Trophy Success for Droylsden in Glasgow

This weekend Droylsden Town over 50s women’s walking football team won at the Glasgow Life tournament. In fact, in a highly competitive tournament that had teams from across Britain, Droylsden had entered two teams in the 6-a-side competition. The draw kept them apart during the group stages, but both teams managed to win their groups, which meant they also missed each other in the knock out stage.

Ultimately, they both won through to the final that meant that the Over 50s final, played close to Hampden Park at the Toryglen football centre, was an all Droylsden final.

A tense final saw the teams evenly matched, with the game ending 2-2. A penalty shootout was needed to determine the winners.

The trophy was presented by legendary Scottish footballer (and World Cup winner) Rose Reilly. Members of the two Droylsden teams have played competitive 11-a-side football at the highest levels possible earlier in their careers for a variety of prominent clubs including Manchester City, Manchester United, Manchester Corinthians, Doncaster Belles, Brontë, Cleveland Spartans and many more, including a Women’s FA Cup finalist.

Congratulations to Droylsden on your success and on bringing further honour to Manchester’s sporting life.

Here are a few of Droylsden’s goals from the competition. The first is a well worked team goal:

This is the first equalising goal in the final for the eventual winners:


Here’s a great goal from Lesley Wright:


City v Burnley

Today’s game with Burnley provides a great opportunity to remember some key games and stories from years gone by featuring the two clubs. I’ve written a lot about City & Burnley games over the years so sit back and get yourself in the mood for tonight’s game by having a look at these articles:

A game in 2001:

An amazing crowd for a second tier match:

Another incredible crowd for a City-Burnley match:

Sterling inspired City here:

One of my quests to find missing objects involves the 1904 FA Cup final ball. I know it was in Burnley for over 40 years and was still there in the 1950s but where is it today? Can you help find it? Have a read of this:

Jimmy Ross was a brilliant footballer for both City and Burnley but he’s often forgotten. You can find out who he was here:

More on Ross here:

John Bond managed both. Here’s an exclusive interview I did with him many years ago where we talked about his career at both:

A season when City and Burnley challenged each other for the title:

The earliest known surviving film of a City Ladies (now Women) match was against Burnley:

There are of course several articles mentioning Burnley manager Vincent Kompany’s time at MCFC. You can access some of them here:

The League Cup: City Women

On this day (March 5) in 2022 Manchester City’s women’s team faced Chelsea in the 11th final of the FA Women’s League Cup at Wimbledon. This was Chelsea’s third appearance in a League Cup final and they had won the previous two editions. City, who had won the competition three times, contested their fifth League Cup final. It was the first time the women’s teams had met in a major cup final. Manchester’s Blues won the final 3-1 with goals from Weir (49 & 69) and White (58).

You can read the BBC material on this final here:

The League Cup is a hugely important trophy to Manchester’s Blues and to commemorate that success here’s a piece looking at the history of the competition from Manchester City’s view point. The League Cup, sponsored by Continental during the seasons Manchester City first won the competition and therefore known as the Continental Cup, was the first national competition won after the relaunch of the women’s team. As such it became highly significant.

City supporter David Sheel explains how the first final was viewed: “The club put on some coaches for us. It was night match – that doesn’t help. It was played at Adams Park, Wycombe Wanderers’ ground. There were two coaches. The first was full of parents and young academy girls and a few supporters with the second just supporters. All free. We went – sadly a lot couldn’t go because it was a week night – and we played against Arsenal. A team full of established top players who had beat us 4-0 at City in the League. But, like semi final win over Chelsea at Hyde, there was just something about that night. Arsenal were all over us at times and did everything but score. Our defence was outstanding but we also had a few chances at the other end. Got to half-time nil-nil and you’re thinking ‘just one chance, please.’ I can remember the goal… Joey Johnston went down the line, whipped the ball in and Izzy Christiansen, the smallest player on the pitch, headed it in. There were four of us sat together – the coaches had arrived just before kick off so we’d had to leg it in and grab the first spaces you could find. The four of us jumped up but we were surrounded by Arsenal fans. They started giving us some abuse. The goal was in the 73rd minute and we hung on. 

“When the final whistle went I was as proud of that achievement as I was in 2011 when the men won the FA Cup. To me personally it was the same. I never ever felt I’d see the men win anything in my life and then the same was true with the women. I was so proud of the club. After that they did the trophy presentation and I picked up some of the tinsel that got fired out of the cannons when they did the presentation. All the players came over to the side afterwards. Jill Scott was showing me her medal. They shared it with the fans. They even let me put my hands on the trophy. We were all there together. A bit like the men and their success in 2011 I think this told the outside world that City were here to do business. Inside the club the ambition was there but until you win a major trophy the other clubs may not take you seriously.”

When I interviewed her in 2018-19 player Abbie McManus remembered: “That feeling of beating Arsenal, who have dominated women’s football for years and years. At the time we were perceived to be a bunch of nobodies that have just thrown a team together and everyone was saying you’re just throwing money at it. I didn’t actually play that game. I got sent off the game before so I missed it! But watching the game and the feeling of that win. Being the underdog. I don’t think that feeling will ever come back.”

Izzy Christiansen scored in the final and told me how she felt: “An amazing feeling to score in that game. There’s no other words to describe it. It was just probably one of the best days of my life, the fact that the ball hit the back of the net. The fact that it meant that we, as a team, and a club, got our first trophy. That kind of set us off on our journey really.  We had a taste of success at the start and that’s where we’ve stayed, wanting success.”

The Blues went on to win the Continental Cup in 2014, 2016, 2019 and then 2022. City’s finals:

2014 City 1 Arsenal 0

Goalscorer: Christiansen (73)

Attendance: 3,697 (Adams Park, High Wycombe).

Referee Nigel Lugg (Surrey)

2016 City 1 Birmingham City 0 (aet)

Goalscorer: Bronze (105)

Attendance: 4,214  (Academy Stadium, Manchester). 

Referee Rebecca Welch (Durham)

2019 Arsenal 0 City 0 (City won 4-2 on penalties)

Attendance: 2,424  (Bramall Lane, Sheffield). 

Referee Lucy Oliver (Newcastle)

2022 City 3 Arsenal 1

Goalscorers: Caroline Weir (49 & 69) and Ellen White (58).

Attendance: 8,004

Referee Lisa Benn

You can find out more about the history of City Women in my book Manchester City Women: An Oral History. Follow the link for details of how to buy:

Record Greater Manchester Club Attendance

I’m delighted to say that I was at the Etihad Stadium today when a record crowd for a women’s club game in Greater Manchester was set when 44,259 watched City draw 1-1 with United. This includes all home games by Greater Manchester’s clubs; WFA Cup finals played in the area and games played by Dick, Kerr Ladies and other prominent women’s clubs over the last 140 years or so. For those wondering the top four highest club attendances are:

  • 44,259 City v United, Etihad, December 2022
  • 31,213 City V United, Etihad, September 2019
  • 31,000 (occasionally reported as 35,000) Dick, Kerr Ladies v Bath Ladies, Old Trafford, January 1921
  • 30,196 United V Aston Villa, Old Trafford, December 2022

You can read about the first competitive women’s Manchester Derby, which occurred in 1990, here:

The 1st and Latest Women’s Manchester Derby in the League

Tomorrow is the latest Manchester derby in the Women’s Super League. There’s a long history of competition between teams representing the women of Manchester City and Manchester United. City’s team has been in existence continually since November 1988 when Donna Haynes and Heidi Ward both scored two goals in their first game (v Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park).

I was at the City Ladies (as they were then known) first game and I was also at their first league derby in September 1990 when City defeated United 4-3. It was a fantastic day, watched by around 150 people.

City’s goals came from Rhoda Taylor (8 min), Rachel O’Shaughnessy (43 mins), Jenny Newton (50 mins) and Lesley Peters. City’s manager Neil Mather told me as part of my research for the Manchester City Women book: ‘United were the top side, you know, and beating them was so good for morale. The men’s team were a good side in the early 90s when City Ladies carried on developing, you know. This was the Howard Kendall era, and City had top five finishes. City were one of the top five or six teams in the country at the time, so it was fabulous for women’s football to have Man City, you know.’

Helen Hempenstall played for City that day and she described her memory of the day for my book: I remember when we played United (30/9/90) and Neil (Helen’s boyfriend, now husband) and all his mates came to watch us. There were a lot of people there that day. United had a decent team then. It was always a difficult game against United. They had a right-winger… We never got on. Every time we played each other we were at each other all the way through the game. Me and Carol Woodall were having a go at her. The referee told Lesley Wright “Tell both your full backs to shut their mouths otherwise they’ll both be off!” We just didn’t get along and before every game I thought I’ll get in their first. ‘I’m having her.’ Neil Mather still talks about it.

‘I think Lesley Wright kept the team together. She kept it all tight at the back. I played at the back with her and I learnt a lot from her. Because I was next to her I knew how important she was. If I missed something she always got it. She always encouraged me and kept shouting ‘different class, different class’. You learn from the people around you and I listened to her. Before every game she came to speak to me. She’d put her arm around me and reassure me. She’d tell me not to worry about anything. Most of the time travelling to away games I’d go with Lesley in the car. We used to have a laugh. I remember one day we were travelling to an away game some distance away and we stopped for petrol and all got out. I lit up a fag and everyone else jumped back in the car screaming! I didn’t even think! When we got to the ground they all told Neil Mather and I think he worried that he could’ve lost half his team. At another game I was sat in the middle and as we got out the person before me slammed the door back. It hit my head and I had a big lump for the game.’

The story of that game and of the first 30 years or so of City Women’s existence can be read in my book on the club. It’s called Manchester City Women: An Oral History and is basically the women telling their stories of playing for the club and how they got into football, plus statistics covering the journey from friendlies in 1988-89 through to competition and the modern day successes.

You can buy the book via this link (every copy is signed by me):

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

December 5 each year marks the anniversary 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.

This is available to subscribers to my website.

Subscribe to get access – Annual

Read more of this content when you subscribe today. It costs £3 per month or £20 per year. Annual subscribers get access to everything posted since December 2020 and throughout their subscription.

Subscribe to get access – Monthly

Read more of this content when you subscribe today. It costs £3 per month or £20 per year. Monthly subscribers get access to everything posted since 1st October 2022 and throughout their subscription. Why not sign up for a month and give it a try?

Alternative Sites of Sports History – Free Download October 2022

Recently an academic article of mine offering advice and examples to those researching sports history or working within the industry was published. Normally, it is behind an academic paywall but you can download it for free during October here (it’s free, you may as well have a look):

The article has received publicity in publications/websites of football clubs including Middlesbrough and Manchester City. Here’s what City have said:

Rare Film of Manchester Women’s Football

Will McTaggart, who hosted a number of football film shows with me in the years before Covid, has alerted me to a new clip that’s been found by the BBC of the Manchester Corinthians women’s team of the 1960s. The Corinthians played from 1949 until the late 1980s (see elsewhere on this site for their story) and this clip is from March 1965. You can watch it here:

I’ve been researching and writing about the Manchester Corinthians and women’s football for many years (in fact my first book published in 1989 included material on the first games of Manchester City’s women’s team and I attended their matches back then). I’m currently working with the Corinthians and others to erect permanent tributes to them at Fog Lane Park which can be seen in this film.

British Society Of Sports History 40th Anniversary

The British Society of Sports History (BSSH) is a tremendous body of academics and historians who research, promote and progress the role of history within sport. I have been a member for many years and recently, to celebrate their 40th anniversary, I was asked to write an article offering advice, ideas & more to those researching sport history. The article has recently been published and can be downloaded here for free (follow the link below):

In the article I talk of the great work being done by several historians, including Tosh Warwick and Tony Collins, and sports clubs. I talk about research into women’s football at Manchester City and the club’s badge redesign project.

It will only be free to download for the month of October, so get it while you can. Thanks to the BSSH for giving me this opportunity.

You can find out more about the BSSH and what they do here:

Women’s Football Interviews and Videos

If you’re interested in women’s football or in football in Trafford or Manchester here are some video interviews we did as part of the work on the #WEuro2022 Heritage Lottery funded project for Trafford. These interviews are with women who played for Manchester Corinthians, Manchester City, Manchester United, FC Redstar, & Macclesfield:

We start with Jan Lyons:

Now Gail Robertson:

Next Lesley Wright:

Finally, Jane Morley:

Here’s an interesting clip of the Corinthians playing in 1960:

Margaret Shepherd and Margaret Whitworth were also filmed as part of the wider project (they were interviewed by Wigan & Leigh). Here they are:

Margaret Whitworth actually appears on this BBC clip from 1960 playing:

Also, here’s my talk explaining about the history of women’s football:

This talk on the history of women’s football was staged at the National Football Museum on 1st July as part of my work on a consultancy basis with Trafford local archives. The talk lasts about 47 mins. Enjoy!

There will be a video of the panel discussion mentioned in this talk that will appear as a part 2 later. Maybe next week?

The Trafford Archive website I mention during my talk is available here: