History of women's football to be revealed and celebrated by UEFA Women's EURO 2022 Heritage Programme

Trafford, as one of the nine UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 host cities, is taking part in a National Lottery funded project to uncover the hidden history of women’s football in a summer of celebration of the game, its players and communities.

In partnership with The FA, Trafford Council has joined a number of other organisations across England for the project which has been awarded £500,000 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

It’s an important year for women’s football, as England hosts the UEFA Women’s EURO and the Lionesses mark their 50th anniversary.

However, the history of the game goes back a lot further than many might think. This year also marks 141 years since women’s football was first played professionally.

The National Lottery funded project aims to challenge the common perception of women’s football being ‘new’ and change the nation’s understanding of ‘the English game’. In addition to the National Lottery funding, The FA and host cities have contributed nearly £600,000 to the project, making a total of £1,060,580.

For the very first time, information about every England player, captain, goal scorer and match score since 1972 will be researched, recorded and shared alongside the information that already exists about men’s football. Hosted on England Football’s website the record will continue to be updated, ensuring future female players are part of the nation’s footballing story. The project will particularly explore the role of the LGBTQ+ community.

Trafford is one of nine UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 host cities, taking part in a fantastic range of community events and celebrations this summer.

The Trafford area has incredibly strong links to the history of women’s football. In January 1921, a game between Dick, Kerr Ladies and Bath Ladies at Manchester United’s football ground was watched by thousands of spectators. Renowned teams played in the borough’s parks and, in 1939, White City greyhound track hosted an international match between England and Belgium. In March 2021, Manchester United Women played their first ever match at Old Trafford. Despite the richness of this history, it is little known in the local area.

Cllr Liz Patel, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Leisure, said:

“Football and Trafford have been synonymous for over 100 years. But it is high time more is known about the women’s game in our borough. If you have any memories or memorabilia relating to women’s football in Trafford, we would love to hear from you so your story can be sahred and we can learn more.”

The National Lottery heritage programme will seek to bring this history into the light through a number of physical and virtual exhibitions, and to create a documentary record of the game at this moment, through oral history interviews with local players and fans and a contemporary collecting programme. Co-curation and inclusion are the key themes of the project, as we ask the footballers and fans to shape the interpretation of their own history. A talks programme will engage the borough’s residents with women’s footballing history, while libraries’ knitting groups will create historical match day scarves, in a nod to a rich history of handmade merchandise. Walking trails and craft activities for children will educate in a way that is fun and active.

If you would like to donate or loan material to help Trafford Council to tell this story, please contact Trafford Local Studies on 0161 912 3013 or trafflocals@trafford.gov.uk

Posted on Friday 14th January 2022