Stars of women’s football will be out in force at Bamber Bridge FC on 25th April to pay tribute to the most successful football team ever, the pioneering Dick, Kerr Ladies from Preston. The event marks the re-launch of the book In a League of Their Own! by local author and historian Gail Newsham who has uncovered new world records set by the trailblazing lassies from Lancashire. Past and present players from all over the north of England and beyond will gather to honour this great women’s football team.Advertisement
Formed at a munitions factory during WW1 to raise funds for wounded soldiers, the Dick, Kerr Ladies played their first match on Christmas Day 1917 at Deepdale, the home of Preston North End, in front of 10,000 spectators. A record breaking crowd on Boxing Day 1920 at Goodison Park, Everton, saw an enormous crowd of 53,000 pack into the stadium with between 10-14,000 locked out unable to gain admission. Women’s football was so successful in the 1920s it resulted in a ban by the FA in 1921 which changed the course of the women’s game forever. Despite the ban, the Dick, Kerr Ladies continued against all odds playing football and raising money for charity until 1965.
Family members of some of the original stars, and former players of the legendary team, are among the invited guests attending this truly nostalgic evening, and in true ‘Surprise Surprise’ style, eighty year old Mary Foster will travel from Beverley in Yorkshire to meet up with other surviving players for the first time in over sixty years!
Other VIP guests will include, Barbara Herbert, the daughter of Sir Tom Finney, Sylvia Gore MBE, scorer of the first goal in the first recognised England international in 1972 and Sheila Parker, the first England captain. Gill Coulthard, England legend with 119 caps to her credit; Clare Taylor the only player to achieve international honours in two sports, cricket and football. Rachel Brown-Finnis, Everton and England goalkeeper; Natasha Dowie, current Liverpool and England star voted last year’s Women’s FA Player of the Year scoring 13 goals in 14 games. A host of ex England internationals and players from all over the region will also be attending, some travelling from as far afield as Spain to be here for this most memorable night.
Gail Newsham is the original and official biographer of the Dick, Kerr Ladies and first published her book ‘In a League of Their Own’ in 1994. Gail has now completed a revised and updated edition of the book and it is available on 25th April 2014.
Gail has also recently been filming with NHK Japan and NHK Norway, which are the biggest television networks in their respective countries. The Japanese network has 30 million subscribers! Both were very interested in the history of women’s football and it is a history that no one else in the world can lay claim to, and as Gail says “Quite simply, it belongs to Preston! We should be making a lot more of these incredible women”.
You can find out much more at Gail’s website Dick, Kerr Ladies.
Have you ever heard of the Dick, Kerr Ladies and would you read the book? Do you recall where ‘Lively Polly Corner’ is exactly? Let us know in the comments below.