Trafford Women’s Euros Project

Did you play football for a women’s team in the Trafford area or are you a female footballer from Trafford? If so, I’m keen to interview you for a new Heritage Lottery Funded project seeking to capture the stories of women footballers who came from the Trafford borough. Already I’ve heard from players connected with Manchester United’s original women’s team; FC Redstar; Trafford Ladies, Manchester Corinthians and more BUT I’m keen to capture as many stories as possible over the coming weeks. The project is part of a wider project connected with the Women’s Euros to be staged this summer (See below for details).

There are some excellent people in Trafford involved with the project and in the wider national project too. I’m delighted to be working with them. The interviews from this last week or so the first interviews with former footballers connected with Trafford occurred and the stories they have told will help the project enormously. We need more though and, not only that, but fans can contribute too.

Maybe you can help the project? We’re keen to capture your stories and memories. The details are:

In preparation for the Women’s Euros which will open at Old Trafford at the start of July Trafford Local Studies are keen to interview women who have played football. We are particularly keen on hearing the stories of women footballers from the borough or from women who played for teams within Trafford. 

For those uncertain the Trafford borough covers a number of towns and areas including Altrincham, Bowden, Flixton, Irlam, Old Trafford, Sale, Stretford, Timperley, Trafford Park and Urmston. If you are a woman from the area and played football then please get in touch. Also, if you played either for or against a team from the Trafford area then we also want to hear your memories of that game.

The Trafford area has incredibly strong links to the history of women’s football. In 1921 a game between Dick, Kerr Ladies and Bath Ladies at Old Trafford was watched by over 30,000 and over the following century significant games were staged at White City, Stretford, Timperley and other venues in our borough.

Over the last fifty years or so many prominent local teams have developed and played in the area such as Sale Hotel, Trafford, Redstar, Urmston and many others, while women from Trafford have played for prominent teams outside of the borough. 

We are keen to hear the memories of women who have contributed to this rich history of women’s football in the area. If you are from Trafford or played for a team based in our borough then please get in touch. Your memories will help to develop our archive and ensure future generations are aware of the experiences of women footballers. 

In addition, we are keen to locate objects, match programmes and memorabilia associated with women’s football, so if you have an item that you feel may help please get in touch. If you’ve got objects/images/programmes but don’t want to be interviewed please get in touch anyway – your collection will help us develop a wider understanding of women’s football in the area and the aim is to record as much about our teams as possible over the next few weeks.

If you would like to help then please email me via gary@GJFootballArchive.com

This project is part of a National Lottery Heritage funded progamme which seeks to bring this history into the light through a number of physical and virtual exhibitions, and to create a documentary record of the game at this moment, through oral history interviews with local players and fans and a contemporary collecting programme. 

Here’s some background from earlier this year:

https://www.trafford.gov.uk/residents/news/articles/2022/20220114-History-of-women%27s-football-to-be-revealed-and-celebrated-by-UEFA-Women%27s-EURO-2022-Heritage-Programme.aspx

Women’s Football Project

A week or so ago I announced that I’m working on a new Heritage Lottery Funded project seeking to capture the stories of women footballers who came from the Trafford borough or who women who played football at sites within Trafford. There are some excellent people in Trafford involved with the project and I’m delighted to be working with them. The project is part of a wider project connected with the Women’s Euros to be staged this summer (See below for details). This week the first interviews with former footballers connected with Trafford occurred and the stories they have told will help the project enormously. We need more though and, not only that, but fans can contribute too.

The above image provides details of an event at the National Football Museum which seeks to create a Women’s Euros footballing anthem for the Manchester region and the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra are keen to have input from fans, players and anyone with a strong interest in women’s football within the region. I know part of the event clashes with a MCFC men’s game but I’ve been assured that attendees can pop in for a time and won’t need to be there for the entire session. I’m not involved with the organisation or the main aspects of the day but I do intend popping in during the late morning if I can.

Alongside this, the call out to woman who have played football still stands and I’m keen to hear from Trafford women or women who played games in Trafford. Maybe you can help the project? We’re keen to capture your stories and memories. The details are:

In preparation for the Women’s Euros which will open at Old Trafford at the start of July Trafford Local Studies are keen to interview women who have played football. We are particularly keen on hearing the stories of women footballers from the borough or from women who played for teams within Trafford. 

For those uncertain the Trafford borough covers a number of towns and areas including Altrincham, Bowden, Flixton, Irlam, Old Trafford, Sale, Stretford, Timperley, Trafford Park and Urmston. If you are a woman from the area and played football then please get in touch. Also, if you played either for or against a team from the Trafford area then we also want to hear your memories of that game.

The Trafford area has incredibly strong links to the history of women’s football. In 1921 a game between Dick, Kerr Ladies and Bath Ladies at Old Trafford was watched by over 30,000 and over the following century significant games were staged at White City, Stretford, Timperley and other venues in our borough. In fact on this day (7 April) in 1968 the renowned Manchester Corinthians played Kippax Ladies (from Yorkshire not Maine Road!) at the White City Stadium (see image above).

Over the last fifty years or so many prominent local teams have developed and played in the area such as Sale Hotel, Trafford, Redstar, Urmston and many others, while women from Trafford have played for prominent teams outside of the borough. 

We are keen to hear the memories of women who have contributed to this rich history of women’s football in the area. If you are from Trafford or played for a team based in our borough then please get in touch. Your memories will help to develop our archive and ensure future generations are aware of the experiences of women footballers. 

In addition, we are keen to locate objects, match programmes and memorabilia associated with women’s football, so if you have an item that you feel may help please get in touch. 

If you would like to help then please email me via gary@GJFootballArchive.com

This project is part of a National Lottery Heritage funded progamme which seeks to bring this history into the light through a number of physical and virtual exhibitions, and to create a documentary record of the game at this moment, through oral history interviews with local players and fans and a contemporary collecting programme. 

Here’s some background from earlier this year:

https://www.trafford.gov.uk/residents/news/articles/2022/20220114-History-of-women%27s-football-to-be-revealed-and-celebrated-by-UEFA-Women%27s-EURO-2022-Heritage-Programme.aspx

Women Footballers

I’m delighted to say that I’m working on a new project capturing the stories of women who played football. The project is part of a wider project connected with the Women’s Euros to be staged this summer (See below for details). If you are a woman who has played football then maybe you can help the project. We’re keen to capture your stories and memories. The details are:

In preparation for the Women’s Euros which will open at Old Trafford at the start of July Trafford Local Studies are keen to interview women who have played football. We are particularly keen on hearing the stories of women footballers from the borough or from women who played for teams within Trafford. 

For those uncertain the Trafford borough covers a number of towns and areas including Altrincham, Bowden, Flixton, Irlam, Old Trafford, Sale, Stretford, Timperley, Trafford Park and Urmston. If you are a woman from the area and played football then please get in touch. Also, if you played either for or against a team from the Trafford area then we also want to hear your memories of that game.

The Trafford area has incredibly strong links to the history of women’s football. In 1921 a game between Dick, Kerr Ladies and Bath Ladies at Old Trafford was watched by over 30,000 and over the following century significant games were staged at White City, Stretford, Timperley and other venues in our borough. In fact on this day (7 April) in 1968 the renowned Manchester Corinthians played Kippax Ladies (from Yorkshire not Maine Road!) at the White City Stadium (see image above).

Over the last fifty years or so many prominent local teams have developed and played in the area such as Sale Hotel, Trafford, Redstar, Urmston and many others, while women from Trafford have played for prominent teams outside of the borough. 

We are keen to hear the memories of women who have contributed to this rich history of women’s football in the area. If you are from Trafford or played for a team based in our borough then please get in touch. Your memories will help to develop our archive and ensure future generations are aware of the experiences of women footballers. 

In addition, we are keen to locate objects, match programmes and memorabilia associated with women’s football, so if you have an item that you feel may help please get in touch. 

If you would like to help then please email me via gary@GJFootballArchive.com

This project is part of a National Lottery heritage programme which seeks to bring this history into the light through a number of physical and virtual exhibitions, and to create a documentary record of the game at this moment, through oral history interviews with local players and fans and a contemporary collecting programme. 

Here’s some background from earlier this year:

https://www.trafford.gov.uk/residents/news/articles/2022/20220114-History-of-women%27s-football-to-be-revealed-and-celebrated-by-UEFA-Women%27s-EURO-2022-Heritage-Programme.aspx

Women’s Football and the 1921 FA Ban

Recently, I was one of the co-authors of an academic article looking at how the FA’s ban on women’s football occurred and how it affected the development of the sport. It also compared that ban with what occurred in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland. Some assume a ‘one size fits all’ approach but that was definitely not the case and it is important that national and regional histories of women’s football are performed to fully understand what was happening. As with men’s football, each region is different and this article was an attempt to help develop a wider understanding. You can read the article here (It’s free to download so you may as well have a look):

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17460263.2021.2025415

In that article there’s talk of a male coach who was punished by the FA for being involved in women’s football – this wasn’t in the 1920s. It was post WW2 and demonstrates that the FA Ban wasn’t simply about stopping women from playing on FA approved ground. It was more involved than that. To my knowledge, apart from an earlier biographical article I wrote, that had never been identified in academic writing or work on women’s football.

Too often people assume that what was true in, say, Birmingham was also true in Leicester. Or that research into something occurring in Burnley would explain what happened in Manchester, but it doesn’t. I’ve outlined in research into the origins of men’s football that the wider Manchester conurbation followed a different path than towns in Lancashire that were only a few miles further north than Manchester. Even within Greater Manchester what happens in Bolton or Wigan for either men’s or women’s football could be considerably different than what happened in Hyde, Altrincham or Gorton.

Here’s hoping women’s football gets the breadth of regional studies that it needs to ensure we have a good understanding of what happened town by town, region by region. My December talk at Hebden Bridge added evidence connected with that part of West Yorkshire (nowhere near enough of course!) and my project on female participation and involvement in Manchester is aiming to document how women’s football developed there, together with wider involvement and interest in football by women.

Quite a few articles appear on my website here about women’s football. Most are free to download. Use the tags, tabs, search and categories to find more. Thanks.

#FABan Manchester Corinthians

At the start of December together with Geoff Matthews I staged a talk at Hebden Bridge on the FA ban of women’s football. It was a wonderful night and lots of attendees asked about the future and what they could do to help promote the stories of the women who played at a time when the FA tried to kill female participation in the sport. Well, today I want to talk about recognising the Manchester Corinthians.

As part of my longstanding project into female participation and involvement in football in Manchester I have been researching a variety of teams, including the original Manchester United and Manchester City teams, and these will form part of a book that I will eventually produce (it’ll be a while before I can develop this in the way I want). The book will be of a similar scope to my Manchester A Football History on men’s football.

Margaret Shepherd and Margaret Whitworth with me prior to the Hebden Bridge event

One of the key teams in Manchester’s football history is Manchester Corinthian Ladies. The team existed from the 1940s into the 1980s (some of their story appears in my book on Manchester City Women as several of their late 1970s players played for City in its inaugural season).

A lot has been written on the Corinthians (see the section on women’s football on this site for a few examples) but not nearly enough, plus there are some inaccuracies out there that need to be corrected. Basically, this team possessed a talented group of players who toured Europe and South America promoting football, female endeavour and Manchester.

I talked quite a bit about Corinthians at Hebden Bridge and we were fortunate to have three Corinthians as guests that night. Margaret Whitworth, Margaret Shepherd and Lesley Wright between them covered every season of the club’s life from the 1950s through to its demise (maybe next time we’ll get one of the players from the 1940s too).

What became clear was that we need to recognise these players further. on the night I mentioned my idea of having a plaque erected for the Corinthians in a significant/related location in Manchester. Several members of the audience thought this was a wonderful idea and asked if they could support the wider promotion of the Corinthians.

Previously I’d written an article in the Manchester City men’s match programme about the Corinthians and highlighted my desire to get a plaque erected about their achievements.

The talk at Hebden Bridge

Since that night I have written to appropriate people at Manchester City Council about the Corinthians and the idea, suggesting a location and asking what we need to do. I’m still awaiting a reply sadly but I will be pursuing this again soon. If possible it would be great if anyone who can help make this happen gets in touch.

Those present at Hebden Bridge – and anyone else reading this – can help by raising the topic with Manchester City Council or any other body you feel can help. Manchester has plaques connected with men’s football but nothing highlighting the incredible achievements of its female footballers. Those women represented Manchester and England in a positive manner and won trophies in South America for example before either men’s club represented the city there. They also won a significant European competition before either men’s team yet their achievements are not recognised by the city.

With the women’s Euros being in England (and various sites in Greater Manchester) this year I would love to do talks and other events in Manchester celebrating the Corinthians and Manchester’s other teams. The event at Hebden Bridge was free to attend and was made possible by the support of a locally based business. We felt it was vital we made this free to attend to spread the word.

If anyone runs a key Manchester venue and would like a Corinthians celebration event then please get in touch. The more we can do to promote their story the better.

Thanks for reading this. If you would like to find out more about the Corinthians then follow the tabs on this site or use the search function. If you’d like to know more about the FA Ban then you can download for free an article I’ve recently co-written here:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17460263.2021.2025415

Copies of my book on Manchester City Women are still available. This tells the history of City Women via the voices of the women (and some men) involved. The book has been heralded as a model for oral histories by the Oral History Society.

Here’s a link you can follow to order a signed copy of the City Women book:

Here’s the Oral History Society review:

Watch this space for more on the Corinthians and women’s football over the coming months. Thanks – now use the tabs and search to learn more on women’s football in Manchester. Ta!

New Article: ‘The game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged’

Together with Fiona Skillen, Helena Byrne and John Carrier I have co-authored an article on women’s football and the impact of the 1921 #FABan. The reason we wrote this academic article was to highlight that too often we assume that what happened in England is what happened across Great Britain and Ireland. It isn’t and in this piece you can read an overview of each nation and what occurred. The article is open access/free to read here:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/10.1080/17460263.2021.2025415

I hope you enjoy that. We do see this article as a means of highlighting the differences and we see this as a call for more detailed research, properly triangulated, to ensure we uncover the true development of women’s football across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland. No book has yet been published that comes anywhere close to telling the development of women’s football across each of these nations with some making assumptions that are simply not valid across each nation. Our article cannot cover everything but I hope it gives a taster for the topic.

Special thanks to Glasgow Caledonian University for making this open access. It really is appreciated.

It is worth reading the piece (well, it’s free so you may as well have a look!) to see what happened in your part of the UK and Ireland. For those with a Greater Manchester interest you’ll see mention of Manchester United, Bolton Wanderers, Manchester Corinthians and Manchester Ladies. Some interesting stuff on crowds. Also, if you’re a fan of Stoke City, Manchester City, Manchester United, Oldham Athletic or Everton you can see what happened to their former player Jimmy Broad when he tried to train a women’s football team in the 1950s!

I have written other academic articles on women’s football but these tend to be behind a publisher’s paywall. If you have access via a library or university here’s one that may be of interest:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17460263.2020.1818613

While I’m talking about academic articles, one of my earlier articles on Manchester football is still free to read/download here:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17460263.2013.873075

#FABan – No Man Could Stop Us!

On Friday December 3 2021 I staged an event at Hebden Bridge Town Hall to mark the centenary of the FA Ban of women’s football being played on FA affiliated grounds. The ban, which also meant that those working for FA affiliated clubs could be punished if they were involved in coaching or organising women’s football teams, lasted until 1970. The event included a presentation on the history of women’s football and interviews with former players from Manchester Corinthians, Manchester City, Manchester United, Doncaster Belles and England. Here’s a few details about the night.

Firstly I’d like to thank Margaret Whitworth, Margaret Shepherd, Lesley Wright, Jane Morley, Gail Redston and Issy Pollard for their contribution to the night. I’d also like to thank Geoff Matthews and his company Cansquared for sponsoring the evening.

Over eighty people came to Hebden Bridge Town Hall for this important event. During the evening I walked through the history of the women’s game, highlighting the development of the sport during the period from 1880 to 1914 – a time which saw high profile games and clubs become established in a number of locations (including Manchester and Liverpool).

The presentation moved on to talk about the developments during World War One and the establishment of several prominent teams, including Dick, Kerr Ladies of course and Huddersfield Atalanta. I also explained the extent of the game by 1921. Some often talk about a few high profile games and they are important but, for me, it’s the extent to which the sport penetrates down the levels that is most important. At the talk I explained about events in Hebden Bridge and other places where women’s football was openly discussed or promoted in 1921.

I discussed the ridiculous reasons the FA claimed for banning women’s football – health and financial mismanagement – and how they could easily have been challenged or investigated properly if the FA had actually wanted to promote the sport.

During the evening I also gave examples of men who were punished for coaching women’s teams – including a groundsman from the 1950s! This for me is important as it demonstrates that the FA did punish people and did want to kill off female participation.

The presentation saw the story of women’s football brought into the 21st Century but the best part of the evening for me was without doubt the interviews with the former players who were our guests that night. These interviews were with Margaret Whitworth (Manchester Corinthians), Margaret Shepherd (Manchester Corinthians), Lesley Wright (Manchester Corinthians, Manchester City & more), Jane Morley (Manchester United, Redstar & more), Gail Redston (Manchester City, Oldham & more) and Issy Pollard (Bronte, Doncaster Belles & England).

In the audience were several other footballers including Stacey Copeland and others who played for Manchester City, Redstar and other teams from Greater Manchester and Yorkshire.

Hopefully, I’ll get to post some of the interviews from the night here one day, but in the meantime follow the links below to read other features on the Manchester Corinthians, Manchester City etc. Don’t forget there are also a limited number of copies of my Manchester City Women: An Oral History book available via my shop page here:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/category/womens-football-2/page/2/

Manchester City and Women’s Football Before and During the FA Ban

December 5 2021 marks the centenary of a FA decision that was to have an impact for decades, many would argue that the effects of it are still being felt today. On December 5 1921 the FA leaders decided to ban women’s football from FA affiliated grounds. This ban was to remain in place for almost fifty years and stifled the development of the women’s game. Here’s a feature on the connections between Manchester City and the women who played before and during the ban.

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#FA Ban – Tonight’s Show

I’m really looking forward to tonight’s ‘No Man Could Stop Us!’ show at Hebden Bridge Town Hall. If you are coming then feel free to use the hashtag #FABan when mentioning it on social media. We have some excellent guests and I’ll be highlighting the history of women’s football from the nineteenth century through to the 1921 FA ban. I’ll then explain what happened to the sport over the following 50 years, until it was officially lifted in January 1970. We’ll be hearing from players who had lengthy careers with Manchester Corinthians, Manchester City, Manchester United, Redstar, Bronte, Doncaster Belles and England. It promises to be an excellent night.

Late next week I’ll post an article here on the evening’s events for those unable to make it. The evening has been sponsored by Geoff Matthews and his company Cansquared – thank you for all your support and enthusiasm.

No Man Could Stop Us!

On Friday 3 I’ll be talking about the FA ban on women playing on FA affiliated grounds. It will be the centenary of the ban on December 5 2021 and ill be talking with women who played during the ban in the 50s and 60s and others who played in the 70s onwards. Incredibly the FA ban wasn’t lifted until 1970 and even then the FA did nothing to promote female participation. Details of the talk below (follow the link):

Thanks to CanSquared for sponsoring the event and enabling us to do this for free.