#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.

The Birth Of Manchester City Women

On this day (25th November) in 1988 the South Manchester Reporter featured Manchester City’s new women’s team for the first time. Neil Mather had set up the team and staged some training/selection sessions and, when this news article appeared, the women were about to face Oldham Athletic in their first ever fixture.

You can read all about those early days and the history of the club in my book Manchester City Women: An Oral History. You can buy the book here:

England beat Germany in European Championship Final

Aware of when England beat Germany in the final of a European tournament in 1957? No, well here’s the story of when they did…

The match saw the pioneering women’s team, Manchester Corinthians, play as England. They won 4-0 in the final of a European championship in 1957, played in Berlin. This game, like so many others when the Corinthians played as England, are not officially recognised as internationals unfortunately, but no one should underestimate the achievements of the Manchester women who took part. At the time they occurred these were full-blooded affairs with some moments caught on film.

For an article I wrote some time ago on the Germany game follow this link:

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

You can find out more about the Corinthians here:

The Player of the Year Awards

This season has seen Manchester City players win several prominent player of the year awards with Kevin De Bruyne winning the PFA player of the year award; Phil Foden the PFA young player of the year and Lauren Hemp won the women’s PFA young player of the year award. There was also Ruben Dias won the FWA footballer of the year award and the Premier League player of the year award.

This is an incredible array of awards. The following subscriber post details all the Manchester City winners of these awards since their formation:

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Manchester City Women: The First Game After Relaunch

On this day (April 13) in 2014 Manchester City’s women’s team played its first competitive game after the relaunch. It was a FA Cup tie against Reading played at the Regional Athletics Arena. 

Here for subscribers is a section of Manchester City Women: An Ora History discussing that opening game:

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International Women’s Day – Manchester Football

Today (8th March 2021) is International Women’s Day and so I thought I’d post a few links to great content about pioneering women connected to Manchester football on this website.

My intention over the coming months and years is to make http://www.GJFootballArchive.com an archive of my past writing and new material on all aspects of football in the Manchester region (and material on activity beyond Manchester or involving national figures connected with the region). To subscriber to my site then please see the details below.

This includes material on the women’s teams of Manchester, such as the pioneering Wythenshawe/Manchester Ladies of the 1940s & 1950s; the Manchester Corinthians (globe trotting pioneering team of the 1940s to 1980s); Manchester City; Manchester United and the other clubs, such as FC Redstar, that have existed in our region. It also includes profiles and interviews with footballers; those working in football and the media; footballers’ partners; supporters and more.

All of this is based on my detailed research and writing on football in the region. I attended my first women’s game in 1988 (home team was F.C. Redstar) and was a regular at their games and Manchester City Ladies (now Women) during their formative years, including brief details on their first ever game in my first book published in 1989. Since then I’ve also written Manchester City Women: An Oral History (see https://gjfootballarchive.com/shop/ to order copies) and am researching for a detailed history on women and football in Manchester at the moment.

Listed here are a few links to articles connected with women, football and Manchester that may be of interest:

I did an interview with Premier League World on Manchester City Women. It’s episode 38 and can be viewed here (if you have Amazon Prime): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Premier-League-World/dp/B08HDGSNZN Or it can be viewed on the following channels:

BT Sport 1                                      Monday              12pm

BT Sport 1                                      Tuesday              12:30am

Sky Sports Premier League         Thursday            5pm

Sky Sports Premier League         Friday                  3pm

Sky Sports Premier League         Saturday             8am

The feature is the last one shown in the programme, so please keep watching to the end. The piece starts after about 18 minutes.

Here’s a story about Jan Lyons, a Mancunian who went to play for Juventus in the 1970s: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2020/12/26/the-italian-job-a-manchester-corinthians-journey/

Here’s a piece I’ve written on the Manchester Corinthians: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/14/pioneering-mancunian-women/

A piece on games between Manchester City and Manchester United: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/11/manchester-city-v-manchester-united/

The story of Manchester City’s relaunch: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/24/manchester-citys-womens-team-the-relaunch/

The earliest film of Manchester City Ladies/Women: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/22/manchester-city-ladies-the-earliest-film/

An academic article on my Manchester City Women project: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/01/07/establishing-women-in-sports-history-manchester-city-football-club/

Here’s Steve Bolton’s guest blog on Manchester Ladies from 1940s/50s. Part One: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/26/guest-blog-steve-bolton-the-pioneering-manchester-ladies-part-one/

Part Two: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/03/05/guest-blog-steve-bolton-the-pioneering-manchester-ladies-part-two/

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Guest Blog – Steve Bolton: The Pioneering Manchester Ladies Part Two

Today’s guest blog follows on from last week’s guest blog in which Steve Bolton talked of the Manchester Ladies (who also went under the name Wythenshawe Ladies, City of Manchester Ladies, Manchester City Ladies the 1940s & 1950s) and their early years. Today is part two of Steve’s research into this pioneering women’s club (part one can be viewed here: https://gjfootballarchive.com/?p=1863 ).

Over the last few years much has been written about pioneering women’s football teams and Steve’s research is certainly adding to that. I’m sure anyone reading this already knows about my book on Manchester City Women (available here: https://gjfootballarchive.com/shop/ ) and about the other articles on this blog discussing other leading women’s clubs, including the Manchester Corinthians (see: https://gjfootballarchive.com/category/womens-football-2/ ). 

If you played for a women’s team in the Manchester region during the 1940s to 1960s then please get in touch. I’m writing a detailed history of women and football in Manchester and your information may help both mine and Steve Bolton’s research. 

If you played an active part in developing women’s football prior to the FA ban then please get in touch by emailing gary@GJFootballArchive.com or follow me on twitter: @garyjameswriter or facebook.com/garyjames4