Way back in 1881, 1,000 fans paid to watch a women’s match in Sheffield, between teams comprising English and Scottish players. The game was played near Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough ground.
14 years later, 3,000 spectators gathered near the city’s other professional club ground, Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane, to watch the British Ladies Football Club in action.
Both matches were – and are – a reflection of the steel city’s enduring love affair with football, which stakes a claim to be England’s ‘home of football’, given the first football club – Sheffield FC – was formed there in 1857.
It’s a passion that grew in World War 1, when the thousands of women were working in the city’s numerous munitions-producing factories. Several formed women’s teams, who held fund-raising matches in aid of the war effort and wounded soldiers. It led to a South Yorkshire Ladies League running in 1917/18.
More recently, the history of women’s football in the city features Sheffield Wednesday Ladies, who trace their origins back to 1971, when it started life as the women’s team of the Star Inn. They later changed their name to Sheffield Ladies before taking their current moniker. It means the club has a 50+ year history.
Across the city, Sheffield United Women today grace The FA Women’s Championship, the second tier of the professional women’s game in England.
It’s all testimony to the city’s ongoing and proud women’s football heritage, which has produced current England internationals Millie Bright and Ellie Roebuck.
To hear and see some of the women who feature in the history of women’s football in and around Sheffield, please click below:
Free Outdoor Exhibition
Sheffield | Sheaf Square | S1 2BP | Town Hall | S1 2HH | Sheffield Cathedral | S1 1HA
Onside: A Celebration of Women’s Football
Community Conference with a difference…
The Howard Building, Sheffield Hallam University
2 July 2020
Onside: A celebration of women’s football will be an exciting series of questions and answers about all aspect of the wonderful game of football. Free event - just turn up at the Howard Building, Sheffield Hallam University and you’ll be directed to the right venue