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Women's Football

John Simkin

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A new book, The Dick Kerr Ladies has just been published. It includes information that I was completely unaware of and some teachers might want to look at this issue in their history lessons.

Apparently, during the First World War, women’s football became very popular. This was partly because so many men were fighting in the armed forces. Women working in factories producing weapons for the war effort. These teams represented the local towns. The outstanding team of the period was established by Alfred Frankland, a manager working in a factory in Preston. These women’s teams attracted crowds of over 35,000. This enabled managers to pay these women generous amounts of money. Frankland’s two star players, Alice Woods and Lily Parr, had been purchased from St. Helens.

After the war the men wanted their jobs back. However, these women continued to play football. Pressure was applied on the Football Association to stop women’s football. In 1921 they killed off the sport by passing a new rule that insisted that all affiliated male clubs refuse female teams permission to play on their pitches. This cut off women from the grounds where so many people watched them play. The game now died out and was not revived until this ban was lifted in 1971.


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