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):

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17460263.2022.2117731?src=

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

https://www.mancity.com/news/club/sport-in-history-academic-journal-manchester-city-63800643

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):

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17460263.2022.2117731?src=

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:

https://www.sportinhistory.org

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHkt5rGOJ5E

Now Gail Robertson:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TO4nnHtp-U&feature=emb_logo

Next Lesley Wright:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPgjj84gHfw&feature=emb_imp_woyt

Finally, Jane Morley:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tbzsOIpO7I&feature=emb_imp_woyt

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:

https://bbcrewind.co.uk/asset/60bf2dbfc69ade0020ef3021?q=ladies%20football%20international%201972&size=30

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:

https://exploringtraffordsheritage.omeka.net/exhibits/show/traffordwomensfootball

Video of History Of Women’s Football Talk

If you’re interested in women’s football or in football in Trafford or Manchester then get your self a brew, settle down and enjoy this video of my talk before the big England-Northern Ireland match tonight. It’s part of my work on the #WEuro2022 Heritage Lottery funded project. Here goes:

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:

https://exploringtraffordsheritage.omeka.net/exhibits/show/traffordwomensfootball

#WEuro2022

The Women’s Euros start tomorrow with the opening match at Old Trafford between England and Austria. There are lots of great activities planned to coincide with the Euros and I’d like to take the opportunity to talk a little about some of what’s occurred as part of the Trafford element of the Heritage Lottery Funded project. Even if you’re not particularly interested in Trafford it’d be worth having a look at this to get a feel for how the project has gone and how you may be able to help track down former players, teams & more.

I’ve been working on a temporary basis with Trafford to capture the stories of women, teams & more, while also staging a few events and researching the history of women’s football within Trafford. My time with the project will end soon but it has been a great experience. So far we’ve managed to interview women who have been playing football either for Trafford based clubs or women who are from Trafford who have played for teams outside the borough. There have also been interviews with women who played significant games in Trafford.

A website has been set up to tell the stories and so far we’ve posted a few of those covering teams, games & players. There are further stories to be posted over the coming weeks but take a look here at the ones posted so far:

https://exploringtraffordsheritage.omeka.net/exhibits/show/traffordwomensfootball

Audio interviews have been performed with a variety of former players of teams such as Sale United, Trafford Ladies, Manchester Corinthians, Manchester United, Manchester City, FC Redstar, England and the Merseyside club Leasowe Pacific who won the FA Cup in 1989 at Old Trafford.

We also held a session where young girls from Sale United met with former Corinthians, City & United players to talk about their careers and compare experiences.

Last Friday we staged a talk at the National Football Museum on the History of Women’s Football with particular emphasis on the experiences and landmark moments of Trafford & Manchester’s women footballers. Jan Lyons of Manchester Corinthians & Juventus and Lesley Wright of Manchester Corinthians & Manchester City participated in a panel discussion too with some great questions from the audience.

Photo by Rachel Adams for the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Arts and Heritage programme

An exhibition, including objects such as a 1958 Manchester Corinthians shirt and boots signed by Steph Houghton, is currently being staged at the archives centre at Sale.

Displays around Old Trafford have also been set up with the national history of women’s football appearing alongside Trafford bespoke monoliths close to Hotel Football and the Old Trafford Stadium. If you’re at the game go and have a look.

Photo by Rachel Adams for the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Arts and Heritage programme

There are also postboxes decorated with knitted women footballers that have been produced by the local knitting groups as part of the project. If you’re wandering around Trafford have a look for them.

On Wednesday I will be with the Trafford Archives staff at the fanzone at Old Trafford during the day where we will be distributing free postcards and a Trafford football history booklet. We’ll also be answering questions about the history of football in the region and I’ll be hoping to capture the memories of those who played for women’s teams in Trafford too. Come and say hello if you’re there during the day time.

Also, look out for the FSA free Euros guide. I’ve contributed material on Trafford’s history so please look out for that.

Finally, I’m still keen to capture the stories of women’s football in Trafford. If you are from Trafford, or played for a Trafford based club then get in touch and let’s ensure your story is captured for future generations.

Manchester Corinthians Appeal

Press Release: Appeal launched to recognise the pioneering Manchester Corinthians women’s team

• Appeal launched to create permanent tributes to the pioneering Manchester Corinthian Ladies Football Club at Fog Lane Park, Didsbury

• The Corinthians and their sister club Manchester Nomads toured the globe promoting football, Manchester and female endeavour 

• The club was established in January 1949 and was a key part of Manchester’s sporting life for around 40 years

• Established at Fog Lane, the club was based there for the first 25 years of its existence

• The appeal aims to erect a plaque, a lectern-style display and create a mural by a local artist in Fog Lane Park

The first ever appeal by the Friends of Fog Lane Park has been launched in partnership with Manchester City Council, MCRActive and supporters, players and researchers of the awe-inspiring Manchester Corinthians, and their sister club, the Nomads. The aim is to establish permanent visual tributes to the Corinthians and Nomads. The Friends are seeking to raise £10,000 and deliver in stages significant tributes to these remarkable women who played and promoted football at a time when a FA ban was in place.

The main aims are to:

– install a plaque at Fog Lane Park highlighting the achievements of the club and stage a celebratory unveiling with former players

– erect a lectern-style information display, close to the actual pitch the women utilised, detailing the Corinthians’ achievements over the decades with the aim of inspiring young girls and others with their story

– Recruit a local artist to paint a specially commissioned Manchester Corinthians mural on an appropriate building within the park

The appeal aims to deliver each of these objectives in stages as funds allow. 

Football historian Dr Gary James has been researching the story of the Manchester Corinthians for several years and explains: ‘Both the Corinthians and the Nomads have been significant Manchester teams over many decades. They gave opportunities for women to play football at a time when the FA stubbornly claimed the sport was unsuitable for them. They toured the world demonstrating all that was good about Manchester, football and female endeavour, winning major competitions and raising a lot of money for charity.

‘Manchester is known as a footballing city and we have been blessed with some incredible successes over the decades, but our major contribution to the history of women’s football from the 1940s has not been given the recognition it deserves. There are statues, plaques and other tributes to men’s football across Greater Manchester yet there’s nothing permanent on the women of Manchester Corinthians. It’s time we rectified that.’

The Corinthians raised a considerable amount for charity over their existence and now it’s time to raise funds to thank them for their efforts by erecting permanent tributes. 

How to contribute to the appeal: Contributions can be made via this link: 

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/friends-offoglanepark-Corinthians

About Manchester Corinthians and Manchester Nomads 

The Manchester Corinthians were a team of local women who were brought together under the management of Percy Ashley at a time when the FA banned women from playing on FA affiliated grounds. Established in 1949, Ashley’s team toured the world promoting the sport and demonstrating what a dedicated group of players the club possessed. This was at a time when FA affiliated clubs were banned from allowing women’s games on their grounds.

Many of the Corinthians are now in their seventies and eighties but they still get together from time to time to talk of their exploits. In 1957 Bert Trautmann, the Manchester City men’s goalkeeper joined them on a tour of Germany, acting as an ambassador for the club. Corinthians, representing England, won a major competition in Germany which was, at the time, regarded as a women’s European Cup – these were the early days of cross-continent football and UEFA were not involved with organising competitions for the women’s game. 

In 1960 the Corinthians ventured outside of Europe for a tour of South America where they won a major international tournament and played in front of significant crowds, including one reported as 60,000. Margaret Whitworth had joined the club as an eleven-year-old in 1958 and was fourteen when she travelled to South America. Her parents had to give permission but some of the women also gave up their jobs for the opportunity of representing Manchester – and England – on the tour. Margaret: “What a great experience for us all! The stadiums… the reception from the crowd… it was all incredible but we all just took it in our stride. It’s only afterwards that you look back and realise how significant it all was.”

A second team was established by Percy Ashley as time progressed called the Nomads. Ashley wanted the Corinthians and Nomads to promote all that was positive about female participation in football and they certainly achieved that over the decades. They won a host of tournaments and trophies over the years and in 1970 defeated Juventus in the final of a competition in France.

Manchester Corinthians survived into the modern era and continued to play once the FA ban was lifted – a ban they had challenged. The club was still going strong in the 1980s but, due to ground changes and related issues it soon officially changed its name to Woodley Ladies, though was often still known as Corinthians. Some of the Corinthian players from the 1970s and 1980s became players with Manchester City’s women’s team in its inaugural season of 1988-89. By that time the volume of women’s clubs, leagues and competitions had grown. 

The Corinthians were true pioneers, promoting the sport globally at a time when many refused to accept that women could play football. 

About the Friends of Fog Lane Park

The Friends of Fog Lane Park are a volunteer friends group who work to improve Fog Lane Park for all, they have worked well with Manchester City Council and other bodies to repurpose a disused building in the park, creating a cafe space and providing much needed bathroom facilities, running community events, and looking after the park’s green spaces with volunteers looking after all the planted beds within the park. They have great links through the local park community and were close to losing this important history to both the park and women’s football.

 

Talk – 1st July 2pm at National Football Museum

Join Dr Gary James for a free event at the National Football Museum celebrating the history of women’s football. The event kicks off with a first half during which Gary outlines the history of women’s football locally with stories of games played in Trafford in the 1890s; the sport’s growth in the early twentieth century; the 1921 FA ban and its local impact; the pioneering teams and individuals of the interwar and post war years; then the game’s rise and development throughout to the modern day. With particular emphasis on games and teams from Trafford and Manchester this promises to be an entertaining talk.

The second half sees former players from the pioneering Manchester Corinthians, Manchester City and the original Manchester United women’s teams will be interviewed about their careers. Their experiences and enthusiasm for the sport provide a valuable insight into over sixty years of football history. Trafford and Manchester have a proud history of women’s football and this event will explain how the women ensured the game developed despite a near fifty-year ban and other obstacles placed in their way.

Panelists are Jan Lyons, Lesley Wright & Jane Morley (see below for biographical details).

Although the talk is free tickets must be booked in advance via the following link:

Jan Lyons

Following the Aberfan disaster in 1966 in which 116 children and 28 adults were killed a charity match was set up at Jan’s school between the boys and the girls. Jan was by far the best player, outshining all others to win the ‘man of the match’ award.

Her parents saw a piece in a newspaper advertising trials for the Manchester Corinthians and Jan relished the opportunity. She was offered the chance to join the club in February 1968.Jan participated in all the Corinthians prominent games of the period, including the annual Stretford Pageant, which was perceived as a prominent exhibition of the sport. 

In 1970 Jan was a member of the Corinthians team which defeated crack Italian team Juventus in the final of the Reims tournament in France. This ultimately led to her joining Juventus in 1973. When she resigned from her work at a local bank, her manager was amazed that she was leaving a banking career to play football.

Some suggested to Jan that if she played in Italy opportunities to play for England would end but, with typical determination, Jan believed that playing in Italy, where there was a strong league structure in place, was a great opportunity.

Lesley Wright

Lesley Wright joined Manchester Corinthians in the early 1970s, participating in their tours and in league competition. She became a regular for the club and remained with them into the 1980s when a ground move led to the famous old club changing its name to Woodley Ladies.

Lesley continued to play for the club through to 1988-89 when she joined the newly established Manchester City. Playing in mostly a defensive role, she became an influential member of Manchester’s Blues as they competed in their first competitive season of 1989-90. She remained with the club into the 2000s. She has guested for other teams in the region, including Manchester United.

She has fulfilled a variety of coaching roles with Manchester City and also at Stockport County. 

In recent years she has taken up walking football and in 2022 is the manager of Droylsden’s women’s walking football team. She also became captain of the England Walking Football over 60s regional squad.

Jane Morley

Jane Morley joined the original Manchester United women’s team in the late 1970s, staying with them for six successful years. In 1985, together with other United players, she established FC Redstar and took the team into the North West Women’s Regional Football League where they achieved promotion in 1987 to the top division – at the time the highest league competition available. Playing in Stretford, FC Redstar impressed but player recruitment issues brought a premature end to the club in 1990.

Once her playing days were over Jane coached and managed at various levels with Manchester City Ladies for many years. Always keen to promote football to young girls Jane enjoyed developing an array of talent with the club. She also brought success to the club and managed the first team for a spell when they were based in Urmston, Trafford.

After leaving City Jane continued to develop opportunities for girls and young women within both Greater Manchester and in Cheshire. 

In 2022 she is secretary of Stockport County’s women’s team and has dedicated her adult life to promoting football for women and girls.

Dr Gary James is working for Trafford Archives on the Women’s Euros Heritage project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

History of Women’s Football 1st July 2pm to 4pm

Join me and several women who played for leading clubs in Trafford & Manchester for a celebration of women’s football. The event kicks off with a first half during which I outline the history of women’s football locally with stories of games played in Trafford in the 1890s; the sport’s growth in the early twentieth century; the 1921 FA ban and its local impact; the pioneering teams and individuals of the interwar and post war years; then the game’s rise and development throughout to the modern day. With particular emphasis on games and teams from Trafford and Manchester this promises to be an entertaining talk.

The second half takes on a different tone as former players from local teams take to the stage to provide their experiences. Former players from the pioneering Manchester Corinthians, Manchester City and the original Manchester United women’s teams will be interviewed about their careers. Their experiences and enthusiasm for the sport provide a valuable insight into over sixty years of football history. Trafford and Manchester have a proud history of women’s football and this event will explain how the women ensured the game developed despite a near fifty year ban and other obstacles placed in their way.

I’ll be posting further details on the guests being interviewed soon.

I’m working for Trafford Archives on the Women’s Euros Heritage project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. #WEURO2022 #HeritageFund

Manchester Corinthians Plaque

I promised an update on the plan we’ve been putting together to have a plaque erected to the Manchester Corinthians – a pioneering women’s team that was established in the 1940s and promoted football, Manchester and female endeavour across the world over the following four decades. Today we had a progress meeting which was attended by representatives from Manchester City Council, the Friends of Fog Lane Park, myself and, most importantly, Janice Lyons, Margaret Shepherd and Margaret Whitworth from the Corinthians.

The meeting went exceptionally well and we discussed the plans for the erection of a plaque and further recognition to highlight the Corinthians history and significance. It was extremely positive and the support and enthusiasm from Manchester City Council and the Friends of Fog Lane was great to see.

It is clear we will need to raise some funds to achieve all we want to achieve. Hopefully, we’ll be able to formally announce fundraising plans in June. Watch this space.

Everyone agreed that the Manchester Corinthians’ history needs celebrating at Fog Lane Park. Why Fog Lane? This was the site of their training ground and home for many, many years with their old pitch located close to the former home of Percy Ashley, the founder, which is still clearly visible today from the park.

If you’d like to find out more about the Corinthians then please use the category link below or search my site for more details. I’ve also written various other articles for the Manchester Evening News, When Saturday Comes, the Manchester FA and She Kicks. Some of these are linked to here:

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/sport/football/manchester-corinthians-england-women-germany-17205385

https://www.manchesterfa.com/news/2020/mar/08/manchester-corinthians-ladies

There’s also this article I co-wrote on the FA’s ban of women’s football which also mentions Corinthians:

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