Reading before joining German club Wolfsburg.

No matter how exhausted Mary Earps was after a match, she always found time to sign autographs and pose for photos with young fans.

Narrated by Neil Evans, who was PA spokesman on the Bristol Academy grounds while Mary was there I that Mary always got one of the biggest cheers when he announced her name and was popular with fans and fellow players alike.

He firmly believes that her kind-hearted manner and team ethics have contributed to her deserved fame as a footballer.

“After games, when Mary was understandably tired and probably wanted nothing more than to go to the dressing rooms, she spent longer than any other player signing autographs and posing for photos with young fans,” he says.

“The young girls just adored Mary and I’m sure she will have inspired many of them to go on and play football. She was a lovely person.”

Neil, who was also Bristol Academy mascot Vicky the Vixen for a time, says he’s watched Mary warm up and train and has always been impressed by her confidence and the way she wasn’t afraid when goalkeeper was in charge to take over.

He says “Mary Queen of Stops” is a great nickname for her given her excellent goalkeeping skills.

“Mary was very vocal and assertive and was great at organizing the players,” he says. “She was a really nice person off the pitch too and was a lot of fun to be around.

“Although goalkeeper is a very individual position, she has not behaved as if she were an individual but always part of the collective team.

“She helped and supported the younger goalkeepers and their underwriters and never worried about her place being stolen as it was always about helping others and knowing it was a team game.

“The team meant everything to her and it wasn’t about Mary Earps and that has continued throughout her career and I think that’s why she’s playing for England now.

“Goalkeepers are often blamed when things go wrong, but there is also a lot of glory. I think Mary deserves all the praise she gets. It’s great to see her show her talent to the fullest in England.”

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