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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
During the First World War, thousands of British women replaced men in the munitions and other factories. In the great British tradition of factory-based soccer teams, the women formed soccer teams, too.

The best of these teams was formed in 1917 among the women of munitions maker D ick, Kerr and Company* in Preston, Lancashire. They started off playing charity matches against men's teams to raise money for war victims, but soon they were playing other women's teams as well.

Women's soccer quickly became very popular, and this popularity continued after the War, even out-drawing the men's games. The D ick, Kerr team attracted a crowd of 53,000 to one game in Everton against St. Helen's Ladies in December 1920; another 10,000 were turned away at the gate.

The same year, they played eight international matches against a French women's team - four in England and four in France. The English team lost only one of those eight games.

The team was so popular it was invited to make a North American tour in 1921. On arrival in Canada, however, they discovered that the Dominion of Canada Football Association (as it was then called) had cancelled all of the games because it did not approve of "ladies' football". So they went to the United States, where they were told there were no women's teams good enough to play them. Instead, they played 8 matches against some of the top professional (men's) teams in the American Soccer League, ending with a 3W-3D-2L record.

But back in England, the Football Association took the drastic step of banning women's soccer from its pitches. They trotted out a number of doctors who opined that soccer was unsafe for women's reproductive organs. They said the game of football was "quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged." Any male trainers, referees, or players who encouraged women's soccer were subject to suspension by the FA.

Banished to the inferior, unofficial football pitches, women's soccer went into a decline, although some clubs persevered for decades. The D ick, Kerr team stayed in existence for 48 years and played 828 games of which they won 758, tied 46 and lost just 24. In the process they scored 3,500 goals.

The FA ban was not lifted until 1969, by which time women's soccer in Britain was all but wiped out.

There is a book about the D ick, Kerr Ladies team, called In a League of Their Own! as well as a newer book (2005) called The Belles of the Ball: Dick Kerr's Ladies
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* Sorry, but I had to spell it with a space in order to get past the Xtratime censoring software. The first draft came out looking like this: ****, Kerr and Company. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
FA apologies for 1921 ban
Tony Leighton
Monday February 11, 2008
The Guardian

At the end of a weekend of celebrations for the life and playing exploits of Lily Parr, the first woman to be inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame, England flew to Cyprus for demanding friendlies against Sweden tomorrow and Norway on Thursday before the Euro 2009 qualifying campaign resumes next month.

The women's game is still making up the ground that was lost during the 50 years in which it was in effect banned by the FA. Thirty years after Parr's death, and to coincide with the weekend's events, which included a match between teams from London and Paris and an exhibition of memorabilia at the Hub at Regent's Park, the FA issued a belated apology of sorts for its 1921 edict, part of which read: "the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged".

The crowds during Parr's prime in the 1920s - 53,000 at one game involving the left winger's legendary team Dick Kerr's Ladies - dwarfed some modern attendances. Parr, who was reputed to have a harder shot than any male player of the time, was unusual in that she was professional. She was also a heavy smoker and her payments were supplemented, at her request, by packs of Woodbine cigarettes.
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Note from Jeff: note that the Xtratime censors no longer ban the use of the word Dick.

Wow! that's progress on two fronts all at once. My head is spinning.
 

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Jeff said:
Note from Jeff: note that the Xtratime censors no longer ban the use of the word Dick.

Wow! that's progress on two fronts all at once. My head is spinning.
:howler:

Yes, I've read about that book and it's really interesting to understand through it why women's football in England took so long to develop. Not surprisingly though as I guess the FA is not exactly an example of forward thinking.
 
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