DDespite the expulsion of many women from their jobs between 1915 and 1919 and their return after the cessation of men’s football, the women’s game developed in the early 1920s with Dick, Kerr Ladies – the famous factory team. Preston – in the foreground.
In 1920, the team would play four international home games against the French team, led by female sports defender Alice Milliat, in Dipdale, Manchester, Stockport, and then at Stamford Bridge. The team then traveled to France and performed in Paris, Rubaix, Le Havre and Rouen. It will be a very popular tour and when the team returned to England, they created a hype for the planned Boxing Day match with rivals St. Helens in Goodison Park. However, few people could predict the seismic impact of this device on the future of women’s football.
According to player Alice Stanley’s diary, on the day of the match, 53,000 fans would fall to the ground for the game, and another 10-15,000 fans turned away from the field. She set an unbeaten spectator record in 92 years – until GB beat Brazil at Wembley in front of 70,584 spectators at the London 2012 Olympics – and remains the largest domestic game in women’s football in England with 38,262 followers following Arsenal’s defeat. Tottenham at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 17, 2019 № 2.
He reportedly broke another record Lancashire Evening Post On December 28, 1920, he said: “But the most remarkable” gate “of the holiday was yesterday morning in Goodison Park. [Boxing Day] here Dick defeated Kerr Ladies 4-0 on behalf of the unemployed and disabled former service men. The number of participants was 53,000 and receipts, excluding tickets, were more than £ 3,000. This is an easy record for a charity match in England. “
The money raised that day was about £ 140,000 today. This drew the attention of those who looked at Dick, Kerr Ladies and other women’s teams with disbelief and anxiety. This very successful match would ruin the women’s game.
The FA and the political establishment have not turned a blind eye to the growing popularity and success of women’s football. The large sums of money collected were beyond their jurisdiction and control. What’s worse is that the money was no longer collected to support the wounded, but was used for political and working-class reasons – reasons that contradicted the structure.
Thus, a year after more than 53,000 spectators came to see Goodison Park, the FA voted to ban women’s football. The sport’s governing body did not have the authority to ban women from playing openly – this was not possible, so they decided to ban women’s games on FA-affiliated football pitches. The ban was to last 51 years.
The decision of the AFFA Advisory Committee reads:
“The Council, which has received complaints about women’s football, has been forced to say that football is completely unsuitable for women and should not be promoted. There were also complaints about the conditions under which some matches were organized and played, and the misappropriation of receipts for purposes other than charity. The council went on to conclude that most of the proceeds went to spending and an inadequate percentage to charity.
“For these reasons, the Council is asking Clubs in the Association to refrain from using their stadiums for such matches.”
This was not the first attempt by the FA to impose restrictions on the game. In the 1890s, the FA Council sent warnings to clubs to use their stadiums for women’s matches. In 1902, the FA passed a bill banning mixed-sex games, but there is some evidence that the ban also applies to the use of women’s territory by the FA. There are references to its existence until 1917.
The existence of such restrictions in 1902 may explain why the game was discontinued after gaining popularity in the late 19th century.
Whether or not the 1902 ban denied the use of FA-affiliated territories in the same way, it did not stop the resurgence of women’s football during World War I, and it is almost impossible to believe this growing visibility, which resulted in 53,000 spectators at Goodison. He did not act as a major contributor to the new 1921 ban.
Dick, author of the book Kerr Ladies, Gail Newsham, said the record-breaking Boxing Day match, played after more than 35,000 spectators at Old Trafford and more than 25,000 at Deepdale, played an important role.
“The Goodison match would have caused a seismic shock to the whole football world, because a lot of people went to that match. We must remember that in 1920 they expanded the men’s leagues – there was a new Third Division, North and South – so they almost doubled the number of clubs, and all these people are preparing to look at women’s football, unlike men’s football. There would be a conflict at some point, wouldn’t there?
“The Goodison match was a wake-up call. The FA then began to work to make it harder for clubs to accommodate women’s teams. Teams and clubs had to submit statements after each game and they could not play without FA permission. Throughout 1921, they blocked their way. Then came December 5, they dealt a fatal blow and banned them from the game. ”
The players were angry. “When I spoke to Alice Norris [one of the Dick, Kerr players of the time] and some other ladies, all of whom said they thought the FA was just jealous, because as the crowd grew, “Newsham says.” They were devastated. therefore, it did not coincide. “
News of the ban was mixed. From one side, Hull Daily Mail rejoiced at the ban and praised the FA.
“It’s great that the Football Association is looking at women’s football. ‘FA’ is really a kind of Venetian oligarchy in the best sense of the word. This is the “Soviet pyramid” – again in the best sense of the word; and we want to boldly say that its governance and governance is an example and an example to all legislatures except parliament. This Council is so wise that its decisions are respected by all, and its authority is so high that disobedience never enters the minds of its partners and followers.
“He can close and loosen, he can straighten or break, he can bury or raise, and he controls not only the game, the clubs, the officials and the players, but the crowd – even the crowd is afraid of it. This August, the organization decided that women’s football was undesirable. This is a “not suitable for women” game. This discourages their clubs from offering or selling their land. He regrets the fact that in some cases so much of the “door” receipts go to “expenses”. All this is a huge mouthful for the continuation of women’s clubs and the community! We don’t like women’s football in the slightest. ”
Others gave the players a place to say their word. Dick described Kerr Ladies captain Alice Kell in the press as a “modest, smart working girl”:
“We play girls’ football in the right spirit. When we fall on our heads, we do not take revenge and do not get angry. We are all amazed at the actions of the government, which bans the sport we love with all our hearts. Of course, we have the right to play any game we deem appropriate without the intervention of the Football Association! We are all working girls, we depend on our weekly salary and live with our parents and others who depend on us in part. ”
There were also different votes at the FA Council meeting to choose to impose a ban. One of them came in the form of a statement read to the committee by Major Cecil Kent, a former honorary secretary of Old Westminsters FC from Liverpool. Kent said she attended about 30 women’s soccer matches, noting that the women’s game contributed £ 100,000 to charity over two years.
“I have heard nothing but praise for the good work and high level of play of the girls,” she said. Now the only thing I hear from a man is the street: “Why did the FA stab the girls’ football?” What did the girls do other than raise a lot of money for charity and play games? Are their feet heavier than men’s feet in the meadow? ”
Although Dick, Kerr Ladies, Bradford and Huddersfield, like Hayes from Atalanta, played far beyond the ban, the impact of the ban was devastating as it cut off crowd size in an instant. Teams were forced to parks and friendly rugby or athletics clubs, but the stadium capacity offered by men’s football clubs could not be adjusted. Without the opportunity for the masses to watch games regularly in large spaces, interest naturally declined.
“What drives me crazy is his injustice,” Newsham said. “Imagine saying to Kelly Smith, Megan Rapinoe or any of the players today: ‘Look, you’re not playing anymore, you’re banned. No one will remember it, no matter what you do, no one will care, no one will remember. ” Imagine that. You can’t imagine how they would feel, could they? But this is what happened to them. “