The 40 square miles that cover the Trafford area of Greater Manchester drip with football history. And not just about the exploits of Manchester United’s men’s team.
For example, there are records of women’s football games in the area going back to December 1895. That’s when a British Ladies FC tour match was played at the West Manchester football ground in Stretford.
And then there’s the women’s matches during World War 1, played between factory workers in Trafford, producing a team that represented the British Westinghouse Electrical Company.
Moving on to 1921, more than 30,000 fans crammed into Old Trafford to see Dick, Kerr Ladies face Bath Ladies. Then The FA de facto ban on women’s football in the same year took hold. Undeterred, women’s teams such as Manchester Ladies and Manchester Corinthians were founded. The latter, founded by Bolton Wanderers’ scout Percy Ashley in 1949, existed until the 1980s. En route, they won an unofficial European Championship in Germany in 1957 and numerous other trophies. On their travels, Corinthians played matches in Portugal/Madiera, the Netherlands, South America, the Caribbean and Morocco.
• To find out more, and perhaps add a personal story related to women’s football history in Trafford, visit the virtual exhibition on the Trafford Heritage website.
The exhibition will reveal that women’s football grew after The FA ban on the game was lifted in 1971. Teams such as FC Redstar, Urmston, Sale Hotel, Trafford, and Sale United came to the fore – alongside the Manchester United Ladies’ team.
Since those early days of creating a foundation for today’s game, Old Trafford has staged an FA Women’s Cup Final, England women’s internationals and was the venue for a London 2012 Olympic Games women’s football semi-final.
More recently, as testimony to how far the game has come, March 2022 saw more than 20,000 spectators at Old Trafford to witness Manchester United Women take on Everton Women. It was an FA Women’s Super League match, the top tier of women’s professional football in England.
To hear and see some of the women who feature in the history of women’s football in and around Trafford, please click below:
Free Outdoor Exhibition
Trafford | Trafford Wharf Road | M17 1AB | Sir Alex Ferguson Way | M17 1WS | Alongside the Canal
Women’s Football in Trafford
Trafford Local Studies Centre
10 June – 10 July
In the weeks leading up to the opening match, Trafford will be exploring the local history of women’s football. The Trafford borough may cover little more than forty square miles, but significant games, teams, and tournaments have taken place across the region, and have played their part in the development of the sport.
There are records of women’s football games in the area going back to the late-nineteenth century. In 1921, a game between Dick, Kerr Ladies and Bath Ladies at Old Trafford was watched by over 30,000 visitors, and throughout the twenty-first century significant games were staged at White City, Stretford, Timperley, and other venues across the borough. Over the last fifty years many prominent teams have been established in the area: such as Sale Hotel, Trafford, and Redstar (to name a few), while Trafford women have played for prominent teams outside of our borough.
A new virtual exhibition aims to capture not only the voices of women from Trafford who played football, but also those who played for women’s football teams based in Trafford. Trafford Local Studies is uncovering these stories through an oral history programme, virtual and on-site exhibitions, and a contemporary collecting programme. They are keen to hear the memories of women who have contributed to this rich history of women’s football in the area. They are also keen to locate objects – such as match programmes and other memorabilia – which helps us tell this story.
More information: https://exploringtraffordsheritage.omeka.net/exhibits
History of Women's Football
National Football Museum
1 July 2022
Join Dr Gary James for a celebration of women's football. This talk and panel discussion will uncover the history of women’s football, focusing on the Trafford borough starting in the 1890s; then covering 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 players, games and teams from Trafford 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 has 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.
Free (though the National Football Museum usual charges apply) - https://www.nationalfootballmuseum.com/whats-on-nfm/ .
Crossing the Line: The Story of Women’s Football
National Football Museum
6 July – 31 December
The National Football Museum has launched a new exhibition dedicated to the history of the women’s game – and wants you to be part of it!
The new exhibition, Crossing the Line: the story of women’s football, chronicles the game’s early growth, the effects of The FA’s de facto 1921 ban, its survival and its resurgence in recent decades.
The exhibition is split into two halves. The first half tells the story of the women’s game up until the ban, from its nineteenth-century origins to the all-conquering Dick, Kerr Ladies.
The second half kicks off later in the summer, focusing on the present state of play within women’s football, from the grassroots up to the professional game.
The museum will be collecting stories and objects from players, supporters and communities, answering important questions and celebrating its perseverance, growth and increasing popularity.
Over the course of the Score Gallery exhibition, the museum is asking visitors to #CrossTheLine, contributing their thoughts and sharing their stories within the exhibition itself and via social media.
More information: https://www.nationalfootballmuseum.com/whatson/crossing-the-line/
Complementing the exhibition, the museum will also be hosting a series of talks, events and activities, including:
Euro Heroes: England Celebration Day
National Football Museum
25 June & 31 August 2022
A series of one-day festivals at the National Football Museum! They’ll be honouring the Lionesses with a host of activities, including:
● A brand-new gallery trail launch – featuring a prize giveaway!
● Face painting.
● Live music from their favourite brass band, playing England and football fan classics
● Make Your Own Tournament Armband Activity
● Design your own football stickers!
Plus, footy interactives, oral history events, storytelling with famous authors and loads more!
Free upon entry to the museum, i.e. free to Manchester residents and existing ticket-holders.
More information on: www.nationalfootballmuseum.com/whats-on-nfm/